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.
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.
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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)
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.
"[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.