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Nov 30, 2008 10:23 AM


I am trying to narrow down a number of dining choices/reservations I made for a trip to Paris prior to Christmas. I was hoping to arrange one "once in a lifetime" dinner for my husband and me. He is a picky eater so I can't count on him to share in a degustation menu with me. He will likely require a la carte and even then with special requests such as a simple red meat or fish dish, a green salad and dessert. Is that possible? I have made reservations at Arpege for this "once in a lifetime" meal, but after hours and hours of reading, I am questioning this choice. How much can I expect to spend for three courses for two with by the glass wine pairings( (is that possible?) I have lunch reservations at Guy Savoy and La Veranda and for my beef lover husband, his choice was La Ferrandaise. (An aside here--last trip to Paris my husband was enamored with the Steak Frites idea and time and again was disappointed with the taste of the beef, we suspected the aging process in Europe is different than in the states?) Here is my list of favorite, memorable meals to give the reader an idea of what I see as memorable: In Europe: La Bastide D'Odeon the first time I ate there n 1999, the second time in 2002 was very good but not over the top also service last time was just ok. NYC -- BABBO- loved everything about it, San Francisco Slanted Door, Aqua, Mustard's (Napa) New Orleans Bayona, August (great one time, ok the next few times) Chicago- Frontera Grill. Boston Olives (just after they opened, mediocre the second time there), Sorry this is so wordy and disjointed, it is indicative of my frustration level right now! We are close to departure so I really need someone to intervene here and set me on the right path.

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  1. Wow, I must have committed some horrible faux pas....

    4 Replies
    1. re: Lisamay

      Not at all. You will love Guy Savoy: it offers perhaps the best overall dining experience in paris. I would also highly recommend Arpege. Unfortunately, Arpege is one of the most expensive restaurants in paris; M. Passard's food is simple but delicious. As for wine pairing, the sommelier and g.m at Arpege are wonderfully helpful and will do anything and everything to make your experience at Arpege memorable.

      1. re: sethd

        Thank you for the reply. Will Arpege be able to accommodate my husbands picky/simple taste? Has anybody heard anything about La Ferrandaise? Any input about Sunday brunch at La Veranda?

        1. re: Lisamay

          There's no sunday brunch at La Véranda that I am aware of, only regular lunch (which is not half bad).

          Arpège will always be able to adapt whatever they cook, but if your husband is picky in the sense that he does not eat vegetables and seafood, then you'd better skip l'Arpège altogether. On the other hand, if he does not eat vegetables and seafood, he should try those at l'Arpège. But only you knows if he is the kind of guy who is able to change his mind. Don't you?

          Also, no idea why he chose la Ferrandaise. As Oakglen recently reminded us, for steak frites, best options include le Sévero, le Gourmet des Ternes, l'Entrecôte (in his many branches and imitators), La Rotonde...

          Savoy, as others said on this board, is always wonderful, and they sure will accomodate any food request, if only because they have a more diverse menu than l'Arpège. My money is on Savoy being meal of a lifetime, though both clearly have that potential.

      2. re: Lisamay

        No, not a faux pas. I suspect we were all slightly flummoxed by trying to reconcile your husbands picky eating to any restaurant in Paris which would serve a "once in a lifetime meal". I wonder if you are asking an impossible question.

        I had a colleague who had similar tastes, we soon learned that he only enjoyed himself in certain restaurants. Our compromise: we gave up and chose were we wanted to eat and hoped he would be happy. There are only so many steak restaurants you can try in a week...! My advice is to do the same.

      3. Thank you all sooooo much, Souphie especially for the reality check about Arpege. I think that's why I was having so much anxiety about it. About La Veranda brunch-- the web site doesn't mention it but here is what I received when I emailed to book lunch:

        "We have received your email and we thank you for the interest you show for our restaurant. Please be advised that on Sundays at noon we have the brunch. Let me know if you wish to book for the brunch, and I will send you a confirmation by return email"
        I didn't see a "brunch" menu on the web site, so, we'll see. I 'll post how it turns out. Gordon Ramsay's La Veranda in Versailles, right? THANK YOU for the Steak Frites recommendations. We will definitely try one of those instead of la Ferrandaise--I have no idea what my husband read or where he got the recommendation. Very glad to hear about Guy Savoy, I am so looking forward to it.

        To PhilD--I know, I know. I just want to have an unforgettable meal. I will eat anything and I practically worship food (i'm Italian) but my husband just will not eat something he doesn't think he'll like, even for my once in a lifetime experience. I guess it will have to wait for a girls' trip some day. I should have just come out with it and asked that if, for a price, the kitchen would cook something simple for my husband, while cooking an inspired meal for me. I imagine it's very annoying to read someone posting to a food lovers' web site asking about places that will accommodate a picky eater. Poor form, really.

        All input is much appreciated.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Lisamay

          I'm sure Guy Savoy will do T-Bone and fried onions for you husband. Just warn him in advance. Or indeed take me instead of your husband.

          1. re: Lisamay

            Why don't you split up for a meal - you go where you can have the meal rather than waiting for 'the future' and he can go and eat what he likes! I am travelling alone to Paris and will be eating all of my meals alone. I did the split thing once with my sister - because she was so picky and I wanted one good meal out.

            1. re: sarah galvin

              I had a wonderful beef meal at L'AOC ... Great place... laid back... good pates and the beef for 2 was amazing .. beautiful mashed potatos and excellent wine...We are going back in a couple of weeks for more.. Reasonably priced as well..... check out their

              1. re: krakshebab

                I love l'AOC but I did not find their beef outstanding compared to Sévero or Ami Louis or Gourmet des Ternes. Still very nice, especially by French standards.

          2. Your list of restaurants aren't necessarily 'over the top' type places, just ones that have good food. I wouldn't call it over the top or once in a lifetime but only once so far in my lifetime I had dinner at La Rotisserie du Beaujolais which had lovely beef and duck, wonderful atmosphere and perfect service.May be you both will like it!