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L'atelier de Joel Robuchon
As you have, Dear Readers, I also have been to many fancy restaurants. I have been to restaurants because people have said, "You cannot go to (for example) New York, without eating at blah blah blah." Or I have read a review and thought, "I must try this place!" As in I read Life, on the Line by Grant Achetz and now want to go to his restaurant, Alinea. I am not sure if it would be my style, though I am longing to find out.
Let me tell you what IS my style and what was a great dinner and dining experience. It was our 30th anniversary dinner at L'atelier de Joel Robuchon. Mr. Robuchon is an MOF. That is a verrrrrrrry big deal. It means Meilleurs Ouvriers de France and it is the highest honor a chef can get here. Think of it as the Nobel Prize for chefs. There are very strict criteria for entry to even try to become one. If you are accepted into the running, you must go through a rigorous test to obtain this title. Only one of our chefs at Le Cordon Bleu was an MOF and one was a finalist last year, and we have some highly decorated and talented chefs yelling at teaching us. If you test into "Le Club", you are permitted to wear the blue, white, and red stripes on your collar of your chef jacket, among other things. You can watch the documentary, Kings of Pastry to understand this intense process. (Netflix has it in their documentary section and I think you can watch parts of it on YouTube.)
I chose this because I have heard of Joel Robuchon and wanted to see if the food would be as good as the man is famous I was skeptical because I have been to one of Emeril's restaurants and was nonplussed. I have neen to the Le Taillevent twice and could not eat half of the weird undercooked food there. (Don't kill me for saying that, those of you who have eaten there). I have been to the esteemed and now defunct Quilted Giraffe, the old Le Cirque, Aqua Vit, etc.. All of them famous, too expensive, and leaving me somewhat unsatisfied. Yet, still I wanted to try this restaurant. I am so glad we did. It was out of this world.
First of all, the atmosphere is very sexy, decorated in a perfect shade of red and black. You sit all around as if at a bar. I do not like the comfort of a barstool. I don't like my feet dangling for hours and all the climbing up and down, especially if I am in a dress. But these chairs were very comfortable, almost as if you were in a regular chair. The wait staff was behind the bar and they were very attentive. And right behind them is..... the kitchen. We sat in front of the saucier, and he was flying all night. I asked a lot of questions, and got pretty good answers from the waiters. There were 10 chefs working at warp speed that night. I only saw one female but she was on the other side, so I could not watch her well. They were all very young. I bet not one chef was over 38. How could they be? They worked so hard and so fast; I am sure they work like that every single night. And they were very quiet. Every now and then I heard "Oui, Chef" from one of them when answering the head chef or one another. But other than that, they worked in perfect concert.
For dinner, Bill had the smoked salmon. We watched the chef behind the waiters slice thin, perfect slices of salmon over and over again throughout our time there. It was presented to Bill in a swirl pattern, with a oval spoonful of chevre infused with fresh dill. He had this and a great salad made with, my favorite, a mustard vinaigrette. I had the breast of roasted chicken from Bresse, my favorite place for chicken in all of France. It was roasted with these perfectly cut , tiny vegetables...carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and pearl onions. It was presented to me in a copper casserole dish that I wanted to slip into my Chanel but did not. Oh, I know your eyes are rolling back in your heads as you read this.
I know you are all biting your nails and wondering, but where were the pastry chefs?! What of them? Of course I asked for you! There are three pastry chefs employed there. They have their own kitchen, as they well deserve, because they are artists and the hot temperature would hurt any butter filled pastry being made. In all top restaurants, the pastry chefs have their own kitchen or their own area, away from the hustle and bustle, heat and fire of the grills. (In Bali, the pastry chef had his own teeny tiny kitchen and there were three men stuffed in there!) I wanted to see L'atelier de Joel Robuchon's, but would never have asked at this busy time. So we did the next best thing and ordered dessert.
Bill got the chocolate cup above. It has a bit of gold dust as well as the golden M&M. It had a ring of chocolate which encircled the top and which the dark chocolate cream nestled in. It had gold dust stenciling on the brown plate. In other words, the presentation was gorgeous. I did not actually order dessert, but they brought me the Tastings of Tarts on the menu since it was our anniversary! OHMYGOSH. One was better than the next. Five in all, small slices of perfect, yummy tarts with heaven-kissed crusts.
The service clipped along too. We were only there about an hour and a half. I am not into sitting for four hours (as in Charlie Trotter's) and eating all night. We left, albeit sadly, having had a wonderful dinner and a great time watching the kitchen. Bill and I walked arm in arm along Saint Germain to catch the Metro, happy, full, and still in love.
|It makes the store-bought salad that I'm eating right now seem very boring. Don't ya' just love dining? And a GOOD dining experience with great food? I'm so happy you had a good time. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! See you in class! : )|
|Posted by GoWendyGo on December 5, 2011 @ 8:16 am|