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Paris Itinerary: Please Critique! Need to find an alternative to Taillevent

  • j

We are heading to Paris soon. Have not been since honeymoon 10 years ago! Needless to say we are excited but are having some indecision regarding restaurants. We are staying in the St. Germain area for sentimental reasons. So far we are booked at the following:

Lunch: JOSEPHINE DUMONET
Dinner: LA MARLOTTE

Lunch: ATELIER JOEL ROBUCHON
Dinner: TAILLEVENT

Lunch: ARPEGE
Dinner: TAILLEVENT

I'm not planning on going to Taillevent twice! But couldn't decide if that was a good idea after lunch at Joel Robuchon or after Arpege? Either case, I need a substitution for a dinner. Or flip things around. Most of these places are fancy and I was trying to find another bistro, or something in the midrange pricing. I might even take out two of the fancier restaurants in favor of two mid price restaurants. Any suggestions? Also looking for a good Foie Gras place!

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  1. I forgot to add that I was thinking about subbing in Chez L'Ami Jean for one of the meals. I think I remembered an post about the foie gras

    1. Personally I find Robuchon kinda joyless and un-French... I almost sense that the formula for both his Ateliers was perfected in Las Vegas rather than Paris. But the food is never too abundant and so a full dinner at Taillevent after a Robuchon lunch will stretch the wallet but less so the tummy. Cheaper and less reverential, les 110 du Taillevent might also be an option.

      The Joséphine-Chez Dumonet and La Marlotte day is more problematic. Personally I'm not ready to eat again for a week or so after a meal at Joséphine. I suppose you could use self-control and limit your lunch to just a "plat" and dessert but restraint at Joséphine, a place for gourmands (which also means "glutton" in French), seems rather masochistic and contrary. I don't think that the cooking at la Marlotte is sufficiently light and modern to make eating dinner there anything other than a chore after a Joséphine lunch.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Parnassien

        Thanks for the insight. Is La Marlotte worthy enough to be moved to another day? Or should I scratch it altogether? Is there a lighter place you can suggest?

        I'm thinking of scratching off Robuchon - we have been to the one in Vegas. If it is similar than perhaps it is not worth it. 10 years ago we were at Guy Savoy. We can go back for anniversary or try something new.

        I'm thinking about adding Fish into the mix too. I think I have too many high end places. Need to balance my meals and budget better!

        1. re: jayk

          Yes, you do have too many high end places. Fish is a good idea.

        2. re: Parnassien

          I don't understand this new thing about La Marlotte, I've seen it mentioned a few times here. To me, zero times would suit the place perfectly. Has the food become any good lately?

          Robuchon and joy are mutually exclusive terms. La robuche was never about joie de vivre. At least the good old non-ducassian haute cuisine sanctuaries (Le Cinq, La Grande Cascade, Taillevent, Lasserre) still retain a bit of that old French mirth that is associated with luxury dining. I think why go to haute places if it makes you feel like sobbing in your napkin?

          1. re: Ptipois

            La Marlotte, I got off the boards here. It was close to my hotel. And looked casual. I will strike it off the list! Robuchon will go as well. Joyless eating is not my style.

        3. It would be helpful to understand how you arrived at these selections.

          Foie gras is a natural at Josephine or L'Ami Jean, so that's taken care of. You are scratching one Taillevent and probably AJR. Might you split Arpege and Taillevent and add two mid-range places (both in food quantity and price) to balance them?

          Again, getting our arms around your original choices would be quite helpful in rounding out your itinerary.

          8 Replies
          1. re: mangeur

            Hi. Sorry...I was getting ahead of myself there. So I started off my research looking at the not to miss restaurants in Paris, then I tried to pick a couple that was close (or easy to get to) St. Germain. Finally, I started looking at the menus and realized I might be over doing it on price and food. So now I'm thinking about re-jiggering it. I like to eat one heavy meal and one light meal a day. Not two heavy meals and definitely not two fancy meals a day.

            I like your idea of splitting Arpege and Tailevent and add two mid range places. I would like to go to L'Ami Jean but am ambivalent about La Marlotte (was on list because it is very close to my hotel) and looks very casual...

            Lunch: JOSEPHINE DUMONET
            Dinner: TBD

            Lunch: TBD
            Dinner: TAILLEVENT

            Lunch: ARPEGE
            Dinner: TBD

            1. re: jayk

              Imo, your itinerary is already very ambitious with just the 3 meals listed. I can't imagine wanting dinner after lunch Chez Josephine. I would recommend leaving an open slot, and if you really are hungry that evening, head over to Le Pot O'Lait for some crepes.

              As well, in prep for your dinner at Taillevent, you might in the long run be happier with some charcuterie at a wine bar. Frenchie's wine bar is very popular these days with chowhounds. ;)

              1. re: ChefJune

                Yes and impossible to get a reservation! Do you mean to walk in at lunch time and only at bar?

                1. re: jayk

                  The wine bar is a separate entity from "big Frenchie's."

                  1. re: jayk

                    Frenchie's and Frenchie's Wine Bar are two separate properties. Yes, walk in at the Bar.

                    http://www.frenchie-restaurant.com/en...

                    1. re: mangeur

                      Now there is a sandwich and snack shop too, right next door, Frenchie To Go. Looks yummy, they even make their own hot dog sausages. That might make me step closer to the Frenchie empire which usually leaves me cold.

                  2. re: ChefJune

                    I happen to be one those sneering types who doesn't think that Frenchie or Frenchie bar à vins is worth crossing town for. There are lots of other places that are as good or better and more convenient. And once you get there, Sentier (although quickly improving) is not exactly the most exciting quartier in Paris. I would instead recommend the Mary Celeste wine/ cocktail bar with nosh on the rue des Commines in the Haut Marais. At least you get a neighbourhood sparkling with life along with your nibbles. And if you take the #96 bus from St Germain des Prés, it's not only almost door-to-door but also some fab sights on the way.

              2. My feeling is that La Marlotte doesn't belong in this group. Three places I have recently enjoyed were, Les Premices, Le Hide and Goust. Below is a photo of the sautéed foie gras at Le Hide.

                 
                1. Are those 3 days back to back? Yikes - I couldn't sustain that pace.

                  Here's a link to a lunch we enjoyed very much at Taillevent - lunch was very good value at 85E. But I wouldn't want to follow it up with a large dinner.

                  http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/pa...

                  1. For what it's worth - my review of Marlotte was titled "La Marlotte IS dead" in response to Emmanuel Rubin's claim that after years on life support it was not dead.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: John Talbott

                      I am reading thru your blog but didn't come across it yet because it was in 2008! Totally scratched out La Marlotte. Am very hungry all day from reading your blog. Unfortunately am stuck eating takeout pizza tonight after a tball game.

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        You do not work for a newspaper/magazine so your approach is radically different. News restaurant critics have to deliver. And they have to find something to write about even if they have nothing. The fact that they have mostly lost all mojo makes it even harder for them to come up with substance. That is, 90 times out of 100, the impression that comes out of their reviews, as I've experienced many times. Their reviews are mostly filler so they are not a good starting point for the identification of places worth going for.

                        1. re: Ptipois

                          Well its not toaly true bthat I "do not work for a newspaper/magazine;" just not a food one.
                          Regarding the fact that "they have to find something to write about even if they have nothing." I recall someone, maybe Olivier Morteau saying that when a critique consists of words about the decor, welcome & nappery, beware the food.

                          1. re: John Talbott

                            Or when the journalist writes a lettrist poem, or an ode to himself... Frankly when I read their prose, I never find anything there that allows me to draw conclusions regarding the food and that is the tragedy of it. It may even be good and they won't notice or it might even be terrible and they'll pretend not to. Not to mention the ones who will only write about places where they are comped from head to toe and the review is invariably positive. I've been misled more than once in my searches because of that.

                            1. re: Ptipois

                              "I never find anything there that allows me to draw conclusions....."
                              Much as I love Bernard Pivot's "dictées", not that I can do them, a restaurant review is not where one should find them.

                              1. re: John Talbott

                                Should I rewrite my previous post in French?