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Esperance/Vezelay-any updates

This is certainly a restaurant that has had its' ups and downs; not mentioned here in the last year or so.
Has anybody been there recently and what are the comments?

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  1. I haven't been in a while, but that's because I never really liked the restaurant or the chef. From what regulars tell me, the style of the new, saved Meneau is very changed: much more modern, much more frugal. Where the charm of the younger Meneau had a lot to do with reminiscence of ancient feasts, Vatel and others, the new one is much more "up-to-date" as they say in Michelin. Meals are easier to finish, which I suppose you could see as an upside. The place, where I've been more recently, is as lovely as ever.

    7 Replies
    1. re: souphie

      Agree as always with Soup. Why? Except for the church and running around the town at 6 AM?

      1. re: souphie

        It does not sound too encouraging but for old times sake I will go back there in June.
        I can remember too many wonderful and generous meals there.
        Small portions and astronomical prices-too bad.
        On a separate note, I went to Rosang a couple of weeks ago and had a truely outstanding lunch-a la carte (asperges+quenelles+bouchee a la reine)+great wines+wonderful service.

        1. re: jehflyer

          I really hope this works out well for you. I am planning to be in the area in 2011 and having had two spectacular meals at L'Esperance, I would like to try it again. I will look forward to your report.

          1. re: rrems

            I will let you know, although a meal I had last year was nothing exceptional-just very expensive (and it takes a lot to shock me)

            1. re: jehflyer

              Stopped by today, did not eat. Spectacularly expensive indeed. At the same time, studying the menu, it looks very Meneau, very nouvelle cuisine. So while I never liked it (Meneau's food, not nouvelle cuisine), I think those who once did might like it again. The pigeon and lobster dish sounded appealing to me. The chocolate/gree pea/mint dessert intriguing.

              Same about the staff I interacted with -- they were very similar to my memories of the house, which is to say, in my opinion, unwelcoming and pretentious. But hey, this place used to have three stars and I never understood why.

              1. re: souphie

                "Stopped by today, did not eat. Spectacularly expensive indeed"
                I knew I liked you Soup, but not how much or why. You fingered it.
                As I said upsteam, running about the town and viewing the church, the Basilique Ste-Madeleine, are great, and the view out back is equal, but otherwise, for food, I don't get it? And that's since 1970-something.

          2. re: jehflyer

            Those quenelles were one of my 2009 highlights

        2. Meneau in the early 80s was caring, about the food and the service. Meneau after that could care less about what his clients' experience was, and the attitude was absolutely off-putting.

          3 Replies
          1. re: allende

            Haven't known him in the 80s, but that's been my experience since the 90s indeed.

            1. re: allende

              I started going around 1986-at the same time as I started going to Greuze-and was very happy until about 2004 or so. At which time, there was a definite change (i believe it was before he lost his star the first time).

              1. re: jehflyer

                This is very interesting. My first visit was for lunch in 1985. The food was wonderful, and M. Meneau wished us bon voyage as we were leaving. Mme. Meneau was very gracious. The maitre d' who took our order was condescending (I ordered salade de foie de veau, and he had to point out that "most americans do not like ze calves liver") but otherwise everything was very pleasant. The next trip was in 2000 for dinner and the food was excellent, service excellent, and once again greeting from Mme was very gracious. Expensive but well worth it. We ordered a Grand Marnier after the meal and they left the bottle for us to have as much as we desired. This occasionally happens, but is always a pleasant surprise and a way to end the dinner on a particularly happy note. Sad that it may have gone downhill and I hope it has improved again since. My experiences in Europe generally have been that a restaurant may improve over the years, but very rarely does it decline, especially if there is no change of chef.