HOME > Chowhound > France >


Le Cinq Revisited

l have been fortunate to have eaten at Le Cinq, always for lunch, 6 times over the last few years. It was revisited today, yes it has been talked about many times on this board but this meal required another mention. Two of us following the Giacometti exhibit at Place Madelaine, went to Le Cinq today. we were greeted warmly and put at a roomy table behind the amazing flowers that populate the hotel. Our amuse consisted of a salmon fume with parsley and a ravioli with girolles. Next came two bread services, a soft bread served with olive oil, ok and three breads with both doux and algues Bordier butters. l felt the mini baguette was super. Our second course was a creme of cauliflower soup with large chunks of octopus. It got a high five from the two of us. Next was a large roasted hunk of foie gras with fig and pear in vinegar for him and razor clams with butter and baby spinach for me. There are many reasons this restaurant is so good, the food, the service designed to make you happy, regardless of what that entails, the superior and fairly priced wine list, but mainly their joy in serving and smiling. Course number four was another soup of mushrooms, dense and flavorful with tiny pockets of mushrooms as well. When we saw on the menu for the bargain lunch the choices of salmon and beef ( stew ) l asked if a small portion of the a la carte lamb shoulder l had in the Spring was available. The negotiation was successful and we were served the shoulder in two courses with a small soup of vegetables as a side for the first and a compote of ginger, quince, and pear for the second. After they saw us raving about the cauliflower soup, course seven was another portion of the soup and it was equally wonderful. Course number eight was the cheese course which was comped, do not know why, but thank them regardless. From Quatrehomme, had a great Comte plus Beaufort, Salers, St Nectaire, and a St Maure. Course nine was a pre-dessert of yogurt ice cream with cucumber and olive tapenade, surprisingly it worked very well. My guest had dessert for course number ten of a sponge baba with strawberries many ways, lite and yummy. Course eleven were the mignardaises of which we ate too many including a chocolate bark with burnt nuts that was so good and a house made nougat moist and nutty. We drank carafe d'eau and two different bottles of Ravaneau Chablis one premier grand cru and one grand cru. My friend had not been there before and was dazzled at how good it was and how accommodating the staff were to us. Total bill with a 5% tip was 420 euros for the two of us and very well worth it. Again for me this place cannot do wrong, sometimes over the top as today, sometimes just wonderful, it is a must on every trip to Paris.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What do you mean 5% tip ? Haven't you read the threads ?!...

    Just kidding, great review, thanks for sharing it !

    1. Hahaha, Rio Yeti, yup, behind their smiles, the Le Cinq waiters are choking with humiliation about that tip.
      Just kidding.
      DCM, your report is the definition of porn. Gives us so much pleasure reading it instead of being there.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Parigi

        Thanks for the report DCM. My reservations for Le Cinq are in less than 3 weeks. After reading your report I wish it were tomorrow

        1. re: tatuaje68

          This review makes it hard to choose a different place for our Michelin splurge. I always want to go back to Le Cinq (and have twice returned!) It continues to seem to me that the lunch at Le Cinq is the best over all value of all the top level places for the whole package. Thanks so much for sharing DCM!

      2. Thanks for the report...

        but a small note, please, split your test into smaller paragraphs!!!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Maximilien

          My eating is better than my review construction, will do in the future.

          1. Wow - your reviews are getting good. Now we just have to get you a camera - or you could bring me along to photodocument and write even more long-windedly.


            2 Replies
            1. re: uhockey

              You are always welcome, and that is the only way anyone will get a picture.

              1. re: uhockey

                We don't "have to". DCM always values the experiencing over the visual freezing. I think that 's great. After all, in photography, good food looks good, bad food looks good too. Photos are more a self-reminder and do not serve much informative purpose for others.

              2. Great review and one that is making me quite hungry. Sounds like an absolute bargain given you had a 1er and Grand Cru Raveneau as well.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jeremyholmes

                  Valmur 2004/ 140 euros; Butteaux 2005/ 90 euros.

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      It just makes me happy to read about dining at Le Cinq. It was our most memorable experiences. One of those moments you know you'll always remember.

                2. Hooray! I will be there for dinner in 4 weeks, in no small part thanks to the help I received on this board. Can't wait!

                  By the way, is there a dress code?
                  Even if not, what would you recommend to feel properly dressed?
                  jacket and tie?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: pauliface

                    Jacket is obligatory and for dinner tie is also appropriate.

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      I assume the same is true for Pierre Gagnaire?

                      1. re: pauliface

                        Gagnaire is casual. A collared shirt and trousers will more than suffice.

                  2. wonderful review. i have a lunch reservation in a few weeks. is lunch as expensive??
                    is it a la carte or price fixe? dress for lunch?
                    THANK YOU for your help!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ldjsue

                      Had you read my above posts, most of your questions would have been answered. The lunch above was their special at 85 euros, plus beverages. We had two lovely bottles of wine which brought the total up to the number stated. They also offer two other prix fixe menus as well as a la carte. Jacket for men is required.They will supply a beautiful jacket if you do not have one.

                    2. Unlike DCM this was only our second visit and it as been a good few years. Maybe the gap was too long and it has grown in stature in our memory so the return visit was always going to disappoint. A bit like meeting up again with the college sweetheart and realizing that twenty years later things can't be the same, and should have been left as wonderful memories.

                      First, I though the service was OK, not bad but also not as smooth and professional as I had expected. Champagne was offered but I preferred wine and it took an age to get the list - did I ruin the sequence. The amuse came before we could order a drink which seemed odd. It was quite a nice crab on cucumber with a bit of cayenne pepper, after we had ordered they then bought it again. Then the bread service which was OK, and whilst the butter is fine, but I feel house-made seaweed butter is better - fresher, more intense, than the bought in Bordier.

                      The next amuse is three small dishes, a burrata ravioli, some salmon in soy sauce which had a miran quality, and a pumpkin soup with green tea foam that was very good. First main from the ALC was some good foie gras with a grapefruit jelly and a candied date, it was very fine, although a large portion. From the set menu my partner had a tartare of veal which was very good. Main from the ALC was ris de veau which was interesting as it was surrounded by a thin ring of what can be best described as wasabi gel. A very interesting contrast, and a great dish if it were half the size. From the menu the main was Rouget with wild mushrooms which was good. The cheese selection is good, but at €27 on the ALC it should be.

                      Desserts are OK but we both found them too sweet, I had the Pistachio Soufflé which again was enormous and from the menu a fondant chocolate with peanut ice cream and bourbon sauce which was very rich. The petit fours trolley is indeed grand but by this age it was a struggle to do it justice. The wine list has some good value and we enjoyed a good Cote du Rhone and fine Mercurey, lunch lasted a good four hours and so I suppose €475 isn't bad.

                      Would we return? Probably not. The service is OK but it wasn't humming, with glasses not filled promptly and generally a feeling of the team going through the motions. However, the most disappointing part was the food; it is solidly classic with some minor twists. The portions are quite large and whist interesting to start they lose interest as you plough your way through them. If all the dishes have been halved and we had turned it into a seven course degustation meal then it would have worked well. So we have grown apart, we have moved on, seduced by the multi course tasting menus with small portions and more variety.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: PhilD

                        The seaweed butter at The Sportsman is leagues better than Bordier, for me.

                        1. re: Nancy S.

                          I agree, it tastes fresher and has a fuller flavor. It must be said that you always get it in a much fresher state than any Bordier butter you can buy, unless you get it right from the Saint-Malo crèmerie.
                          I am not a big fan of Bordier butter anyway. There's tons of excellent farm butters all over Normandy and Brittany, and Bordier's is only one of them.

                          1. re: Ptipois

                            It seems the algues is not as 'in your face' as it used to be. Bought one recently at Salon des Saveurs a few weeks ago and even from the Bordier booth seemed tired.

                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              The Bordier demi-sel from the salon was excellent. I too went to Le Cinq for lunch the next week. Tried the seaweed butter there and it was a bit too intense for my taste and even seemed a bit off for want of a better term.

                              The service was spot on but the food was just good and not much better. The place where the food really shined was at the newly opened Verjus.

                              Plan to be a little more detailed in notes to come.

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                Actually, part of the reason I like The Sportsman's butter better is that it is not as strong. Bordier's seems, to me, to be made with a more intense, perhaps drier, seaweed, similar to nori in taste, whereas The Sportsman's product is reminiscent of the sea without tasting overwhelmingly pungent (especially with delicate house-made bread). Not surprisingly, even with the demi-sel (which is my favorite flavoring), I think there's a marked difference between what's available at, say, La Grande Epicerie or Da Rosa and a starred establishment that is offering "the same".

                            2. re: Nancy S.

                              Nancy - that's funny I was thinking of The Sportsman as I wrote about the butter.

                            3. re: PhilD

                              The photos of the meal...

                              1. re: PhilD

                                I just celebrated my 1st year wedding anniversary at Le Cinq yesterday, chosen because of the solid reviews here and because it was one of the few haute cuisine places open on Sunday. We picked the 85E set lunch which sounds very similar to the menu portion of PhilD's meal. We had the same amuse bouches, and our favorite was the pumpkin soup with green tea foam too. For entrees, I had a nice oyster and asparagus vol-au-vent, and my husband a very rich and super yummy tartine of foie gras and pork cartilage terrine (ears and foot according to the menu). For plats, my rouget was well cooked though the sauce and accompaniments were a little weak, and he had a piece of biche, nice and rosy with a powdery texture. Cheeses were excellent and we had seconds of the comté, and when desserts came, they were adorned with candles and the server then took a picture of us which was then printed and delivered to our table with the check. The bonbon tray was breathtaking though we were so stuffed by the end we hardly ate. The chocolate bark though was excellent, so was the nougat.
                                So in essence, we had a really good time with impeccable service (bread, wine, water promptly refilled; energized and involved service), beautiful surroundings and very good, though not spectacular food which we expected going into the value meal. I am persuaded now to return and see what the kitchen can do on the ALC.
                                More pictures here: http://lafemmemange.wordpress.com/201...

                            4. Can anyone comment on what most women wear for lunch? I've dined at Michelin 2 stars in the past but I'm second guessing myself this time. I'll wear a dress of course, but...black? Color? Were women in heels and jewelry, or is that too much for lunch?

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: christy319

                                "dress of course, but...black? Color? Were women in heels and jewelry"

                                Yes to all.

                                "or is that too much for lunch?"

                                Well, don't Madonna it up. :-)

                                1. re: christy319

                                  I was just there two days ago and for lunch, most of the women I saw were wearing nice (but not formal) dresses or dressy slacks with nice blouses/jackets. I had on heels (and some jewelry), but I would never wear flats with a dress. I didn't see anyone hugely decked out in formal wear or tons of jewelry, but if you wanted to you could certainly get away with it.

                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                    Thanks to you both. There's no danger in me going overboard on jewelry and such (quite the opposite), but I did want to know the norm. I also don't really want to bring heels, as this is the only place (most of our trip is in Provence this time) that I'd wear them. But, I have a phobia of being underdressed, so I'll find room in the suitcase if I have to.

                                    1. re: christy319

                                      I do wear flats with dresses, in fact all the time, Repetto pumps.

                                      1. re: christy319

                                        I wouldn't worry about the heels if you don't need them for another purpose. My mother had on dressy slacks with flats and she fit right in.

                                      2. re: biondanonima

                                        I was there for lunch in December and wore flats with a black skirt and nice top, but then I walked around for a while afterwards. As biondanonima mentioned, most ladies wore nice day dresses or dressy slacks.

                                        1. re: PekoePeony

                                          You three just made my day. I do wear flats with dresses typically but was worried that they wouldn't be nice enough for this lunch. But now I know it will be fine. Thank you!

                                    2. l went today again and it kicked butt again, just perfect.