Haute Cuisine Prix Fixe in Paris
Are there any places in Paris that offer Haute Cuisine prix fixe. I am considering the L'Espadon as well as the Les Ambassaduers. Any recommendations on either aswell as the original question will be greatly appreciated.
This is also my first time in Paris, so I want the whole experience
I did the prix fixe lunch at Taillevent in February. Here's a recap of my prior posting:
Upon seating us, one of the many servers offered us tiny cheese puffs, still warm. Then another server brought our menus. We were asked about drinks and ordered the house aperitif - - champagne with a dash of raspberry liqueur. It was a festive start to the meal.
After looking over the menus, I was a bit puzzled. In one hand, I had the "normal" carte and in the other hand I had a carte with menus at 140 Euros and 230 Euros. I had been expecting a menu at 70 Euros. I asked one of the servers whether there was yet another menu, and he said "there is the lunch menu" which he then produced for us. This was the 70 Euro meal. We felt not a single drop of deprivation ordering from the 70 Euro carte. And as we looked around us, everyone else in eyeshot was having the 70 Euro deal (the room was full of French people who did not appear to be tourists). The failure to offer the 70 Euro carte was the only lapse in an otherwise divine meal experience.
We made our choices then consulted with the sommelier about our wine. We selected the Clos des Messieurs Reuilly 2002, which turned out to be excellent. It was only 23 Euros for the bottle, but man, was it delicious. Dry, but flowery, and unlike anything else. I'm kicking myself now for failing to stop by the Taillevent wine shop to bring a bottle home.
The sommelier departed and our amuse arrived. It was a sabayon, flavored with mustard and gherkin pickles, with tiny, tiny, tiny slivers of bacon (lardons) in the bottom. I don't know how the bacon stayed crispy, but it did, and provided a pleasing surprise of a crunch. I realize that this dish sounds quite odd, but it was magnificent.
My first course was a crustacean veloute. The cream soup had a big piece of lobster claw meat, crab claw meat, and a tiny lobster mousse sausage in it. I scraped the bowl with my bread to get every drop. My friend started with "presse" of pigeon and foie gras - - a breast of pigeon divided in two parts with a hunk of foie gras in the middle. She wouldn't even share a bite with me!
My friend and I ordered the same main course, veal with winter veggies. The veal was so tender and delicate, the veggies were all cut into special shapes and arranged just-so. It wasn't a knockout dish, but it was very good.
Onto the cheese. Brie de Meaux with a layer of walnuts. Creamy, rich, and very nice. By now we were running out of steam.
Then chocolate fantasie for dessert. I wish I'd had more room, because it was one of the best desserts I've ever had. A slim finger of dark chocolate mousse encased in a ganache, topped with a thin wafer of chocolate, and that was topped with a piped bit of more chocolate cream. I can't do it justice in the description.
Of course, we also had cafe and a plate of mignardises, which included six different little treats. The citrus tarte was wonderful. The macarron cookie, on the other hand, tasted like the artificial orange flavor they used to put in baby aspirin. I was too full to try the other mignardises.
The total lunch tab at Taillevent was 213 Euros for two people. We arrived at 12:30pm and departed at 3:00pm. Many tables that arrived about the same time as us left earlier - - I think there were quite a few business lunch meetings around us and we lingered longer over our coffee.
Lunch menu is a national game. Here are my favorites in Paris (all present excellent value, especially when compared with other menus of a la carte prices):
1- Guy Savoy has one table reserved for each lunch with a 100€ menu, plus glasses of wine starting at 10€. That's a degustation menu -- you can chose from the regular carte.
2- Michel Rostang -- delicious and very copious menu under 80€
3- Hotel Bristol -- under 72€ euros last time I checked.
The Ritz has a wonderful cooking school that you can get more info on at their web site. The classes are demo and they all have English speaking translators. You get to eat the yummy food at the end, AND you also get a tour of the Ritz kitchens.
Just thought that might be of interest.
My husband and I have tried and enjoyed the set lunch menu at the Grand Vefour, Les Ambassandeurs and Le Meurice (all E75). It is a real experience for the food, service and the grandeur of the restaurants. You won't regret it.
We also like Guy Savoy (E100) and Carré des Feuillants (E65) ( both decor are modern). Most restaurants have lunch menu only from Mon-Fri. Please confirm with them when you make the booking.
We are going to try out Taillevent (which is so highly recommended by Chowhounds) and Lasserre soon.
Below are websites of related restaurants, some with lunch menu details. Hope these help.
Most food temples do have their webpage where you can read all about the menus, etc.
L'Espadon at the Ritz (like Les Ambassadeurs at the Crillon) does have a prix fix lunch, also at 75€.
Sunday brunch is 96€. I'd definitely go for prix fix lunch, if I had to choose between the two.
Your should also consider Le Céladon at the Hotel Westminster, Rue Daunou. On weekends, the starred restaurant becomes Le Petit Céladon and they do offer a lunch for 51€ including appetizer, main, dessert, coffee and a bottle of wine for two. A real bargain and not an overly touristy restaurant, BTW.
Reservations well ahead are a must, of course.