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Apr 17, 2012 11:04 AM

question about modern French restaurants

How similar (or dissimilar) are Spring, Agape Substance, and Le Chateaubriand? I am constrained to visiting just two, so any thoughts on which are similar in terms of style would be appreciated to help me decide which two places to go to.

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  1. I have not yet tried Spring or Le Chateaubriand.

    Agapé Substance is somewhat very modern and minimalist food, precise and precious (précieux) every dish is centered around a single product.

    see report :

    1. I have a problem putting Spring and Le Chateaubriand in the same sentence. The latter is hip and casual, the plates noted for unusual juxtapositions of flavor that either delight or horrify. Spring is a more grown up restaurant, sophisticated if you will, inventive dishes solidly grounded in classic technique. I've not experienced an unapproachable combination at Spring, while I have found some dishes quite hard to appreciate at LC. IMHO,,,

      7 Replies
      1. re: mangeur

        I agree with Mangeur, Spring is classic with modern twists as are most mainstream "classic" places. Le Chateaubriand is more cutting edge and experimental, thus more risky. Another point is Spring has been edging up in price whilst Chateaubriand aims to deliver to a set price point as part of its philosophy.

        I didn't try Agape but it is becoming hotter and hotter as a destination restaurant so I regret missing it at Christmas - I suggest having that as a must do. What about Saturne? It is again modern but shows Nordic rather than a Basque (Chateaubriand) or classic French (Spring) influences.

        1. re: mangeur

          I agree with this take.
          Modernity in cuisine is about being inventive. If inventiveness becomes similar, ti is not inventive.

          1. re: Parigi

            Is Frenchie, in this category, considered modern and inventive?

            1. re: mick

              Inventive, yes, without getting all toothpasty.

              1. re: Parigi

                "Inventive, yes, without getting all toothpasty."

                I love that!

                I haven't been to Spring or Le Chateaubriand but was disappointed with our meal at Agape Substance. Many of the flavors didn't work for me and it was all a bit too pretentious. I felt like "the emperors new clothes" when I walked out. It was practically a must do for me so perhaps I had built up too high/misplaced expectations as my opinion seems to be in the minority.

                1. re: PattyC

                  I've only been to Le Chateaubriand but I didn't find it at all toothpasty. I appreciated the relaxed, buzzy room. The food was serIous but I didn't feel the need to pray at the temple of gastronomy. It was a fun place for me, and I dined solo. I can imagine that the kitchen would turn out some misses as well as hits because of the flavor combos/ambitions, but it's not the kind of price point that would make me regret giving it a whirl.

                  Plus charming waiters, handsome and cordial chef.

                  Caveat: I've only been once and that was several years ago so perhaps it has changed. I was thinking of returning next month.

                2. re: Parigi

                  I must disagree. To me Frenchie is modern not inventive. It delivers classically based food with a strong French/Italian influence. It doesn't seek to push boundaries by juxtaposing flavours or experimenting with texture or useing cutting edge techniques with gels and other high technology.

                  Greg sprnt time in NYC at Gramacy Tavern and in London cooking with Jamie Oliver so he isn't really a Noma/el Bulli "inventive" disciple.