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Jan 5, 2011 05:59 AM

Honeymoon in paris: Where to eat a tasting menu with these diet restrictions?

My wife and/or Icant eat (or dont like): seafood, organ meat, foi gras, mushrooms, anything with cream based sauces or wine based sauces. We do eat steak, pork, veal, chicken, pasta, breads, most veges, mexican, asian, and italian (subject to the restrictions above). We enjoyed a 17 course meal at Robuchon in Las Vegas as they accomodated our requests when we called in advance (although still declined doubling up on the beef course as we requested and in 2 courses simply removed the sea food from the course and served the remainder).

What place would best accomodate us if we called a week or so in advance and would do a custom menu for us? Price doesnt matter as its our honeymoon and once in a lifetime trip. We were considering Savoy, Le Cinq or Taillevent, and the rest of what I see to be highly thought of here. Ive read the threads about making special requests but havent seen a place willing to esentially customize a tasing menu because of our allergies and limited pallette.Thank you

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  1. Your restrictions are easy, because they're not hidden. Things like gluten or dairy intolerance are tricky because restaurants don't understand them. But it's easy to know if there is what you mention in the food.

    Most top restaurants will be able to accomodate you no problem, but I would put forward Le Cinq and l'Arpège (see this forum for lots of descriptions of those two very different establishments).

    10 Replies
    1. re: souphie

      Thank you for your insight. We will report back when we return.

      1. re: souphie

        Soup, but how many will change the lower cost set menus (approx €85 for a menu) for such broad food dislikes? I understand they will be happy to change ALC dishes (approx €90 per dish) or help a guest navigate the ALC but such a broad list of dislikes would test a kitchen to stay within the set menu parameters.

        1. re: PhilD

          I don't know how many would, but I'm confident it would be quite a few. All the more since, all the OP doesn't eat is expensive ingredients. I'm sure l'Arpège and Le Cinq would be no problem. I would just beware of the places that are more luxury assembly lines than real restaurants, eg Lasserre, Pré Catelan... Those often don't have the flexibilty you'd expect.

          As usual, the best thing is to do is to just call them and ask.

          1. re: souphie

            But with the extensive dietary constraints, would not the OP end up getting a dégustation menu so restricted that it is no longer a dégustation menu ? Which begs the question: why order a dégustation menu in that case?

              1. re: Parigi

                Agreed -- why not go a la carte if the list of "can't eat or don't like" is so long?

                1. re: ette

                  Because what we do eat is equally long. Beef, lamb, duck, chicken, veal, sausage, pork, risotto, pasta, and flatbreds make a long list of foundations upon which you can build a varied tasting menu. In Dallas Ive head "tasting menus" of just beef! There is a terrific french place her Called Bijoux thats has a 5 course tasting menu but where you have 4 or 5 choices for each course and can repeat courses (ie get 3 appetizers and 2 desserts, or 5 entrees). Something as simple as that works too.

                  1. re: ssh

                    In many cases, debating what a restaurant will do or will not do is pointless. And so is trying to looking for places similar to Dallas in Paris. For restaurants that interest you such as Savoy, Le Cinq or Taillevent, just call them and make your request. You can be very specific at that time.

                    1. re: ssh

                      You need to be careful how you use terms. A "degustation menu" or "tasting menu" usually doesn't give you a choice as it is a highly structured multi-course menu that shows off the talent in the kitchen. Certainly they may be able to work around a few changes but if these are numerous then it takes away the point of the structured menu, similarily "building your own" won't achieve the same effect.

                      The "5 course tasting menu" you describe is generally just a standard menu in most French restaurants. Often there will be 3, 4 or 5 course options at different price points, with a number of choices in each course. And of course you can often have two starters instead of a starter and a main. However, as these are often set price menus (not usually priced by the course) you probably can't choose five expensive mains!

                      You may not think your list of exclusions is long but they are core ingredients in a lot of high quality restaurants - wine, cream, seafood, offal, and the broad range of mushrooms like cepes, girolles ect are very much the norm.

                2. re: souphie

                  "Luxury assembly lines"; there is some truth to that. We find that the fine restaurants located in the Luxe hotels, like Le Cinq, are the most flexible and eager to please.