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Mar 20, 2011 10:17 AM

Gagnaire yet again

Finally not going for the thrifty lunch but the big time, what dishes are the must haves, whether ALC or prix fixe. l already know about the grand dessert.

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  1. The grand dessert makes no sense. It's like 36 bite sized stuff, you can't remember one, you never know which one you'll like. It's like those boxes of chocolate where you don't know what's what, only worse.

    The simple response to your question is: langoustine, duck, soufflé. And wait till you see how the wine list is priced.

    The truffle thing is pretty cool too but it's probably over by now.

    Here's the carte, for instance:

    17 Replies
    1. There usually are as many dishes as the (very large) table can hold for the appetizers.
      For example, this is the langoustine appetizer:
      In you look a bit further, you'll see that, by comparison, the main course looks way smaller (what only 4 plates for me???).

      I love the fact that, after all, Gagnaire runs a very traditional restaurant. One that sometimes serves some crazy, borderline inedible dishes, of course.

      1. re: olivierb

        Thanks for the Picasa link - suddenly even more excited than prior for many of the places listed.

        1. re: olivierb

          Thank you for sharing those photos olivierb. I know the question may seem odd, but it does seem that you get as many dishes (or plates) while ordering ALC as with the tasting menu... So the question is, what did you order ?
          Did you just order the langoustine and the grand desserts ? Did the cheeses come with the dessert or did you order cheeses as well, how about for appetizer ?

          I am just trying to understand if you just ordered more dishes or if you just got a regular entrée-plat-dessert Gagnaire-style.

          Thanks for your help.

          1. re: Rio Yeti

            I think you get to have more control with ALC than with the tasting menus.

            Even when ordering ALC, you will have pre-amuse bouche and amuse-bouche!!
            (at least that's what I got when ordering last fall)

            In any cases, it seems that it never really ends, one course (I think was the main), came in two serving!.

            See pictures :

            1. re: Maximilien

              I think this is the beauty of Gagnaire - you're not eating a course or a dish - you are falling into his stream of consciousness.

              I'm happy that they will allow one person to go ALC while the other does the tasting - provides a maximum of different experiences in the same visit. For me, at least this time, if I'm visiting the center of Gagnaire's universe I simply must submit to it and go with the degustation.

              Considering Gagnaire and L'Astrance are (and have been) neck and neck for my most anticipated restaurants in the world for over a year it will be a treat to experience them both on this trip.


              1. re: uhockey

                I have to admit I'm with you on that one... I do feel that when going to a high-end restaurant I want to just let go and trust the chef to do whatever he wishes with my palate... so I'm quite surprised that anyone would recommend to go ALC in any fine-dining establishment. However reading the board for a while now, I do trust Souphie's advises ...

                If you do get a chance to have the tasting menu while the person accompanying you goes ALC, please report back on your experience and what you felt the differences were !

                1. re: Rio Yeti

                  We likely will be doing just that - and I've heard second hand Souphie's reasoning - it makes sense.

                  I fully admit I tend to prefer esoteric and stylized food as long as it is good - I love the jarring manner in which Gagnaire tries to make things work. Admittedly I'd be a little miffed if half the meal was items that did not work, but I can afford a miss here or there when 40 plates are served. (this was not souphie's complaint, but the complaint of many re: Gagnaire)

                  I, as always, will report back in too much detail.


            2. re: Rio Yeti

              Whichever way one orders, one eventually loses count of the number of dishes or courses. There is a separate a la carte cheese menu. For the Menu Degustation, there is usually a course before the dessert that has cheese.

          2. re: souphie

            Weird. I wonder what CH rules are violated when asking why ALC is recommended over tasting menu? Anyone?

            1. re: Porthos

              None is. One would be if I told why.

              1. re: souphie

                Health issues immediately afterwards?

                1. re: Parigi

                  I have to admit, you're really raising everyone's curiosity Souphie... can you at least hint us on the CH rule you would be breaking, that way we can sort of understand what's going on without you actually breaking the rule...?

                  Don't mean to be pushy.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    Mentioning such a thing would really be against the rules. Shame on you.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Well, my request that Sophie send me a side e-mail regarding the recommendation was removed. Also,health issues would be against the restaurant not tasting vs ALC. Very odd indeed. As far as I can tell its a personal preference sort of thing.

                      1. re: Porthos

                        I am sure whoever removed your post would have the courtesy to give you explanations.

                        1. re: Parigi

                          You would think explaination yet...

              2. Admittedly I went to the US TWIST location, but PG was there that night so I feel safe commenting (that and the fact that I'm going with you so I figure it worthwhile to get into this thread) and agreeing with Souphie.

                I opted AGAINST the Grand Dessert having heard mixed things - I might try it this time around. Both desserts were superb. I'll additionally say that the Langoustines are every bit worth the signature status - just so eclectic but so well done. The duck as good and the venison was better. Ideally they'll let one of us do the tasting and one go ALC so we can cover more menu room.


                1. Like everyone else so far, go with the a la carte. What to order depends on what one like to eat. Because I love red wines, I go for anything bloody as the main plate so it is duck, lamb and pigeon. Gagnaire is terrific with lobsters and langoustine, so that is usually my entree or the St. Jacques. The turbot is always on the menu and excellent, so say my partner. One can't go wrong as his sourcing is impeccable, good as L'Ambroisie.
                  I do differ on the Grand Dessert which I never pass on. Rather than a one bit, it is more like 3 or 4 bites of 8 the current number. Enough so that one can taste the different flavors, textures and surprises. For example, layers of different chocolates with a liquor filled cherry on the bottom; warm mixed nuts and sheets of caramel, fraise du bois with yogurt and mascarpone ice cream, warm millefeuille with rhubarb. Have your dining partner order a hot souffle; the vanilla souffle is terrific and the accompaniments almost overshadow it.
                  By the way, jackets not require at Gagnaire.

                  1. You want to be in control or be controlled ? :-)

                    Since the menus are quite descriptive (even if they are cryptic), I'd wait to be seated and decide on the moment, maybe there will be a seasonal menu. (today, IFAIK, there is no seasonal menu posted on the PG's site).

                    1. Just what everyone says. In my opinion, desserts (well, soufflés) wine pairings are on par with Senderens.
                      It may not be everyone's taste, but I positively love the cheeses there. I would probably not recommend them for someone who hasn't experienced great cheese the usual and simple way, but as you're quite used to tasting some of the best France has to offer, I'd say you should give it a try.
                      Once again, the Crayeux with hibiscus sauce + beer pairing is fantastic, but I'm quite partial.

                      4 Replies
                        1. re: olivierb

                          Where might one pick up a Crayeux (de Roncq?) in Paris?

                          1. re: mangeur

                            I believe Quatrehomme on rue de Sevres.

                            1. re: chicagoparis

                              my bad- I was thinking of la tomme crayeuse- at Quatrehomme cow's milk and basically "mild"-when "perfect" it has an evolution of maturity with varying texture and bite that is an all-in-one cheese experience