Dining & Staying in Burgundy
I'm trying to decide between Lameloise, Georges Blanc, Cote St.-Jacques, and Bernard Loiseau. My criteria are 1) the quality of the restaurant, 2) value, 3) proximity to the Cote d'Or. I'll be renting a car.
I've been leaning towards Lameloise because of its relative closeness to the heart of the wine region, and because it looks pretty tasty and is moderately priced.
I'll probably stay at once of these hotels for 2 or 3 nights, eat at the restaurant once for dinner, and go to a casual place the other nights for dinner. I don't think I have the budget to go to two of these places!
Has anyone been to any of them recently? What has blown you away? Perhaps someone could describe the various chef's styles, and I can match them with my tastes. Am I making a mistake by leaning towards Lameloise?
So far I loved lunch at Gagnaire in Paris, and also loved L'atelier de Joel Robuchon. That's about the extent of my experience with true haute cuisine in France. While we're on the topic, in Paris for my one blow-out meal, what should I choose? I'm leaning towards Gagnaire for dinner b/c I loved the lunch so much....but I'm tempted by some of the others I've never been to....
First let me state that I havent eaten in any of these places personally, so my impressions are based on other's feedback. I dont think you can go wrong with Lamesloise, and it is closest to the Cote d'Or. The food is traditional and solid. But if I was going to pick a destination restaurant, it would be Troisgros in Roanne. I have a gourmand friend who raves about it and takes trip to France from the US just to go there. He stays for several days and takes all meals there.
Roanne is far from the Cote d'Or (over 2 hours) but since you are willing to make it an overnight trip, this is the place to go.
Something you might want to consider is staying in a cheaper hotel instead of one attached to one of these restaurants. There are many simple, charming small hotels around the region and you could use the money you save to dine in more than one of the great restaurants.
rrems has a really good idea, stay at one of the nice inns close to the dining place you chose. I've stayed near Lameloise (10 km) in Puliguy Montrachet which is the heart of chardonnay country at La Chouette. http://www.la-chouette.fr/fr/
The proprietor, Suzanne, is Canadian and with her husband also own the La Montrachet. Her web site has a good list of place to eat in the Cote du Beaune.
We ate at Lameloise about 18 months ago. It was an enjoyable meal but as Brunella says it is "traditional and solid". Overall we found it a little to formal and stuffy for our tastes - it almost took itself to seriously - we found Tailivant relaxed in comparison. If this is what you enjoy it is a good choice.
We also stayed at a cheaper hotel, Le Montrachet, in the village of Puligny Montrachet which is a short cab ride from the restaurant. The hotel has a nice terrace at the front where you can enjoy a fine lunch in the sunshine.
For a good casual hotel and restaurant you could try the "Hostelerie du val d'or" in the village of Mercurey. This is good, typical country restaurant, with one Michelin star, and it has very good value menus featuring local specialities. The village also has lots of wineries close to the hotel (walking) so makes a good base for tasting.
I was thinking that if you love Gagnaire, you would be more likely to like Loiseau than the others, which I think are pretty much traditional.
Souphie will have the best assessment, tho, I think. I hope he will be around here to give you his opinion, because it's generally current, and insiteful.
Lameloise is definitely best value and closest to the wine country indeed. It is actually, and always was, the cheapest of the three stars. Now I am not aware of anyone having their mind blown there -- but all say they had great meals, and of course great burgundy wines. Now that is different with Bernard Loiseau, which is more of a countryside palace, and whose cooking is very personal. I reported on Loiseau recently -- see http://www.julotlespinceaux.com/2008/...
Lorain (Cote Saint Jacques is no cheaper, no less personnal, but much more north). Blanc is very international, fluffy, good.
Thanks everyone for the feedback and ideas. This is very helpful, and I look forward to researching them all. I think I'm going to go for Lameloise in Burgundy, and perhaps stay somewhere cheaper to maximize my food dollars. For the more casual night, I've heard Ma Cuisine is very good. Any thoughts? Perhaps a great hole-in-the-wall type of place would be nice for the other night.
By the way, is 2 nights enough time for Burgundy? I'll be renting a car.
In general, I want to have a nice mix of classical and hyper-modern food. But I'm fine with saving the modern stuff for Paris. In general, when i eat back in the states my taste is for modern food like Alinea in Chicago, but I also like simpler food well prepared (Chez Panisse), and then lots of stuff in between, eg. Cyrus in Healdsberg, Picholine in NYC, Michael Mina in SF, or Komi in DC...add in Manresa in Los Gatos and you have some of my favorites...but i'm not sure how relevant this knowledge would be in helping you all make france recommendations!
I'm also enjoying the parallel thread on Paris 3-star lunches. I want to do maybe one or two...
So here's my thoughts for Paris so far:
a few small bites at l'atelier de JR after we arrive
le meurice, or else perhaps the special guy savoy internet lunch
Les Elysées du vernet, for sure, based on souphie's review
dinners--the plan is to keep it reasonable except for one blow-out meal:
chez l'ami jean--been here before and loved it & want my girlfriend to try it
mon vieil ami--ditto
benoit--my girlfriend would love the classicism
L'Os à Moelle
plus either l'astrance or gagnaire the final night
finding dinner prices on gagnaire's website is a major challenge...are we talking a 1000 euro meal for two? That's too much for me! I've seen L'astrance quoted at around 270/euros per person with wine, which seems much more affordable...It's so hard to choose!
ok, back to prowling these boards....any final advice would be welcome before i start booking tables...thanks!!!
There is a wonderful small hotel with an excellent restaurant in Morey. That is where I would stay and dine one night. That puts you smack in the heart of the Cote de Nuits and the great reds. The Hotel Tres Girard is on the edge of town on the vineyard of the same name and is very quiet.
Have been to Lameloise four times and never been disappointed.
We love Tres Girard, the staff is so nice, the food is wonderful and the wine list has many you can not find, anywhere else. If the terrace is open, its a great setting. We showed up in bicycling attire (old folks in spandex) at lunch, they seated us in a center table and we had a terrific lunch, our bikes awaiting us outside. The town of Morey St Denis is kind of sleepy, but the wines and residents are very kind. When we asked direction to Tres Girard a local fellow tried to tell us in French, we didn't comprehend and started off the wrong way on our bikes, he drove after us and pointed us the correct direction.
Gagnaire is über-expensive indeed. Tasting menu is 350 per person but at least wine prices aren't crazy. 1000 eur for two is quite a possibility if you order à la carte or go for great wines.
L'Astrance is exactly 290 per person, set price including the eight course menu and all beverage. Pics for you: http://picasaweb.google.com/jultort/L... . If you loved Manresa, you'd probably feel well at l'Astrance.
Your Paris schedule sounds great -- I would change les Lyonnais for something less bistrot, as you have so many of them already. Especially since you already have a Ducasse bistrot with Benoit, and that's way enough Ducasse in my opinion.
Burgundy is just wonderful. In Beaune I would recommend Loiseau des Vignes, the Loiseau bistrot, which will give you a taste of the Loiseau style and has tons of great wines by the glass. Also the patisserie Bouché, place Monge, for all sorts of great candies to take home -- pates de fruits, burgondines, cassissines...
There's a restaurant called le Charlemagne in Pernand-Vergelesse, they do Nippo-burgund food. A rising star in Burgundy.
Le Hameau de Barboron in Savigny is a georgeous place to stay, in the middle of a park, more affordable than Lameloise and definitely a more exciting place to stay if you like old houses, nature and peace.
When in Burgundy I stay in Beaune because its right in the middle of the cote d'Or. I stay 3 nights. The day i get there is for exploring Beaune. Then you need 1 day to go up the slope (cote de nuits) and one day to go down the slope (cote de beaune). You could manage with just 2 nights but it will be more of an overview. Ma Cuisine is always on the itinerary as is L'Eccuson. I have a most pleasant lunch at Montrachet in Puligny. It was a warm day and I sat outside on the terrace. The town is very quite and it was a most peaceful afternoon.
Thanks for all the ideas! Some of these hotel/restaurant combinations look great. One potential downside is that some require you to eat there, too, which might preclude other options like Ma Cuisine or Loiseau des Vignes. But we'll see. As someone who has worked in the wine industry for a few years, I'm sure my girlfriend would love to stay close to the vines in the Cotes de Nuits or especially Morey St Denis...
On your advice for Paris, I think I'll be swapping Senderens for Aux Lyonnais. I've read mixed things about Aux Lyonnais, and Senderens sounds great; plus it'll be a great setting. Well, i suppose the Lyonnais setting is also excellent, but I've heard the old Lucas-Carton dining room was very nice. Plus the lunch at Le Meurice will give us exposure to eating in that type of setting, without paying the hefty dinner price. And Benoit will then give my girlfriend the bistro experience i'm sure she wants to have.
For the reservations at L'Astrance, will they take reservations more than 2 months to the day in advance? I'm looking at June 5...
Lameloise is terrific and I personally don't find it the least bit stuffy. You might want to stay there the one night you eat there, but I would not stay there and eat elsewhere. Standout dishes there include "Millefeuille de homard bleu en salade d’herbettes sur une émulsion de tomates," "Côte de veau" (I like the preparation with Morilles the best, but there are others), les "Trois foies gras froids," to name just 3. The breakfast at Lameloise is a very good value for this sort of place, and you get to eat in the grand dining room which is always a treat. The Canal du Centre is 5 minutes walk away, and there is a bike/pedestrian path running alongside it (La Voie Verte) which is long enough to get enough exercise for the meal you are going to (or recently) ate . . . . .
I echo the comments on Ma Cuisine. Beaune has a charming and not too expensive hotel called "Hotel des Remparts" which is within 2 blocks of Ma Cuisine and isn't too expensive.
As to Troigros, referred to in another post, I ate there a number of times when the father of the current chef (and his brother before his death) were the chefs. The place has become ultra très expensive, pretentious, and precious. The food is nowhere as good as it is at Lameloise (in my opinion) and costs at least 1.5x as much. The town of Roanne, whatever its charms may be, offers nothing to the tourist and unless you want to have a close up look at Charolais cows, this is not a part of Burgundy that merits your time.