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La Regalade St. Honore - How bloggers are destroying the Paris dining scene

Reading the reports from the Parisian blogosphere you got the impression that LRSH was more or less the same as the old location. Same food, chef shuttling back and forth in his chefmobile, same service we've all grown to hate a little. (how do they know that about the chef? because he obviously made nice with them to get good reviews)

The truth, my friends, is that the room is downright ugly - exposed concrete floors, cheap banquettes, ceiling that looks like it was designed for a more expensive restaurant (did they run out of money halfway through?). The wine list has about half the items struck out, other items were 2005 and changed with pencil to 2006.

Former symbols of generosity, like the terrine, and the ris au lait became symbols of awkward cheesiness. The terrine comes with no plates, and you see table after table trying to figure out what to do with it. In one case a table got a tail of a terrine, in another they were served it maybe a minute before their appetizers. In English it's a "chicken terrine" and in French it is "terrine de volaile et cochon" (because we all know Americans only want chicken). Speaking of translation - despite this being in a touristy area, there was nobody there who could, or would, translate the menu or the specials to a nice Canadian couple next to us, so we took the job.

Finally, the kitchen, it is far too small and is incapable of delivering more than two plates at a time. We saw a four top where they got two appetizers and then waited about 10 minutes for the other two, and the same thing repeated in the main courses. These were polite French folks so they made no fuss about it nor did the couple who were served late suggest that the other couple start eating... nothing like cold pork belly...

The ris au lait, previously served in a dish so big that only world championship eaters could finish it, is now served in what is again a very awkward dish - about three times the size of a regular dessert, and only about twice what a normal person might choose to eat from it. The wooden spoon stuck in it seems too big and the entire thing reads like a joke. I guess between saving a Euro on the terrine and a Euro on ris au lait they're trying to make up the difference in rent.

In short, while the old La Regalade has its problems, they are all much worse in the new location. Don't go.

p.s. the cochonnailles aren't on the menu but were still being served, I guess only to those in the know.

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  1. I have to agree. I did not see what all the fuss was about. The only part of the dinner I liked was the vanilla pot de creme, but the rest was ordinary. I wouldn't return.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nancy S.

      But isn't it lovely that so many others are enjoying LRSH (and, FMPOV, you can add Frenchie), and are therefore out of the competition for other coveted seats on these nights?

      1. re: mangeur

        Folks, we split a number of posts debating the practices and effects of food bloggers over to our Food Media board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/750006

        If you've got experiences at La Regalade to share, please go ahead, but if you're more interested in the blogging aspect of the conversation, please check out the split thread.


    2. Yes, I do totally agree. I was there yesterday for lunch and I was really disappointed. I even found plastic film in my beef cheek, and my plate was not even removed and replaced by a new one. I only got a little "désolée" from the waitress. I also went, two monthes ago, to "Saturne", the new "chouchou" of the bloggers and oh my god, I honestly did not get what all the fuss was about. The food was really too simple, and expensive for what you get...
      (And sorry for my english, my mother tongue being french)


      1. On our visit to LRSH this fall, we waited 19 minutes after being seated for any further human contact. Thereafter, the service was quick and unfriendly. (My French is rudimentary, but I'm not sure I can recall another instance where a server corrected my pronunciation.) Consistent with QdeBro's observation, the terrine arrived at our table just a few minutes before our firsts. The food was good to very good, but why bother? Anyone familiar with the Paris resto scene could quickly compile a list of a dozen other places with comparable food but a warmer welcome, friendier service and a happier vibe. None of this, in my opinion, can be laid at the feet of any bloggers or reviewers. The problems of LRSH are their own. I'm glad I visited. I don't foresee visiting again.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bill1jan

          "[W]e waited 19 minutes after being seated for any further human contact"/ "the terrine arrived at our table just a few minutes before our firsts." Hmmm -- we had substantially the same two experiences on our first and so far only visit to the "mother ship" almost 2 years ago (except that the wait was actually longer -- 30 minutes between ordering apéros and getting the cartes).

          "None of this, in my opinion, can be laid at the feet of any bloggers or reviewers." I agree.

        2. Wow. I can't disagree more, though I'll try. On Thanksgiving night, we were treated to both fine, friendly and even warm service as well as delicious food. Can't wait to blog about it more, as soon as I get my pics all sorted out...


          This dessert was textbook...

          1. The original is damn near perfect as far as I am concerned. Let's see:

            1. Some of the best pate in town a volante.
            2. Forces you to trek out to Alesia to a neighborhood you forgot is worth living in.
            3. Excellent Q/P wine list.
            4. Noise, people pushing, humanity having a good time.
            5. Fresh, simple, copious food.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Busk

              I visited LRSH 2 times, one lunch, one dinner and found the food and price to be nearly identical to the original, which I quit visiting because of the over crowding and the lack of friendliness, indeed rudeness of the maitresse. As I commented in an earlier thread, both of these negatives had been corrected at the new place...much more room and pleasant servers. One visit M. Doucet was there and the other I didn't see him. One visit we got the terrine and the other, both terrine and charcuterie. We were impressed both visits with the food and especially the rapport of price with quality.

              1. re: Laidback

                I also quit going to the original for the same reason. Whilst the food was great the service was dire. I made comments to that effect on the board but was roundly criticsised...never coment on sacred cows.

                I was pleased to hear the new place has solved this, but I am intriguied about the number of negative comments that arr starting to echo the sins of the past. Were they trying hard at launch and now they have settled back into their own ways? Is this the danger of the early blog reviews of new places i.e. a more balanced review is achieved after the place has settled down say after 3 months. Which seems to be happening with here and Spring now the hype is settling down.

                I had the "pleasure" of chatting to Doucet and suggested the service was too stretched - I then got a lecture about he cost of employing staff in France, taxes, holiday pay etc. and was then roundly lambasted for my ignorance. I went away thinking that his sensitivity showed I may have hit the nail on the head.

                1. re: PhilD

                  I was in the new place in September. The staff bent over backwards to help me engineer a surprise for a birthday girl. In short, excellent service. Good food. All six of us had a great time.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    I think that might be the case - the service was similar to the old location but even more stretched. I think though that under-staffing the kitchen is even worse than doing so in the front of the house.

              2. I have not been to LRSH yet, but was recently at the original LR and I found it to be a delightful restaurant with delicious and perfectly executed dishes. The maitre 'd was friendly as well as the charming pretty server. Yes the terrine was served without plates, but upon request a wood plank was supplied. I do not think it is out of avarice,but concern that clients might over indulge, leaving little room for the remaining courses.
                Menu 32 euros.
                My entree of slightly warmed coquilles St Jacques with a simple garnish of mini croutons, lardons, parmesan shavings and butter was the epitome of freshness . The racasse was perfectly moist and succulent served with confit of poivrons a la Basque and garnished with sausage. The Grand Marnier souffle was also perfectly cooked, baveuse, and very generous. A white Irouleguy provided a lovely rusticity and minerality.
                The service was efficent, full of smiles, laughter and all in all an ambiance of "bon enfant" Perhaps they reflected my own friendly smiles and expectations that I accorded them.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Cheriekiss

                  Your last sentence perhaps hits the nail on the head. When one walks into a restaurant and treats the staff the same way they expect to be treated, I generally find that's what happens.

                  When one walks into a restaurant with a chip on their shoulder, you gets what you pays for.

                  1. re: mitchleeny

                    "When one walks into a restaurant with a chip on their shoulder, you gets what you pays for." - of course this can be true, but equally there really are restaurants with bad service which I am afraid won't get better no matter how great your attitude is.

                    My experience of Le Regalade is that it can be one of those, on my last visit it was packed and turning tables without sufficient staff. By the end of the meal I wasn't happy nor were most of the tables around me (who were mostly locals).

                    Initially LRSH sounded like they had fixed the problem but there are now enough posts to suggest it may be slipping. If it was only one poster fair enough, but enough people seem to be experiencing problems to indicate there is something amiss. If it was only one poster you could attribute it to a bad attitude but when a number post it is clearly more than that.

                2. Good value for the area, but to tell the truth, a hour's wait between starter and main course is inexcusable. And the starter of scallops was stone cold. We left without dessert.