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l'atelier de joel robuchon reviews?

k
KeikoT Mar 28, 2007 09:07 PM

after reading the NY times article today about l'atelier de joel robuchon's restaurant in NY, I definitely want to try to get a reservation. is it really hard to get a reservation? Any recommendations as to what to eat and drink, etc? Thanks!

  1. ChefJune Mar 29, 2007 12:41 PM

    Thanks for the great reviews! I am definitely planning to go there soon.

    If you like to cook, I recommend getting "Simply French" and having some ful yourself with his recipes. His "little secrets" that accompany each recipe are what sets his above the fray.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune
      k
      kobetobiko Mar 29, 2007 12:51 PM

      Hi ChefJune,

      Thanks for the info! I actually tried to re-create its foie gras layered with eel dish at home, and of course the one that I ended up with was a "deconstructed" version ^_^", which was what I expected. I will definitely like to check out the book.

      Hopefully next time my version will only get deconstructed inside my mouth =D

      Thanks for the tips again!

      1. re: kobetobiko
        DoctortedNYC Mar 29, 2007 06:21 PM

        Thx all for the great reviews!
        Im planning on going but was wondering what portions were like?
        My gf and I are not big eaters. I noticed there are lots of dishes on the menu that are like tasting dishes that are pricey. Do you have to order lots of these? Are there " main courses?

        Thx!

    2. m
      MollyAir Mar 29, 2007 09:17 AM

      Actually stopped in for lunch on Tuesday because I happened to be in the neighborhood and it was early (12:00 noon) and I figured I could do it with no reservation. Res was definitely not a problem -- probably only 1/3 full when I left around 12:40 pm. Sat at the counter, service was eager and food delightful. I am on a strict diet so had a composed salad with tuna confit and veggies, which was perfect. Bread basket looked very good but I passed -- I cheated to eat some parmesan crispy bread with olive tapenade which came with the salad, also delicious. Amuse bouche was out of this world -- foie gras mousse with port reduction and parmesan foam. Skipped dessert. I will say it is pricey -- my spartan lunch and an iced tea ran me about $50 after the tip -- but it was a great escape and a much better salad than Cafe Metro!

      3 Replies
      1. re: MollyAir
        c
        cortez Mar 29, 2007 10:59 AM

        choco: The tasting menu at lunch was $60 or thereabouts. A splurge, but very fun sitting at the bar. Normally I don't get desserts. But the choices here are spectacular and part of the tasting menu.

        1. re: cortez
          j
          jsmitty Mar 29, 2007 11:55 AM

          general ? chowhounders
          is this a comforable environemnt? or would you characacterize the room, the service, the overall feel as stuffy?

          1. re: jsmitty
            k
            kobetobiko Mar 29, 2007 12:35 PM

            Not stuffy at all! Here were the crowd mix that I have experienced:

            - family with 2 toddlers
            - family with teens
            - people with sweaters (no ties) and jeans (ok, they were designer jeans)

            in fact, I found it to be more causal than EMP at dinner time. After all, it is supposed to be a more causal dining experience of Robuchon (only that the price is not of "causal dining" ;)

      2. w
        wryorwhite Mar 29, 2007 02:58 AM

        I agree with the food assessments - some of it is really lovely and some just very good. The bread is also terrific. Although service is better than it was when it first opened, it is still weaker than it should be for a restaurant of this food quality and price point. It is quite expensive and I think the wine list is quite expensive although there are a lot of interesting bottles.

        1. k
          kobetobiko Mar 28, 2007 09:58 PM

          Went there a few times already for dinner, and pretty much tried out all the dishes on the menu (though I never ordered the tasting menu which is just a combination of dishes from a la carte; I did not see any "special" dishes). Here are my general thoughts:

          Dishes that I liked a lot:
          - The sea urchin with lobster gelee and cauliflower puree - a lot of "sea" flavor. I am an uni-lover, so this dish scores high mark from me
          - Any dish with foie gras in it (the one with eel, the seared foie gras, ravioli, burgers, the quail) - those are the dishes that I really enjoyed and ordered again and again. I mean, with foie gras, how bad can it be?
          - Others savory dishes: the quails, frog legs, oysters, poached egg in soup, kobe beef (I only have a small 6 oz piece; you have to order by oz.) - all flavorful and more unique compared to dishes that I had elsewhere with similar ingredients

          Dishes that are good but not as impressive (IMO):
          - dishes with mostly or just vegetables (it could be my personal preference, I am not a big veggie person)
          - the sweetbread - mine was overcooked, and not that flavorful.
          - sea bass, cod fillet, lobster - all the seafood dishes, though fresh and of high quality, lacked the kind of "memorable" flavor. They were great, but not something that I savor and want to order again
          - the crispy langoustine dish - this is supposed to be one of their signature dishes, but I found it just great and not WOW great. Yes, the langoustine was fresh, the wrapping was crispy, and then what else? I have had langoustine dishes that taste better
          - the serrano ham with bruchetta - the ham itself was of high quality and was very flavorful, but they cut it too thick. Because it has to be hand sliced and it takes some skills (a skill praised in Spain) to hand slice really thin serrano ham, I don't think they have someone capable of doing that, YET. When they do I will re-order that dish again.

          For desserts, you can pretty much go with everything because I found them all to be VERY delicious! Their most famous dessert is the Le Sucre with the sugar sphere, but my favorite is the chestnut soup with date and chocolate! My mom loves it so much that she "forced" me to bring her back so she could order that dessert again. If you want something refreshing after all the foie gras, the one with grapefruit and mint sorbet was very good.

          I did not sit at the bar because I did not feel comfortable with the stools and I couldn't help but hear the person sitting next to me talking. However, I do know that a lot of the people like the bar seating, and if you can only reserve the bar seating for the 6pm time slot. At other time the bar area is on first come first serve basis.

          Oh, almost forgot, reservation is not hard at all. I used to have to call for reservations, but now I think you can do it on Opentable.com.

          Enjoy!

          3 Replies
          1. re: kobetobiko
            LFeinberg Mar 29, 2007 05:56 AM

            GREAT review!!!!!!!!!!

            1. re: kobetobiko
              k
              KeikoT Mar 29, 2007 10:18 AM

              Fantastic review and soooo helpful! i'm so excited to go and try all these dishes.

              1. re: kobetobiko
                k
                KeikoT Apr 9, 2007 06:57 PM

                which is better - counter or table seating?? what are the pros and cons, if any?

              2. c
                cortez Mar 28, 2007 09:24 PM

                Went for lunch in January on a weekday. Loved it totally. No reservation necessary. Sit at the bar, order the tasting menu (rely on waiter or hostess for best choices) and go for it! Great meal, wonderful experience.

                4 Replies
                1. re: cortez
                  c
                  chocokitty Mar 29, 2007 03:20 AM

                  How much is the lunch tasting menu, may I ask?

                  1. re: chocokitty
                    j
                    jojo2 Mar 31, 2007 07:12 PM

                    My wife and I had lunch there today... We both had the eight course tasting menu, which was $190.

                    Frankly, we were both extremely disappointed. Although everything was well-prepared, the dishes were neither imaginative nor "minimal" (as the recent Times article described). Rather, almost every dish had fois gras, black truffles, and gold leaf thrown at it, producing a monotonous (but lux) experience. Maybe that's what the Saturday lunch crowd is supposed to want...

                    That being said, given all the raves, I would like to go back to try either the three course lunch menu or the ala carte menu.

                    BTW, reservations were not a problem and there were plenty of empty seats.

                    1. re: jojo2
                      k
                      kobetobiko Mar 31, 2007 07:47 PM

                      Hi jojo2,

                      I agree with you that most of the dishes have foie gras and truffle, so having a tasting menu was a bit "monotonous". When I went there each time I tried to have a variety of food from foie gras to seafood to meat, which I found to be a better balance. Based on my understanding of Robuchon's styles prior to my visits, I never have the expectation of inventive or imaginative dishes that you expected. I was under the impression that LAtelier is more of a causal version of his original restaurant (which he closed) and that food is more simplistic and more contemporary (in relative term) to his traditional French cooking.

                      I think if you try a la carte you will enjoy the food better! And not to be missed is the assortment of dessert offerings! I hope you will enjoy your experience better next time!

                      1. re: kobetobiko
                        Porthos Apr 1, 2007 12:18 AM

                        We tried a la carte and had a great time. I concur with kobetobiko that the setting is casual, relaxed, and very comfortable to dine in.

                        Below is our experience with L'Atelier. Scroll down to Day 4.

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/361365

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