Pierre Gagnaire Paris
I was browsing in Gagnaire's site and saw many different menus. There is no price for any of them.
There is the lunch menu(115 ) and Le menu esprit, both of them different but with the same amount of dishes etc.
Then there is the degustation(290), the game menu and the a la carte.
Also there is a christmas menu available for the whole december from monday to friday with interesting dishes, and the desserts PG , are now desserts de Noel.
Anyone tried the christmas menu in a previous year? or is this the first time there is a Christmas menu. I have seen Gordon Ramsay at RHR to have festiv menus, but no sample menu on his site.
Estimated price for this?
One last question since I m planning to visit the restaurant. Is it ok to ask for a photo with PG if he is in the restaurant?
The menu is a december special lunch (only) menu; probably the same price as the regular lunch menu.
It looks really good (foie gras, st-jacques, and poulet de bresse + christmas dessert)
There's also a december 31st special dinner. (probably in the same range as the regular tasting menu )
A couple of years ago, I was there for lunch and after Gagnaire walked around the room, I asked the waiter by gestures from afar if he could take a picture of us. He mistook my signaling (or perhaps not) and went to get the chef who was very gracious and sat with us for a picture.
Pierre Gagnaire has become a “celebrity” chef recently. His restaurants are all over the globe (from Paris to Tokyo, from Las Vegas to Moscow). Despite this, somehow he’s not as ‘famous’ as Joel Robuchon or Gordon Ramsay. However, when discussing among the world’s grand chefs, Pierre Gagnaire, nearly 65 years of age, is very likely to be the most admired and respected. Until now, he seems to still have the energy of chefs who are 20-30 years younger than him. When visiting his empire ‘collection’, Gagnaire prefers to be at the kitchen leading his team and quite often getting his hands dirty as well to create dishes that will please his customers.
Ever since I tasted Pierre Gagnaire’s creations at his main restaurant on rue Balzac in ’07, visiting his other restaurants was something I never considered. Last year was no exception. I had another meal at Gagnaire and it took place in his flagship Paris restaurant. Unlike my previous visits, I was a man on a mission this time. I knew exactly what I wanted to order. It was a late autumn season and in French cuisine it meant 2 things: gibier and truffe. When dining with my spouse, I think I have the tendency to look at special dishes (usually a la carte) served for 2 people because I often dine alone too in which this kind of item is usually out of option.
After having decent amuse-bouche consisting of several items, my first course arrived. I had smooth, tasty and light parmesan cheese soufflé (the portion was quite big). On top of it, there were rich and velvety spinach ‘soup’, fragrant & strong white truffle (the shavings’ results look a bit ‘ugly’; I think the assistant manager did not really do a great job) and crunchy roasted hazelnuts. It was a pretty and delicious dish featuring texture, color and flavor contrasts. This dish had 2 side items: pain soufflé with mascarpone cheese & crunchy cabbage; nice sweet and sour of lemon jelly with pear/pecorino ice cream. It was a well-executed and interesting dish; I was pleased to have chosen it for my truffle dish instead of the more ‘predictable’ risotto or chicken. My wife did not want any appetizer since she anticipated the main course would be heavy.
Following the soufflé above, come the supposed to be the main highlight of our meal: Lievre a la Royale in 3 servings to be shared for 2 people. Pierre Gagnaire showed his talent and skills in preparing classic French dish in the old-fashioned way. After all, he used to work at Paul Bocuse and Tante Alice.
1st part was the ‘easiest’ to savor meaning not too gamey. The saddle of hare was perfectly cooked, tender and delicious. It was accompanied by sweet & tasty sauce (a combination of lard-deglazed with marc brandy as well as orange marmalade with barberry); the vegetable side dish was good and added some complexity.
2nd part was really intense. The hare leg and its fat cooked a la royale served with heavy sauce (a right proportion of hare’s blood, solid red wine quality, foie gras etc.) and some cube of duck liver (really rich). Truly a robust and powerful dish, it was not easy to finish all of it. To reduce its intensity, there was parsnip puree with a hint of chocolate as side dish
3rd part was nearly as rich/’strong’ as the 2nd part. It was a buttery puff pastry pie filled with hare’s meat and its powerful jus. To “balance” it, Gagnaire provided pineapple & papaya sorbet flavored with cardamom. I only managed to consume ¼ of the pie because previously in addition to my portion, I also eat my spouse’s dishes (1/4 from the 1st serving and 1/3 from the 2nd serving) – she did not have strong appetite for this kind of dish. An instant classic of French pithivier
The technique applied and preparations taken for this dish were nearly flawless. However, I think I came to understanding that generally wild game stuffs were neither my passion nor really suitable for my palate with some exception on wild duck meat and venison. This legendary dish did not disappoint at all, but I would pick Gagnaire’s more normal dishes (lamb or turbot) over this. Similarly, I believe the partridge dish I ate at L’Arpege was probably as good as it gets and in the same manner, I would easily choose Passard’s duck or pigeon anytime over his game dish. That being said, Gagnaire’s hare a la royale was one of the dishes I must have tried at least once in my life and I achieved that from this visit
To close our meal, we shared Gagnaire’s famous le grand desserts (8-9 small desserts altogether) and unfortunately, I was not too impressed this time. The presentation was pretty but about half of the desserts gave “extreme” flavors. For instance, the coffee ice cream was really bitter; the red currant sorbet with caramel was very sweet while the citrus with orange was too sour. To reduce the many bold flavors and enjoy these desserts more, we simply got to ‘jump’ from one plate to the other – not really a nice way to indulge ourselves. At the end, we only managed to finish 2/3 of them simply because we did not really enjoy them.
Staffs at Pierre Gagnaire were friendly, patient, and efficient although not everybody would fully understand and remember the ingredient details of each course – it’s very challenging to do so here given Gagnaire’s mercurial nature. Save for the restaurant director, I hardly remembered the same people serving at this dining room even having dined here 4x. The restaurant was very busy that night, even the private room was occupied for an event attended by a dozen people or so. The young waiters taking care of us sometimes looked lost but tried to be calm. One gentleman kindly offered that we took away the left over pastry pie from our main course; when we’re about to leave the restaurant, we waited and looked at him for 1-2 minutes yet he did not remember that he had forgotten to give us our “pie” until we reminded him. One ‘glaring’ weakness, in my opinion, about the service here (and increasingly in many other institutions) – the restaurant director (in this case Herve Parmentier) stood out most of the times near the bar and entrance talking to his colleagues - rarely supporting his team directly. I experienced similar thing at Pre Catelan where JJ Chauveau only greeted guests upon coming and leaving, but missing in the dining room. That’s why I really admire people like Denis Courtiade or Jean-Claude Breton who consistently engaged the guests and empower his team; they’re truly iconic maître d’ maison
All in all, I was very pleased with my meal except for the dessert. However, this was not my best one – I’ve had better dinner experiences at this restaurant. As explained above, it’s not mainly due to the kitchen’s fault but with the fact that wild game stuff was not “my things” especially when served in the size of an a la carte portion. I bestowed 95/100 for the food (worthy of 2 ½* by Michelin standard). I’m not sure if I will return here in my next Paris visit; I’ve been here plenty of times. I could not recall there are dishes I really want to eat that I’ve not savored yet. Sadly, after this meal, L’Arpege with L’Ambroisie became the only restaurants in the world that deserved to have “4-star” in my notes – Gagnaire Paris used to be in that same ‘league’
You can see the pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/11823790...
re: Rio Yeti
Do you love/like lièvre à la royale or any la chasse in general? If you do, then I'm sure you would very much enjoy this classic version
Probably a regular at Gagnaire, I observed one guy was allowed to order only the 3rd serving (pie pastry) of hare a la royale dish and consumed half of them
The more modern re-interpretation with 'lighter' sauce was probably more suitable for me such as the one prepared by Philippe Rochat below