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Nov 30, 2007 06:57 PM

How's the food at Rene Pujol these days?

Has anyone been to this restaurant recently? What's the food like since it was sold to the employees? I'm planning a special-occasion dinner there--I don't need the food to be transcendent (it never was) but it needs to be at least adequate in a cozy, traditional-French, old-style way...ditto the service. Reports on this board have been mixed, so I'd appreciate hearing from anyone with recent experience. Can't thank you enough for your input!

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  1. I ate there a little over a month ago. It was my first visit since the Pujol family sold the restaurant. I thought the food was quite competant and the service reminded me of the old ownership EXCEPT that it was much more American, in the sense that you did not feel that French was the first language (or even any language) of any of the servers or front of the house staff, like you did before. Otherwise, I think you will find that little has changed. If you loved the old RP, you will not be disappointed with the co-op one.

    1. Thanks a lot Bob, this kind of careful reply was just what I was looking for. Though more feedback is still welcome...BTW, what did you order? I need to know what to choose...

      1 Reply
      1. re: crinkle11

        I'm not great at remembering dishes, but fortunately, a look at the menu helped. We had the prix-fixe dinner. I too had the sausage in brioche which I thought was very good. For a main, I had the duck which was quite tasty and not dry at all, but certainly not extraordinary. I tasted the monkfish, which I thought was fresh and nicely sauced. There were about a dozen of us (celebrating a birthday of someone who really likes RP and he seemed to non be disappointed). The other thing I remember was that my uncle ordered the filet mignon and made a big point of wanting it medium rare. It came out on the well done side of medium, but they took it right back and obviously gave the reorder priority attention as it came back perfectly done not too much later. People seemed to like the chocolatey desserts, but I am usually a bit of a prude when it comes to desserts, so I ordered the pumpkin sorbet, which, I have to admit, was a bit weird.

      2. I'm not sure I totally agree with Bob. We had lunch at Rene Pujol during the summer, and I didn't think the food was equal to the quality we've experienced over the years. Not that it was bad. Not at all. As Bob said, it was competently prepared but, for me, it just lacked something. However, if "adequate" is acceptable, you will be quite satisfied.

        It was a slow Sunday afternoon, so there was a skeleton staff. Our server, who Hispanic, was very pleasant. The young woman at the reception desk was American. Thus, with regard to the lack of "French-ness," Bob is correct -- presuming this is indicative of the full staff.

        Edited to add: I just looked back at your original post and noted that you are thinking of going here for a special occasion. At this point, frankly, I don't think it rises to that level, and I wouldn't choose it for that purpose. But as the expression goes, "Chacun a son gout."

        Regarding what you might order, we had the $24 3-course lunch prix-fixe. I started with the warm goat cheese on potato -- the classic "petatou" -- with red beet vinaigrette, mesclun, and pignolis. The "petatou" was good, but I've had better versions. My husband began with the garlic sausage in brioche. I tasted it, and it was fine. My main was another classic, flounder meuniere with "lemon emulsion." The fish was properly prepared but there was not sufficient sauce. Along with mixed vegetables, there was a mashed potato accompaniment, which didn't thrill me, so I requested it be eliminated. The kitchen decided to substitute some tasty sauteed spinach. The other vegetables properly prepared and tasty. My husband had the salmon with mustard sauce. I didn't try it, but he liked it. For dessert, my husband had the apricot tart, which was delicious. I opted for a special that day, something that combined chocolate with caramel. It was also delicious. However, the vanilla ice cream that was supposed to come with it was missing -- an oversight I didn't discover until it was too late when, after I had finished, I saw the same dessert being served at an adjacent table. When I mentioned it to our server, he was extremely apologetic but took no further action.

        1. Thanks to both of you. I've widened my options and am going to post another question...