Alain Ducasse (Paris) – Time for a New King

The King of Michelin Stars – he has 3 3-star restaurants in Paris, Monaco, and New York. While we weren’t expecting the most contemporary cuisine, we were expecting a cuisine based on the very best ingredients. A chef of Ducasse’s caliber should have preferential access to the best ingredient in town; his chefs should be perfectly trained; and the cuisine, which may be ‘dull’ in this day and age, should be flawlessly executed.

1. Langoustine w/ Cavair & Lemon Creme
The langoustine was cut into 4 pieces, topped w/ the caviar. Very fresh langoustines, perfectly cooked, that had a slight salty burst. The lemon tempered the saltiness and brightened it up just a touch. A promising start – nothing groundbreaking but very good.

2. Foie Gras w/ Caramel Top & Assorted Fruits
We ordered half-orders but got a gargantuan piece. The foie had a few veins and its texture was a bit off. This is not the foie you’d expect from one of Paris’s greats. Disappointing.

3. Roasted Lobster w/ Asparagus (Cooked & Raw)
The lobster was slightly overcooked and it lacked any significant taste. The raw asparagus were full of flavor and quite good (i’m not an asparagus fan.) The cooked asparagus were good, but nothing as grand as one might expect. Good.

4. Turbot w/ Morels & Aspragus
A fine, but bland, piece of fish which was slightly overcooked (does anyone realize Le Bernardin has it right?) The morels were free of grit; unfortunately, they were also free of taste. These morels had none of the impact that L’Astrance’s morels had the night before. Good.

5. Bresse Chicken w/ Morel & Asparagus
The infamous Bresse chicken – my first time. The chicken had a great texture (like nothing in the US, toothsome is the best adjective) with an unbelievable deep flavor – this is not your American chicken… but they really screwed up the skin. The skin was not crisp at all; it was rubbery and lacked any significant taste. Good. Very Good if skin was crisp.

It was a good meal, but hardly what one would expect from a 3-star restaurant. The ingredients should have been better; and the cooking more precise. A disappointing performance for a 3-star restaurant. Given the incredible expense, a restaurant I won’t repeat.

Official Site:

Gastroville, a far more knowledgeable authority than I, rated the restaurant a “must go” provided you tell management you are serious. We didn’t do that and that may have been our downfall.- chuck

  • snekse

    I’ve always wondered – how does one go about letting the management know “you are serious”?

  • Administrator

    I believe it’s an art that is well worth mastering. A few techniques that have worked well for me:
    - Ask. If you ask the chef to “cook for you”, they know you’re serious. Of course, you can’t argue when the bill comes.
    - Take pictures. This usually piques the curiosity of everyone and then you can explain why you’re taking pictures.
    - Referrals. If I know a chef is friends w/ another chef, I might ask them to put a good word in for me. If I know a good customer of a restaurant, I’ll ask the same. This is the best approach.
    - Become a great customer. Regulars are the bread and butter (no pun intended) for a restaurant – they will go out of their way to treat you special.

    This is worthy of its own post someday.  I’ve come a long way in the past year with getting the best meals out of my reservations.