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Aug 8, 2007 10:30 PM

Paris - Senderens or Hiramatsu, Le Grand Vefour

I am going to paris in October, and I am interested in going to Senderens or Hiramatsu for dinner ; I may go to both, but there is a chance I will choose between them. Does anybody have any recommendations or preferences between the two?

Also, I am considering Le Grand Vefour for lunch (though, in general, I tend to prefer more contemporary, less formal atmosphere); does anybody have any recent experience with their 75 Euro prix fixe lunch? Is it great? Is it several courses, or more limited (amuse, entree, main, dessert)?.....I am choosing between LGV for lunch, where I have never been, or L'Astrance, which I love, but where I have been a couple of times before.

Thank you.

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  1. I am curious about what lead you to this short list.

    Senderens is a great place, very animated, with the amazing work of the chef on the wine-dish pairing, and a cooking that has been less perfect than it used to lately, while still excellent (Lucas Carton was just the best restaurant in the World, imo). Chef Senderens is a living monument, a true genius. By contrast, Hiramatsu has a flawless cooking, mostly classical, and a more formal ambiance. You may have more perfect dishes there, very enjoyable for sure. So that really depends what you are looking for, though I would personally clearly pick Senderens.

    Why le Grand Véfour? I haven't been in a long time because I found Guy Martin's cooking positively boring, and recent reports I read have not suggested otherwise. L'Astrance is more exciting but it is not in the Palais Royal.

    1. I've taken the 75E lunch at Le Grand Vefour twice the past three years. The food has been mixed, the first time being very good (crabmeat stuffed chiperoon with ink sauce, cod with curry emulsion and chocolate variations for dessert) and the second not very good (too firm and cold fois gras and chicken terrine, watery fish stuffed with fennel and vegetables, a very good caramelized pineapple dessert). The prix fixed menu is 3 courses with each course having 3 choices, plus an amuse, cheese course (one of the best cart which seems to be disappearing in Paris), and then the usual petit fours and chocolate. For that price, don't expect lobster, turbot, etc any of his specialities. During my first lunch, I did receive a complimentary portion of his Ravioles de fois gras with truffle emulsion which was the best thing I had there. Guy Martin has a reputation with vegetables but I didn't find his vegetables to be particularly interesting or well handled (as to Arpege), more contrived than tasty. As expected, service was formal but very good, though there were too many staff for the confined space. No need to elaborate on the decor. Given the 75E price, it is not a bad experience. But foodwise, no comparison to the prix fixed lunches at Gagnaire or Le Meurice.
      I ate at Senderen when it was just transformed from Lucas Carton. I was saddened by the few changes to the beautiful decor and was not particularly taken by the food though the wine pairing was excellent. I didn't find Senderen's grand cooking translated well to a simpler concept.

      1. Thank you for the replies.

        This "short list" is not my complete list of restaurants this trip. I was thinking of
        places that are not quite as formal and/ or lengthy (time-wise) as a two or three star experience, but offered great, innovative food. On my last trip I overdid it on three-stars, and I realized that I like to mix up the dining experiences a bit more rather than trying to cram as many of meals at the "best" restaurants as possible in limited time. I am already booked for lunch at Guy Savoy, and I will probably try to return to L'Astrance. Hiramatsu and Senderens just seemed similar to me in the sense that they would be less formal, more contemporary, and offer great, creative cuisine without some of the pretense of a three-star.

        Le Grand Vefour just seems to me to be one of those places that you should go to in Paris, though after hearing such mixed things about the food, I suspect I'll pass. When I go to a two or three star, I expect the food to be special, not just good or very good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: fishskis

          I ate at Hiramatsu for lunch and Senderens for dinner when visiting last November, and enjoyed both. If you're looking for contemporary, I'd go for Senderens-more inventive tastes, etc. Of course, nothing beats L'Astrance in that field, at least in Paris. Note that Senderens is open Sunday night.
          Hiramatsu is more classic nouvelle (I know, an odd term). I've touted the 48 Euro lunch special on this board before-a great deal, in my book. And they had the best gougeres.

        2. Foodwise Grand Vefour is seriously overrated IMO. Haven't been to Senderens since he closed Lucas Carton but Lucas Carton was certainly one of the 2 or 3 best in Paris.

          My favorite big gun is Carre des Feuillants.