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ZKG -- OMG

This will be brief . I' m typing this out on my phone.

Some of the best food I've eaten. Imaginative. Intensely flavorful. The little squids of sauce or the "condiments" on each plate were so flavor packed that I often ate them alone . The timing was so careful that every element in each dish was optimal.

Definitely an unsettling experience at the beginning of the meal when you learn every dish will be a surprise. And then the amuse comes out. One bite and we begin to relax. By the first bite of the first course -- wagyu carpaccio wrapped around julienne of vinaigrette of celeriac with two sauces and razor- fine slices of something citrus and we were enthralled.

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  1. Hey, Indy! We're from West Lafayette ('67 grad from PU) and suffer from the same fears. It could be (fill in with whatever freaks you out) you just paid 100eu for!!!
    Glad things went well for you. I haven't been there, but friends absolutely love the place.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hychka

      Relax! At the beginning of the meal you're asked to identify any food allergies and any foods you just plain don't like
      That said there definitely were surprises. The sample pasta dish on the menu read spaghetti with pesto and squid, turns out to have squid ink along with squid meat. Now my husband and I happen to adore squid ink on pasta but it certainly was unexpected. I guess the most telling feeling about our meal was at some point my husband said " I wish I hadn't said I don't like anchovies. I'm sure I would have liked whatever the kitchen did with them. "

      1. re: Indy 67

        I agree with your husband. I really don't care for raw fish, but raw tuna was served on the chef's menu at CAJ and I enjoyed it. There are some moments of apprehension, however.

    2. I don't understand why some folks are hesitant to go to Ze and others say "Oh I don't need to go because I can get that in Santa Monica or NYC" because they cannot.
      Since he opened Ze in 2001, Ledeuil has constantly moved, improved, improvised. It's just a delight every meal.

      16 Replies
      1. re: John Talbott

        I understand that some like the restaurant and others don't.
        What I don't understan is why so many on this thread think the food is weird and challenging. Adventurous weird cuisine, Z is not.

        1. re: Parigi

          Chacun to his or her "weird."

          1. re: Parigi

            Adventurous and weird probably mean "different, unusual, unexpected, outside my realm of experience." Some like or "get" it, others don't.

            I've never been simply because the posted menus have never sung to me. If I did lunch, I'd give it a go, but am not anxious to try it at dinner prices. It's my sense that the food is quite approachable. You do have to appreciate Ledeuil's reach, particularly when you take into account when he started cooking with this palate. Whether one loves it is just a matter of taste

            1. re: mangeur

              "... The menu never sung to me..."

              Nor did the posted menu sing to me. What was on the plate was full of nuances and surprises and just plain yummie-ness that the written words on the menu were like a cartoon version of a masterpiece.

              1. re: mangeur

                Mangeur, for years since Ze Kitchen Galerie opened, I was only mildly impressed by it, until I went recently and thought "Wow!"
                William Ledeuil always talked of himself as constantly learning and searching. I could feel that in his food, until this last meal in December when I thought he had reached his objective; his cuisine felt mastered and confident. Even a year ago I would not have bothered to tell you to go, but now I think you can safely give it a try.

              2. re: Parigi

                We come from the land where adventurous is not getting the hamburger. Spaghetti is EYE-talian food and French food is deep fried potatoe strips. Serve us raw fish or hamburger, pigeon, duck hearts, raw egg yoke, some organ, tongue, horse meat, or fish eggs and we tend to squirm or run. Two sets of my guests this trip turned down dinner reservations I had made at Spring because they looked at old menus and said they couldn't eat what was served. These folks want to see the menu and select the bland stuff inside their comfort zones.

                1. re: Parigi

                  I think the issue is one of risk tolerance. The patrons to my right said the wife was allergic to lobster but was okay with shrimp. This seems a wholly appropriate caution for the kitchen. The couple on our other side had an issue with Asian - type food. This seems demonstrate a low risk tolerance --refusing to give the chef a chance to expand a diner's culinary horizons.

                  Price clearly plays a role but in that case reduce the risk and eat lunch or eat at the sibling restaurant.

                  As I said, both my husband and I felt some early trepidation but it vanished quickly.

                  1. re: Indy 67

                    "issue with Asian - type food. This seems demonstrate a low risk tolerance"
                    Also unclear and confusing to the extreme. What o what is Asian-type food ?

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Precisely on both counts.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        Isn't Asian type food anything with rice or noodles ....?

                        1. re: PhilD

                          O yes, rice and noodle and bread. And meat. And veg. Soooooooooo un-western.

                          1. re: Parigi

                            My deal-breaker is 5-spice.

                  2. re: John Talbott

                    Well John I am probably one of the detractors, but full disclosure I haven't been for many years, back then my criticism wasn't I couldn't get east/west fusion elsewhere it was that I didn't like the combinations and thought they were one dimensional i.e. It was a poor version of fusion. I also though the room was spartan and whilst the lunch menu you (John) enjoy is cheap the dinner menu was very expensive.

                    That said Pti's review a few months ago was so good it piqued my interest, and Indy's adds to that. So next time in Paris I think I may try it again.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      I think William has stopped trying to achieve his balance of tastes through ingredients, as I strongly felt he did before. I thought he was putting too much stress on Asian aromatics in order to get where he wanted. But an Asian cook (I specifically mean a Thai cook, which is Ledeuil's favorite reference) does not start from the aromatics, he starts from the tastes he wants to achieve and then uses aromatics to get there, or uses substitutes if he misses something. I thought William was too aromatics-driven and not taste-driven enough. Instead of thinking "sweet, sour, salty, funky, hot, pungent, fresh, creamy, acidic", etc., he was thinking "ginger, galanga, lime, coriander, chilli", etc., and I was under the impression that he often missed the target for that reason.

                      Since my last meal there, I am no longer under that impression. I think he has achieved the "fusion" and is really concentrating on tastes and textures far better than he ever did. So yes, perhaps you should try it again.

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        Its good to hear - and I think a pretty good dissection of what I recall being the issue - quite a number of extraneous ingredients that didn't fuse together.

                        1. re: Ptipois

                          " Instead of thinking "sweet, sour, salty, funky, hot, pungent, fresh, creamy, acidic", etc., he was thinking "ginger, galanga, lime, coriander, chilli", etc."

                          Bingo! This was always my sense.