Le Calandre

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Philip Ente
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Le Calandre

#1 Post by Philip Ente » November 19th, 2019, 7:56 am

Recently had one of the five or six most remarkable restaurant experiences of my life.
I do not believe in these classifications of 1-2 3 because restaurants of this level all have different character and principles and cannot be compared.

By the way- I did look up the list of the 50 best restaurants in the world just to see and this restaurant is listed but curiously I do not see Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana on this list at all. I know he's been distracted with creation of his new bed-and-breakfast type facility and he told me he's having problems establishing a restaurant in Beverly Hills but we went to this restaurant during this trip and do not see any declines.

Back to Le Calandre:

Chef Max was actually trained more in France than Italy. He has created a truly unique style and it has no relation to any other restaurant I can think of. His repertoire is extremely diverse and cuts across numerous approaches and techniques. I was most impressed by how he combines spices from different cultures in completely radical ways with amazing results. His lemon risotto contains coffee and anise as well as 10 other spices.

Chef Max has a great interest in the science of taste and had actually read some work from one of my colleagues. He therefore arranged for me to return for lunch the next day and give a talk on the neuroscience of flavor generation to his staff. As you can see from the pictures the staff was extremely engaged and took notes. Their questions were just as intelligent as those posed by my medical school students.
max lect 1.jpg
max lect 2.jpg
He did something really unique during the second meal. He would cook a little more than was needed and take out these "leftovers" in the cooking pot and just placed them on our table.
max and pan.jpg
max and pan.jpg (24.88 KiB) Viewed 563 times
max pan 2.jpg
Great chefs are truly remarkable and inspiring people

Sarah Kirschbaum
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Re: Le Calandre

#2 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » November 19th, 2019, 8:25 am

I love Le Calandre, though I haven't been a few years. They graciously allowed us to open a bottle we brought in addition to buying something off the list.

Regarding Francescana not being on the list, there is a rule now that if you have been #1, you can't be in the game going forward unless it's for a different restaurant. It might be for a limited period of time, I'm not remembering right now.

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Philip Ente
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Re: Le Calandre

#3 Post by Philip Ente » November 20th, 2019, 10:40 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
November 19th, 2019, 8:25 am
I love Le Calandre, though I haven't been a few years. They graciously allowed us to open a bottle we brought in addition to buying something off the list.

Regarding Francescana not being on the list, there is a rule now that if you have been #1, you can't be in the game going forward unless it's for a different restaurant. It might be for a limited period of time, I'm not remembering right now.
Are you saying that if you were #1 you cannot be listed among the 50 best the next year?. That would say a lot about this "game"

Note in one of the pictures that the kitchen team is lined up on one side and the sommelier/service on the other. This is traditional in Europe

Sarah Kirschbaum
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Re: Le Calandre

#4 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » November 20th, 2019, 11:37 am

Philip Ente wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 10:40 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
November 19th, 2019, 8:25 am
I love Le Calandre, though I haven't been a few years. They graciously allowed us to open a bottle we brought in addition to buying something off the list.

Regarding Francescana not being on the list, there is a rule now that if you have been #1, you can't be in the game going forward unless it's for a different restaurant. It might be for a limited period of time, I'm not remembering right now.
Are you saying that if you were #1 you cannot be listed among the 50 best the next year?. That would say a lot about this "game"
If you've been #1 at any point, you are no longer eligible for the 50 Best List in the future. I believe it's explained on their website.

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Philip Ente
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Re: Le Calandre

#5 Post by Philip Ente » November 20th, 2019, 3:27 pm

Massimo is not even among the top 120 of this year. Guess that means that if you are #1 your restaurant becomes no good for a year.
This is why I think these sites are no more than a fun read.
I have found the best way to select where to go is to ask well connected chefs in the country.

Massimo may no longer be among the top 120 but I think he is still the most human and giving chef I have ever met.

https://refettorioparis.com/

He is trying to establish one of these restaurants in Los Angeles.

Sarah Kirschbaum
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Re: Le Calandre

#6 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » November 21st, 2019, 5:29 am

The "50 Best List" is just the name of the list (thus the caps). I didn't mean you can't be in the top 50, but you could be below that. I believe the rule is if you ever get #1, you are no longer eligible for consideration. That is, you are NEVER allowed to be even nominated for the list again for the same restaurant, not just for the next year.

I won't comment on whether or not that makes sense or is fair. I suspect it is an attempt to keep a few places from dominating year after year.

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Philip Ente
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Re: Le Calandre

#7 Post by Philip Ente » November 21st, 2019, 1:54 pm

So if you have the best restaurant in the world, it automatically cannot be 1 of
the 120 best in the world the next year. Can someone please explain this to
me.
We were there one week ago and I see no decline.

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Phil M
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Re: Le Calandre

#8 Post by Phil M » November 21st, 2019, 3:33 pm

As of 2019, if your restaurant achieves (or had achieved) the #1 ranking, it is “elevated” to the “best of the best” list (I guess it is their equivalent of the HoF) and the restaurant no longer appears in the ordinary list. I agree that it makes the 50 best list less relevant (but still fun to peruse).
Ph!l M@rx

Sarah Kirschbaum
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Re: Le Calandre

#9 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » November 21st, 2019, 3:52 pm

Philip Ente wrote:
November 21st, 2019, 1:54 pm
So if you have the best restaurant in the world, it automatically cannot be 1 of
the 120 best in the world the next year. Can someone please explain this to
me.
We were there one week ago and I see no decline.
You are thinking about it wrong, in absolute terms rather than the terms of the "game" - whether it is top or not isn't the question. It's whether it's allowed to be considered for this list. The exclusion has zero to do with quality. It isn't a comment on the restaurant at all, just the rules of the list. You just aren't allowed to compete anymore if you've won in the past. Again, I am not saying it's fair or a great idea, only explaining the rules. Maybe it makes the list less useful, sure, and maybe it gives others a chance. I can see both sides.

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Stephen Gelber
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Re: Le Calandre

#10 Post by Stephen Gelber » November 21st, 2019, 5:38 pm

I had one of the top three lunches of my life at Le Calandre.
Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
- The Dude

Calmer than you are, Dude.
- Walter Sobchak

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Craig G
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Re: Le Calandre

#11 Post by Craig G » November 21st, 2019, 7:48 pm

I don’t see anything wrong with this approach as long as they are clear about what it means. It’s a bit like hall of fame voting - once you’re in, you’re in and you don’t figure in the voting any more.

Then each year’s list is a ranking of the restaurants that have never been #1.
“You need to look down to the bottom shelf where they keep the Fighting Cock” — Corey N.

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Michael Bowden
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Re: Le Calandre

#12 Post by Michael Bowden » December 3rd, 2019, 10:00 am

Happy you had a good meal - I was there in Nov of 2017 and thought it to be fairly mediocre and the wine list was thin and also on an iPad which I hate.

Per the Pellegrino list - The removal of restaurants off the list is dumb - it's saying they are always at that level which is clearly not the case as things happen over time.
I'm taller than Zach Lang.

It's Michael.....not Mike, Mark, Mick, Mikey...get it? got it? good.

Good fries are better than great tater tots.

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Philip Ente
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Re: Le Calandre

#13 Post by Philip Ente » December 5th, 2019, 8:54 am

could you elaborate on what your issues were going.

I agree the wine list lacking big names and his custom made wineglasses have an odd shape.
The sommelier (First guy on the left in the first picture ) was fine. I think he that he is not looking for blow away wines as a complement to his food.

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Re: Le Calandre

#14 Post by Michael Bowden » December 5th, 2019, 9:29 am

Philip Ente wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 8:54 am
could you elaborate on what your issues were going.

I agree the wine list lacking big names and his custom made wineglasses have an odd shape.
The sommelier (First guy on the left in the first picture ) was fine. I think he that he is not looking for blow away wines as a complement to his food.
Just thought that the food was average (and I mean a 2* level - it wasn't bad by any stretch) - and not to a 3* level - the room and service were nice and we did find something to drink off the list but the overall depth of the list was a bit disappointing.
I'm taller than Zach Lang.

It's Michael.....not Mike, Mark, Mick, Mikey...get it? got it? good.

Good fries are better than great tater tots.

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