Nice review Mark.
What did you end up choosing for wine?
Egly-Ouriet VP. Patty wasn’t drinking due to a head cold (not Covid, thankfully).
Last night, at the final of four dinners at L’Ami Jean, we agreed that Le Clarence was the best dinner so far this trip. And it was fun, which isn’t always the case in Michelin ** and*** dining. We are winding down, with Arpege, Le Paul Bert, and Les Arlots as our final three dinners. I’ll do a recap later, but Paris is (mostly) back, for which I am thankful. Paris is good for our souls.
Tonight, Arpege. Chef Passard has had his ups and not quite ups over the years, but Arpege is again at the head of the pack. The dining room has been redone in a casual, garden-inspired theme, the staff now wears khaki rather than black, and the walls are adorned with panels representing the garden. We shared four courses: onion gratiné (Patty’s favorite), now adorned with fabulous fresh ceps, pumpkin soup garnished with whipped cream and Alsatian ham, risotto with an intense base of olives and garnished with garden vegetables, and Brittany blue lobster (the best lobster in the world!). All washed down with a couple of glasses of Suenen C+C and a bottle of 2014 Dauvissat Les Clos. Magnifique!
Were you able to hit Magma this trip? Curious to hear your thoughts, if so.
We did. Unfortunately, my wife was under the weather the night we were there so we didn’t explore much of the menu. Highlight was lamb neck with mole and couscous. It was good. We’ll likely go back next trip.
Paris By Mouth posted very negatively about Arpege on Instagram. Our experience and views about the changes at Arpege are hard to reconcile with this. Passard gets criticized whenever he changes things. I found the current changes to be for the better.
I will say no 3 star restaurant has been more variable to me than Arpege. Meg is not afraid to call it likes she sees it. She said something similar in regards to Septime. I of course disagreed but also understood where she was coming from.
Passard gets slammed whenever he changes things up. I applaud his willingness to try new things, even when they all don’t work out perfectly. I also like that Arpege has always been the anti-***. I hope it and Passard continue to be!
I recall 6 years or so ago when Passard was disengaged and the cooking and restaurant suffered. This isn’t that.
I agree about Meg and Paris By Mouth. We had a pleasant exchange about Arpege, in which she clarified that she does lunches and more entry-level dining at fine dining/expensive Paris restaurants because that approach is most appropriate for her subscribers/readers. Makes perfect sense. I find her reviews/preferences about bistros to be invaluable; much moreso than Michelin starred restaurants. I’m a happy subscriber.
As I think about it, If I were a less experienced (I’m old) diner, I would agree with Meg’s take more than mine. If one hasn’t done much *** and equivalent dining, Arpege isn’t likely your best early experience, especially (but for the cost) at lunch.
Heading to Paris next week for our annual Thanksgiving Trip. Looking for very specific recommendations for places like Hôtel de Crillon.
Lounge type spot in an older hotel with a deep wine list.
We have quite the jam packed culinary agenda! With a few new spots that I will report back on!
EsuLee from CAM has a popup going at Mokoloco while you’re there… you totally need to hit that!!!
I can count on one hand the number of chefs that have made me dream about food, and he’s one of them.
Looks like I am missing it by a day. It starts the 30th. I was a big fan of CAM as well.
Our Paris tradition is to head from the airport to Les Enfants…never disappoints…followed by some wine shopping for Thanksgiving. Next up Cave Paul Bert followed by Maison Sota followed by Bambino.
If you’re in Paris Jan 6 - February and don’t want to just eat (& drink) in Paris - fyi, there is an extraordinary production being put back on by the Paris Opera I think for the first time since it premiered in Paris (& NY & LA) in 2006 - of 'The Tristan Project"/Bill Viola/Peter Sellar’s production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. There’s a description of it in the Opera thread in the Asylum (would link but I don’t know how!). I saw it when premiered in LA in 2006 - that production was mind-boggling!
Some quick updates:
Maison Sota was terrific and our best meal there.
Oiseau-Oseau ( Préaux-du-Perche) was simple and charming. A perfect country restaurant. This is Chef Sven Chartier formerly of Saturne. I linked an article below about Chefs leaving Paris for the country which explains a recent movement that started pre-pandemic.
Septime was wonderful and despite an almost an entirely new kitchen crew from our last visit in July the menu was excellent.
La Clarence - The best compliment is that I can’t wait to go back. I am not much for two and three star dining these days. We loved our meal here. It is a lot of food and my crew was not happy I planned lunch here and dinner at Restaurant AT plus an after-party. I don’t don’t normally do this but sometimes the schedule just works out that way.
Restaurant A.T - Great to be here on Chef AT’s birthday and as usual he slipped in a few new dishes for us. Another excellent meal.
Will try to provide more details later…very excited to be heading to Le Doyenné today with a large group and a curated box of vinyl today.
Will try to provide some photos and more details on all of the meals.