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Jul 17, 2013 04:19 AM

4 hours enough time for l'Arpège Lunch?

We have a reservation for lunch at l'Arpège, and need to go to Gare du Nord afterwards to catch a train. I began to read on blogs about dining at l'Arpège, and some people wrote it took 5 or 6 hours for lunch! We had planned to spend about 3.5 - 4 hours for lunch. Will it be too rushed? Should I cancel my reservation? Does lunch at 3-star restaurants all take that long?

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  1. The last lunch I was there I was out by 3:30 PM.
    Certainly if you have, as I did, a Minister at an adjacent table meeting with a vendor, two Scotches, much wine and a digestif, it might be longer but I certainly wouldn't cancel it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: John Talbott

      If you're downstairs in the vaulted cellar with the chef and his pals, I think you never come out again.

    2. As l was not blessed to be with chef and pals, was out too fast and regretfully will not return, never got a protein, they forgot to get my wine, and sat for 30 minutes without acknowledgment from staff when entering.
      Meal took 2.5 hours.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        Interesting you all should mention this; Passard sends more time schmoozing than cooking, at least when I've been.

        1. re: John Talbott

          Oh, he schmoozed and took pictures with us, but we never got protein, second wine, or adequate service.

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            did you ask him for your protein and wine and mention the service to him whilst you were having photos taken with him?

            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              Never getting protein is perfectly normal, the average L'Arpège experience. You have to order à la carte to get some.

              Or you may also get the special Arpège sadomasochistic treatment: in the midst of your vegetable-based tasting menu, the chef sends some roasted meat (chicken in hay, leg of venison, etc.) into the dining-room and the waiter innocently asks you if you would like to taste. You want to say yes but your voice gets stuck in your throat from anxiety and protein-deprivation. Only your battered dog's eyes convey the message. But of course they know the answer and you get a sliver, just a tiny sliver, enough to cover a toothpick. They love to do that. Happened to me twice.

              1. re: Ptipois

                Let them roast in hell. Talent doesn't excuse everything.

                1. re: souphie

                  4 hours is plenty of time.

                  When I recall my husband's and my lunches at l'Arpège (six of them since 2010), every lunch featured protein: turkey, chicken, pigeon, lamb, salmon, lobster, monkfish (the latter almost every time).... Perhaps protein has featured more in recent years than it did when Delucacheesemonger ate lunch there. As Ptipois says, the protein portions in the lunch menu are often very small, and I don't think we've ever received more than 3 protein courses (not counting the egg dishes). Certainly, you feel jealous when somebody orders, say, the lobster à la carte and you glimpse it going past in all its more substantial glory.

                  Passard does schmooze a lot but I doubt this impacts the cooking! The kitchen can operate very well without him -- our very best lunch at l'Arpège was on Bastille Day a couple of years ago when he was most definitely absent. The person really in control of your lunch is the maîtresse d'hôtel, Hélène Cousin the last time we went. (I actually preferred Nadia Socheleau, who seemed to have taken over for a spell but then moved to the Jardin des Plumes in Giverny -- a restaurant worth trying perhaps?)

                  Our last lunch at l'Arpège was disappointing. Next time we go there we'll probably order à la carte -- do you know if the à la carte at l'Arpège is cheaper at lunch than at dinner souphie?

                  1. re: johannabanana

                    It is not. Unless, that is, you're a friend of the house.

                    1. re: souphie

                      Thanks for the info souphie. Maybe we'll give Ledoyen's lunch menu a go in that case.

        2. I m thinking of going as a single dinner for the lunch menu at 130euros. Will it be akward to eat there alone? I mean will they let me eat alone for 3-4 hours? Never had a meal as single dinner.

          Also do they offer wines by glass? Or is it ok if I dont take any wine at all?

          Excuse me for my many questions but I have one more. Do you think 1 and a half months before meal is ok to find a table available?