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taillevent or le grand vefour

l
loml95 Sep 24, 2013 07:51 PM

will be going to Paris 11/2-11/7
we picked guy savoy for our one spectacular dinner.
(thank you john talbott!)
reserved for lunch at taillevent but someone is trying to convince me that le grand vefour is the better choice.
opinions?
thanks in advance...

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  1. John Talbott RE: loml95 Sep 25, 2013 12:44 AM

    Really, well you're welcome but my last meals at your other two are too far back to be relevant (110 Taillevent is a recent as I get). But I can't resist saying that I think the decor/setting/location at/of the Grand Vefour gives it a leg up although the wine list at Taillevent is back-breakingly impressive.

    1. d
      divesafe RE: loml95 Sep 25, 2013 03:02 AM

      I was just at both last week. Le Grand Vefour for lunch, and Taillevent for dinner.

      LGV is a much more "authentic" classic French experience. The setting is quite incredible (it's been there for a few hundred years), and the food was really quite good.

      Taillevent was good, but not great. It's a much more modern setting (which isn't bad in itself). I didn't love my duck entree, but the chocolate soufle was pretty amazing.

      Let me throw in one more option you should certainly consider- L'Epicure in the Bristol Hotel. The room is stunning, the service damn near perfect, and the food was good.

      All 3 are priced pretty close to each other. They are all absurdly expensive for what you are getting (in my opinion).

      Wherever you go, enjoy!

      1. Delucacheesemonger RE: loml95 Sep 25, 2013 03:16 AM

        While the dear Dr Talbott is being quite careful about your two choices and LGV is indeed a wonderful room, just gorgeous, were l to make your choice, l would hit Le Cinq for that intended lunch.
        See chowhound.chow.com/topics/917374 for my recent visit there.

        1. PBSF RE: loml95 Sep 25, 2013 08:31 AM

          We've been to LGV for their prix-lunch numerous times; we love the room, the setting on the Palais Royal and the service but we've found the food to be uneven. While a lunch couple years ago was very good, the food for our lunch this April was mediocre. Our entrees: foie gras with watermelon was fine but the pressed sea bass was too cold and tasteless (the accompanied pickled vegetables were excellent); the main plates: the monkfish had a mushy texture and the cod with asparagus had absolutely no salt. The cheese course and desserts were the high point of the lunch. No longer a cart but large selection of cheeses on trays in excellent condition including a soft runny goat, a pungent Muenster, a 36 month Comte and two beautiful blues, Fourme d.Ambert and Roquefort. The desserts, strawberries with rhubarb and variations on pineapple were light and refreshing.
          We have never been to Taillevent for their prix-fixed lunch, therefore, can't compare.

          1. ChefJune RE: loml95 Sep 25, 2013 08:53 AM

            It's been quite a while since I enjoyed the prix fixe lunch at Taillevent, but only great memories remain of the delicious food, the solicitous service and all the sweet little extras they tacked onto our meal. I've never been to LGV, but nothing in the 20+ years I've been traveling in France has enticed me enough to book it.

            OTOH, I would echo DCM that Le Cinq would be my choice for that special lunch you're proposing.

            1. Parnassien RE: loml95 Sep 25, 2013 12:19 PM

              As good as it is, you can find restaurants like Le Taillevent in Las Vegas, Singapore, Tokyo, etc. Le Grand Véfour is more uniquely parisien.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Parnassien
                PhilD RE: Parnassien Sep 25, 2013 01:12 PM

                I totally disagree. Taillevent has a very Parisian quality, nod not the kitsch "storybook" quality some Assoiciates with the city, but a wonderful style that is uniquely (modern) Paris. Living in Asia I have been to many of the top French tables across various cities and, whilst good, don't compare.

                My visit to Taillivent was over 6 years ago so too long ago to comment, but back then it was perfect and still rates as one of our top meals. LGV certainly looks the part but it's food reputation always put me off.

                As to Le Cinq, loved it in the past, but thought it's food had lost its edge on my last visit - although the service and room are archytypical "palace" restaurant. For many it's the safe option - however I do wish we had a deeper and broader understanding of the 2/3 stars on the board as there are many options but few are discussed.

                1. re: PhilD
                  Parnassien RE: PhilD Sep 25, 2013 03:04 PM

                  Sorry, Phil... I can't quite grasp the Frenchness of Le Taillevent. Admittedly, I'm not a fan of most starry restaurants. The style of very précieuse, very pretty and ultra-chère cuisine and impeccable service may have begun in Paris but it has morphed into a very international and imitative genre. As a Parisien, I no longer feel "at home" in such restaurants... literally, since I'm usually a very small island in a sea of foreign plutocrats... most importantly, the air of gastronomique reverence often suffocates the joie de vivre that you find in more authentically parisien eateries (both trad and modern).

                  I do travel a lot for business. Great hotels but all strangely similar.... sometimes I wake up in the morning and wonder if I'm in New York, London, Dubai, etc. And the same with most very starry Paris restaurants... 'tain, mais j'suis où ?

                  1. re: Parnassien
                    PhilD RE: Parnassien Sep 25, 2013 03:37 PM

                    It's is subtle but to us quite real. I agree it's not overtly French but there some really intrinsically French about restaurants in France that is not easily replicated outside of the country (the same is true about much indigenous cuisine from Tapas to Burgers, and Wurst to Fish and Chips)

                    We often try to replicate a the French experience at top restaurant here - Vincent Thierry and many the old team from Le Cinq at Caprice in HK is a good example, it's close but it misses something (talking about Caprice - a new chef has been announced Fabrice Vulin from the Chateaux Chèvre d'Or in Eze - any insights?).

                    That said I agree about the "at home" feeling and experienced that sense at Guy Savoy, a great meal, and our first time visiting friends thought it very Parisian. But we felt it was slightly too international. I I yearned for something with more of the city about it.....all I think all the "suits" where French.

                    Maybe we were lucky but at Taillevent we had a very humorous meal that was far from reverential - in fact thinking about that we seem to be able to dispel the reverence anywhere (OK we did fail at Alinea)......!

                    1. re: Parnassien
                      p
                      Ptipois RE: Parnassien Sep 25, 2013 03:42 PM

                      I agree that once you dine at three-star level, it doesn't really matter whether you are in France or elsewhere anymore. That sort of dining has become international, with no sense of place left whatsoever. A famous French truffle vendor who travels and eats out a lot recently told me that the best three-star French meal he'd had in years was at Le Bernardin, NYC.

                      I think that originality and audacity, as well as a true feeling of being "somewhere", are now to be found at lower levels of restauration.

                      1. re: Ptipois
                        PhilD RE: Ptipois Sep 25, 2013 04:32 PM

                        Not certain I agree based on recent experience i.e. Guy Savoy contrasted to Azurmendi. However, if you simply select on stars rather than understanding the restaurants style then there is a danger of experiencing such homogeneity.

                        Let's not start on the cookie cutter approach to French Brasseries that has spread like a rash around the world. Lots look the same but few evoke the genuine slightly care worn style of the real thing.

                        1. re: PhilD
                          Delucacheesemonger RE: PhilD Sep 26, 2013 12:08 AM

                          Agree completely with you, but Balthazar in NYC is better in many regards than the originals over here.

                          1. re: PhilD
                            p
                            Ptipois RE: PhilD Sep 26, 2013 01:28 AM

                            Oh, Guy Savoy, of course.
                            I am referring to the general situation (and if I ever selected restaurants on stars, that would be a known fact. Besides I would never write posts like the one you're replying to.)

                            In a French 3-star, there is generally very little or nothing that you couldn't eat exactly in the same form and in the same settings in NYC or Tokyo. Terroir ceases to be noticeable, say, at the 2-star level for some restaurants. At 3, there's nothing left.

                            Azurmendi is 1. Basque, 2. in Spain, so it is not relevant to the matter.

                          2. re: Ptipois
                            Laidback RE: Ptipois Sep 26, 2013 01:40 AM

                            "I think that originality and audacity, as well as a true feeling of being "somewhere", are now to be found at lower levels of restauration."

                            To me Gagnaire was original and audacious the one time I ate there but I'm not sure where the " somewhere" was.

                            1. re: Laidback
                              p
                              Ptipois RE: Laidback Sep 26, 2013 01:43 AM

                              That is exactly what I mean.

                              As for originality and audacity, they can be of two sorts:

                              - Technical fireworks that are related to the semi-god status of the star chef inherited from the Nouvelle Cuisine era (that's the way paved by Gagnaire),

                              - Or dazzling your customers with creative, excellent combination and preparation of the best and freshest products (that's the way paved by Inaki and bistronomie).

                              After that, it's all a matter of which one you prefer; I prefer the second and I do believe that the true force that sustains and nourishes culinary creativity nowadays no longer runs in the haute 3-star level but definitely below, in the 1/2 star or, better, no-star realm. Bistronomie changed the rules of the game some ten years ago, slowly but surely, and now the results are appearing clearly.

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