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Dinner at Guy Savoy Paris

I must admit, I’ve been stalking Guy Savoy a bit from afar for years. I almost booked a meal at his restaurant in Las Vegas last year during my Sin Week trip, but my group just couldn’t swing it, financially (we contented ourselves with Daniel Boulud instead, which was….good. Not great. Not Guy).

So when I saw Guy Savoy as a stop on my Michelin Paris tour, I couldn’t help it. I squealed. I posted it on Facebook. Completely uncool, I know. But that’s the reaction that his name causes among foodies, at least among those on the aspirational side who don’t get to dine in three-starred restaurants all that often.

When our party arrived at the restaurant on a Tuesday night, not far from the Arc d’Triomphe, Guy himself showed us to our table, enclosed in a semi-private room

Inside, with dark walls, African art and modern paintings, the restaurant decor was serious, but the plates on the table showed Savoy’s festive side. As soon as we sat down, we were served Champagne from Guy’s own vineyards, along with foie gras and toast on tiny silver toothpicks. They came around three times with these delectable morsels, which told me that this wasn’t going to be a Spartan experience.

For our amuse bouche, we received a small cup of mushroom soup in a Siamese twin dish. The waiters lifted it to reveal a tiny potato and mushroom bite.

(If you want to see this report with photos, go to my blog: http://caroundtheworld.com/2010/03/23...

)

This kind of drama carried throughout the meal and was particularly heightened by our first course, steamed Breton lobster. It came out in a flurry of vapor, which later settled to reveal the crustaceon.
A small glass of lobster foam was served with the dish and we were instructed to drink it as we ate the course, “like a cappachino.”

At this point, I was hooked. This is what I consider a three-star experience to be: culinary techniques that I haven’t seen before, combined with fantastic presentation and food that I actually like to eat. Our wine for this course and the next: Puligny Montrachet Les Vieilles Vignes Domane Vincent Girardin.

It was around now that we were introduced to the Guy Savoy bread cart. The restaurant serves 9 kinds of bread, and each looked delicious. I tried a piece of chestnut.

Our next course was a piece of fish served with the scales on it, which gave it a nice crispiness. I was caught up in conversation at this point so I don’t remember too much more about the dish.

Next came Guy Savoy’s specialty – an artichoke soup with black truffles, served with a piece of brioche liberally doused with truffle butter. Words can’t describe how good this was. Waiters came around with extra portions of brioche as we ate; I didn’t see too many people turning them down.

Our meat course for the evening was a rack of veal. Before it was served, we were shown the cooked piece of meat. Our wine for this course was a Chateau Bahans Haut-Brion 2001, Pessac-Leognan. The dish was plated with truffled potatoes. Again, the waiters proved their mettle during this course, by offering second helpings of potatoes and more jus for the veal. It was all incredibly good.

At this point, we were getting full, as you might imagine. But our meal was really only 2/3 done.

Next came the cheese cart, where the waiter served up a variety, depending on your tastes. I told him the stinkier, the better.

Our first dessert was a blood orange sorbet of sorts, that waiters topped with a blood orange topping . It was served with an aloe vera marshmallow (the second time I had eaten aloe vera for dessert in two days) and a 2002 Satuernes from Chateau Guiraud that was absolutely delectable.

Our second dessert also had an element of drama to it. It arrived as simple chocolate ball. that melted when the waiters poured on a mango sauce. Again, incredibly delicious.

But wait, there’s more! After these “official desserts” came a round of “unofficial” decadence. We were offered all kinds of treats, from servers who insisted that we keep eating.

My actual exchange with a waiter, that I’ll forever remember as the “dessert pusher:”

Waiter: Rice pudding? Chocolate mousse?

Me: Honestly, I can’t eat anything else.

Waiter: Cheesecake? Pecan tarte?

Me: Seriously, no

Waiter leaves for a minute. He comes back with a sliver of pie and drapes it in front of me.

Waiter: Yes?

I’m clearly whipped by now. “Sure,” I say, and dig in. He smiles triumphantly. Let the record show that after all that protest, I found room for a macaron as well.

Upon reflection , what made the meal great is that it didn’t feel that a restaurant experience, per se. It felt more like an awesome dinner party, that just happened to have some of the best food you’ve ever ate. And that’s due primarily to the service, which never rushed us and felt solicitious without being overbearing. Wine glasses were refilled, seconds were regularly offered, breads and desserts were dispensed liberally to say the least. Although the meal lasted four hours, it didn’t feel long.

So, what was the damage for all of this? I was told that just the dinner was about 340 Euro, not including the wine, which I’m guessing adding another 200 euro. So if you want to recreate this meal yourself, you’re looking at more than $700 per person. For my husband and I, that would be a mortgage payment. The restaurant is open for lunch, however, so….I’m saving up to come back sometime. It was that special.

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  1. You really have my mouth watering. And the wine selections were seriously worth whatever you paid for them. Excellent, excellent!

    1. We're reserved for the 100e internet special lunch and plan to stay close to that. However, I carry lots of paper and plastic in my wallet and expect to need it. My problem is not so much in the enjoyment of the moment or in paying the bill....for me the pain comes later when i see people struggling to make ends meet and I hurt in my heart. That said, we can't wait to be there!

      10 Replies
      1. re: hychka

        To me, fine dining is no harder, or easier, to justify than opera or theater.

        Incidentally, you'll have to be careful with the drinks at Savoy when it comes to staying close to 100€ pp.

        1. re: souphie

          i had the 100€ menu at savoy 18 months ago and it wasn't a million miles away from cegray's report (the amuse, artichoke soup and veal with truffled pomme puree all made an appearance). they were very generous and totally lovely throughout. it was, by quite some distance the best experience of a 2.5 day eating trip. our total per head came to 220€, but we did enjoy it so much we tucked into the wine a little harder than we expected to (for lunch) and made a point of leaving a fairly hefty, justifiable tip. food aside, it has to be one of the most personable, relaxed 3 stars i've ever been to.

        2. re: hychka

          l wish you luck in staying close to the 100 euros. If you drink wine, his list is great but expensive and the party atmosphere makes it very easy to indulge. When there in October, two of us had the 100 euro lunch and the total after wine and this and that was 615 euros.

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            this is prob one for souphie. one apsect i will give the 3 stars credit for is, come the bill, they seemed to only charge for one bottle of water, yet had replenished throughout the entire meal, to the point we'd probably gone through 3 or 4 bottles in total. did we just get lucky or is it a common french / paris policy? in terms of savoy, my point here is, if you avoid alcohol, you could prob stick very close to the €100, but it never does work out that way does it? certainly not from personal experience! relatively speaking, the booze is always the thing that does damage to a bill!

            1. re: marcus james

              If they renew your water without asking, they should not charge you for the extra bottles -- only Ledoyen does it, and it is very annoying. Now I specifically request tap water from them. If they ask you, they will sometims charge for every bottle of water but classy restaurants don't do that. Quite frankly, when you're paying hundreds of euro for a meal, you shouldn't have to pay for water on top of it. Places like l'Arpège don't ever charge you for water. Not that they're cheap or generous in any way.

              1. re: souphie

                thanks souphie, i thought you'd know.

                it isn't generous given the money you're paying, but - annoyingly - none of the uk high-end restaurants do it. having said that the most expensive menu in the uk right now is the fat duck at £130. compare that to the €230-350 prices in the paris establishments and it seems like pretty decent value, even if you do have to pay for every bottle of water.

                1. re: souphie

                  I never disagree with Soup but here I must; this has happened at least twice this decade to us; once at Restaurant W and once at - was it called? - the Vancouvre? on Bellechasse or Bourgogne - where my friend ordered a Ricard and they kept bringing more bottled water without the request. I prefer the "old" Goumard-style, where wine, water & coffee was bundled and everflowing. I guess we bankrupted them though which is why it's no longer all compris and non-stop.

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    one thing's for sure, we've kind of hijacked this thread and turned it into a debate about liquids, lol!

            2. re: hychka

              Thanks for all your advice. We decided to find somewhere else to eat that day.

              1. re: hychka

                Please tell, how does one reserve the 100 Euro lunch? I was looking through their website and cannot find it. Is it still available?

              2. We have a reservation in early April (made just 2 weeks in advance!), our first Michelin experience in Paris. Was mildly disappointed to learn of the Vegas location. I know it's silly, but it somehow feels that the experience will be undermined a little because this restaurant is no longer something to be experienced "only in Paris."

                I'm sure that feeling will fade the moment step off the train....

                4 Replies
                1. re: ColinH

                  GS is a great first Paris Michelin experience. It was mine, a lunch only a few hours after getting off a flight and it was magical. I swooned at the butter - Bordier, then swooned at the brioche with the truffle butter (and the second portion, offered without my asking), I swooned at the bread service, and at the magnificent service period. And then the parade of desserts. Cegray's post brought back memories of what was a special afternoon. (Thanks, Cegray!) GS Paris' series of special touches create what feels like an "only in Paris" experience. The fact there's a Vegas location should not detract at all from your experience.

                  Enjoy! And please report back after your trip!

                  1. re: shortstop

                    agree 100% with shortstop. I have been twice and it has been a great party each time. The fun, friendly service, the suprises, and the desserts are over the top.

                    1. re: mdietrich

                      I had the internet 100 euros lunch last october and it was amazing; we spent around 230 euros per person, including wine pairing for each dish, champagne before food. They only charged one bottle of sparkling water, although we had 3 of them. The "after" desserts were terrific.

                  2. re: ColinH

                    Colin, I hope you will report back on your experience at Guy Savoy. FWIW, imho, any Paris restaurant that has a presence in Las Vegas is going to be as different from the Las Vegas location as the two cities are from each other.

                  3. Not too long ago, I had a res at Savoy and one at Senderens for lunch and dinner respectively the same day. I sent my parents to Savoy and I went to Senderens. Their experience was like yours. They totally came out ahead of me on that day.