My Restaurant Tips

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Lunch at Le Saint Vincent on June 30, 2008

July 31st, 2015 by philippe · 1 Comment

Le Saint Vincent

Le Saint Vincent
6, Place Fernand Rey
69001 Lyon
France

+33 (0) 4 72 07 70 43

French cuisine

Restaurant: 2/5

Le Saint Vincent is located on a small square in the heart of Lyon. The restaurant is relatively comfortable. The decor is typical of a traditional bouchon. I highly recommend the terrace that is truly delightful during summer.

Service: 3.5/5

The service was excellent. Our waiter made genuine efforts to please us. While the last guest arrived after the kitchen closed, they reopened it and cooked solely for him.

Food: 3/5

As starter, I had the brick with Saint Marcellin. The brick, a thin-layered dough used in north African cuisine, stuffed with Saint Marcellin cheese (a local specialty) was lightly fried and served on salad. It was a nice and tasty interpretation of the classic north African brick that is usually filled with egg.

Le Saint Vincent - Brick With Saint Marcelin

As main course, I had the duck. The duck was tender and tasty, cooked with dried fruit and served on the side with ratatouille. While both were really excellent and the association somehow works, I would have preferred something like a potato gratin or steamed green beans with the duck.

Le Saint Vincent - Duck With Dried Fruits

Le Saint Vincent - Ratatouille

For desert, I had the creme caramel. Classic, simple, delicious and generously served.

Le Saint Vincent - Creme Caramel

Value for money: 4/5

Around $30, including drinks (a glass of kir and coffee) and tip. Considering the restaurant, the location, the food and the current exchange rate (close to 1.6 dollars for 1 euro at the moment), Le Saint Vincent is a truly excellent value for money. I will definitely come back.

→ 1 CommentTags: France · Lyon

Lunch at Muscade on June 29, 2008

July 30th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Muscade

Muscade
36, rue de Montpensier (67, galerie Montpensier)
75001 Paris
France

+33 (0) 1 42 97 51 36
www.muscade-palais-royal.com

French cuisine

Restaurant: 2.5/5

Muscade is located in the historical Palais Royal in the heart of Paris. While the decor is simple, the location is really exceptional. The restaurant is relatively comfortable. I would advise to get a table on the totally delightful terrace.

Muscade

Service: 2.5/5

The service was good but a bit slow. While my waiter made genuine efforts to please me, he was waiting on the kitchen (the place was full).

Food: 3/5

The bread, traditional French baguette, was tasty but a bit elastic.

Muscade - Bread

As main course I had the lamb tajine. The lamb, served with couscous and dates, was nice and tasty. The meat was very tender but a bit cold.

Muscade - Lamb Tajine

For desert, I had orange and chocolate tart. The tart, extremely soft and smooth, was exceptional. It had both a subtle orange flavor and a strong dark chocolate flavor.

Muscade - Orange and Chocolate Tart

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $45, including drinks (a glass of wine, sparkling water and coffee) and tip. Considering the restaurant, the location, the food and the current exchange rate (close to 1.6 dollars for 1 euro at the moment), Muscade is definitely a good value for money. I will certainly come back.

→ No CommentsTags: France · Paris

Dinner at Ladurée on June 27, 2008

July 29th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Ladurée

Ladurée
75, avenue des Champs Elysées
75008 Paris
France

+33 (0) 1 40 75 08 75
www.laduree.fr

French cuisine

Restaurant: 3.5/5

Ladurée has multiple locations in Paris. They are mainly a patisserie but also have a tea salon and/or a restaurant in certain locations. I visited the restaurant located on the iconic avenue des Champs Elysées as I arrived late in Paris and this particular one stays open relatively late. The decor, designed by the very famous Jacques Garcia, is a refined version of the classic 18th century French style. The restaurant is quite comfortable. I would advise to get a table on the first floor which is more cozy and definitely quieter.

Ladurée

Service: 3.5/5

The service was very good. Unfortunately, while our waiter made genuine efforts to please us, a breakdown of they computer system meant that the whole operation was running in slow motion.

Food: 3.5/5

The bread selection was very nice. The green candy looking green cylinder on the photo is actually butter.

Ladurée - Bread and Butter

I started with the tomato Saint-Honoré. That very original dish is composed of a kind of tomato chutney laying on a savory pastry, decorated with roasted chery tomatoes and basil whipped cream. Not only it was original and delicious but the presentation is quite spectacular. As you can see in the photo, it look very much like a desert.

Ladurée - Tomato Saint-Honoré

As main course, I had the blue fin tuna. The tuna, moist and tender, was perfectly executed. It was served with rose flavored semolina and fresh strawberries. While the flavor of the semolina was exquisite, it was a bit dry. The strawberries were unexpected but definitely a good complement to the dish.

Ladurée - Blue Fin Tuna with Rose Couscous

For desert, I had a rose and raspberry Saint-Honoré. The Saint-Honoré, a symphony of pastel rose colors was decorated with fresh raspberries and a red rose petal. Both the custard and the whipped cream are rose flavored while the heart of the pastry is a raspberry stew. And yes, it does taste as good as it looks.

Ladurée - Saint-Honoré

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $60, including drinks (a glass of wine, mineral water and coffee) and tip. Considering the restaurant, the location, the food and the current exchange rate (close to 1.6 dollars for 1 euro at the moment), Ladurée is definitely a good value for money. I will certainly come back.

→ No CommentsTags: France · Paris

Lunch at Gusto on June 26, 2008

July 28th, 2015 by philippe · 1 Comment

Gusto

Gusto
Edward Pavilion
Albert Dock
Liverpool, L3 4AD
UK

+44 (0) 870 401 2125
www.estestest.co.uk

British cuisine

Restaurant: 2.5/5

Gusto, formerly Est Est Est is located in the center of Liverpool, on the waterfront in one of the world heritage buildings of Albert dock. The restaurant has a nice cozy decor an is relatively comfortable.

Gusto

Service: 3/5

The service was very good. It was relatively fast and our waitress made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 3.5/5

I had the suckling pig. The pig, served with roast garlic mash potatoes and apple sauce was perfectly executed. Fully cook while still moist with a crackling skin. The mash potatoes and the apple sauce were a perfect complement.

Gusto - Suckling Pig

As a side dish, I had the courgette (zucchini) fries. the courgettes, cooked tempura style were very good but a little too greasy to be perfect.

Gusto - Courgette Fries

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $40, including drinks (mineral water and coffee) and tip. Considering the restaurant, the food and the current exchange rate (close to 2 dollars for 1 pound at the moment), Gusto is definitely a good value for money. I will certainly come back.

→ 1 CommentTags: Liverpool · United Kingdom

Dinner at Circo on June 25, 2008

July 27th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Circo

Circo
Britannia Pavilion
Albert Dock
Liverpool, L3 4AD
UK

+44 (0) 151 709 7097
www.circoliverpool.com

British cuisine

Restaurant: 3.5/5

Circo is located in the center of Liverpool, on the waterfront in one of the world heritage buildings of albert dock. The restaurant has a very interesting freak show decor. With the help of numerous candles and strange light fixtures, the athmosphere is quite sureal. The restaurant is comfortable but you can feel that priority has been given to the design.

Circo

Circo

Service: 2.5/5

The service was very good but a bit slow. Our two waitress made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 3.5/5

I started with the wild mushroom rarebit. The creamy mushrooms were served on a toasted cheese crostini, with a crusty cheese piece. While it was very good, it would have been better with a bit more salt on the mushrooms.

Circo - Wild Mushroom Rarebit

As main course, I had the duck pastrami. The duck breast, pan seared, was truly excellent and well complemented by the Cointreau glaze. The pastrami crisp and the vegetable were very good. I would add a special mention to the tomato that were perfect.

Circo - Duck Pastrami

For dessert, I had the Eton mess, composed of crushed meringue, strawberries, lightly wiped vanilla flavored cream and covered with passion seed. While the presentation is somewhat ordinary it was really good. I will certainly try to reproduce that at home.

Circo - Eton Mess

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $85, including drinks (mineral water, a bottle of red wine shared between the 2 of us and coffee) and tip. Considering the restaurant, the food and the current exchange rate (close to 2 dollars for 1 pound at the moment), Circo definitely offers good value for money. I will come back.

→ No CommentsTags: Liverpool · United Kingdom

Dinner at Chez Kristof on June 24, 2008

July 26th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Chez Kristof

Chez Kristof
111 Hammersmith Grove
London, W6 0NQ
UK

+44 (0) 208 741 1177
www.chezkristof.co.uk

French cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

Chez Kristof is located in Hammersmith, in London west side. The restaurant has a very nice cozy decor and is very comfortable.

Chez Kristof

Service: 3.5/5

Service was excellent. Our waitress not only made genuine efforts to please us but was able to recommend a bottle of wine which was not only reasonably priced but truly excellent.

Food: 2.5/5

I started with the Bagna Cauda (that literally translate to hot bath). The Bagna Cauda is a hot anchovy and garlic dip served with raw vegetables. The anchovies in the dip were not too salty and didn’t overpower the dish. It was both good and original.

Chez Kristof - Bagna Cauda

Chez Kristof - Bagna Cauda

As main course, I had the Corsican braised rabbit. The rabbit, served with a lemon sauce, carrots and a side of spatzle dumplings was truly excellent. It was perfectly executed. The spatzle dumplings, soft and tasty, were as good as the rabbit.

Chez Kristof - Rabbit

Chez Kristof - Spatzle

For dessert, I had the profiteroles. While the profiteroles were prepared as they should (vanilla ice cream stuffed pastries covered with hot chocolate sauce) they were the disappointment of the meal. The pastries were hard and neither the vanilla ice cream or the chocolate sauce was excellent.

Chez Kristof - Profiteroles

Value for money: 3/5

Around $100, including drinks (mineral water, a bottle of red wine shared between the 5 of us and coffee) and tip. Considering the location (London is very expensive), the restaurant, the service and the current exchange rate (close to 2 dollars for a pound at the moment), Chez Kristof definitely offers good value for money. I will come back.

→ No CommentsTags: London · United Kingdom

Lunch at Wagamama on June 24, 2008

July 25th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Wagamama

Wagamama
30 Kensington Street
Brighton, BN1 4AJ
UK

+44 (0) 127 368 8892
www.wagamama.com

Japanese Cuisine / Ramen Bar

Restaurant: 2/5

Wagamama is located in the heart of Brighton, on the British south coast. While they did make an effort to create the decor, it feel more like a cafeteria than a restaurant. The comfort is minimum as the emphasis is on practicality.

Service: 2/5

Service was relatively good. While our waiter made some efforts, he was very busy as he was catering to a large number of tables. They certainly could do with a bit more staff.

Food: 2.5/5

I ordered an Ebi Raisukaree which is a Japanese style rice dish. It is stir-fried black tiger prawns served on rice with a curry sauce and garnished with ginger, galangal, chilies, coriander, red peppers, green peppers, spring onions, mangetout and lime. The presentation was very good and the taste of the dish was very well balanced. One note: I would have preferred the curry sauce to be a bit thicker. That would make the dish easier to eat as the rice quickly goes apart in the sauce.

Wagamama - Ebi Raisukaree

Aside the Ebi Raisukaree, I ordered a fruit juice which is a fruit cocktail composed of apple, orange and passion fruit. While it is very good, the orange juice dominate the mix and hide both the apple juice and the passion fruit juice.

Wagamama - Fruit Juice

Value for money: 3/5

Around $30, including drinks (fruit juice) and tip. Considering the food and the current exchange rate (nearly 2 dollars for 1 pound), Wagamama offers good value for money. I will come back.

→ No CommentsTags: Brighton · United Kingdom

Lunch at Saddle Peak Lodge on June 15, 2008

July 24th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Saddle Peak Lodge

Saddle Peak Lodge
419 Cold Canyon Road
Calabasas, CA 91302
USA

+1 (818) 222-3888
www.saddlepeaklodge.com

American Cuisine, Wild Game

Restaurant: 4/5

Saddle Peak Lodge is located in Calabasas, in the middle of the hills not far from Malibu. The restaurant has a very nice hunting lodge decor and is very comfortable. They have very affordable valet parking in front of the restaurant ($3.5 plus tip).

Service: 3.5/5

Service was very good. Our waiters made genuine efforts to please us. They moved the table to make us more comfortable and were kind to accomodate while we were waiting for the other guests to arrive (about 45mns, you should know that you can’t predict traffic in Los Angeles).

Food: 3/5

I started with the chilled heirloom tomato gaspacho. The gaspacho was served with cilantro and cucumber slaw. The texture was extremely smooth and the taste was perfect. It was an excellent interpretation of the classic recipe.

Saddle Peak Lodge Gaspacho

As main course, I had the roast beef sandwich. The roast beef (prime angus) sandwich was served open face with caramelized onions, tomatoes, watercress, arugula, lemon rosemary aioli and sweet potato fries. The beef, very tender and well complemented by the onions, was extremely tasty. The fries, perfectly cooked (crispy outside and tender inside without being oily), were a good complement. While the dish itself is not very original, it was very well excuted and had a nice twist.

Saddle Peak Lodge Roast Beef Sandwich

For dessert, I had the Cappuccino style coffee creme brulee with home made biscotti. I am a big fan of creme brulee and this one was a bit disappointing. The top of the creme was not properly carmelized and the biscotti was not dry enough to be crackling as it should. Fortunatly, while it was more on the chocolate than the cappucino side, the overall taste was excellent.

Saddle Peak Lodge Creme Brulee

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $90, including drinks (mimosa, a bottle of white wine shared between the 5 of us and coffee) and tip. Considering the restaurant, considering the service and considering that it was father’s day (Celebrations are always more expensive), Saddle Peak Lodge definitly offers good value for money. I will go back.

→ No CommentsTags: Calabasas · California · Los Angeles · United States

Dinner at Vermont on June 10, 2008

July 23rd, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Vermont

Vermont
1714 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
USA

+1 (323) 661-6163
www.vermontrestaurantonline.com

Comtemporary American Cuisine

Restaurant: 2.5/5

Vermont is located in the Los Feliz, between Hollywood and Glendale. The restaurant has a nice spanish classical decor and is fairly comfortable. The lighting is particularly nice late in the evening, so don’t go there too early. As parking is difficult in the area, you may want to use their valet parking located behind the restaurant at a cost of about $6.

Service: 2.5/5

Service was good but not remarkable. Our waiter made some efforts to please us.

Food: 2/5

The bread selection, served with a pesto sauce, was good but again, not remarkable.

Vermont - Bread

As main course, I had the oxtail. The oxtail was served with baby spinach and carots. While the oxtail was very tasty, there wasn’t much meat in the pieces and they could have been prepared a bit better.

Vermont - Oxtail

For dessert, I had the apple tart. The apple tart, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was very good. Between the apples and the crust, they use a layer of almond paste that work very well.

Vermont - Apple Tart

Value for money: 2/5

Around $60, including drinks (lemonade, a glass of red wine and coffee) and tip. Vermont is not a particularly good value for money. Considering the restaurant, the food and the service, you can definitly find better places in Los Feliz.

→ No CommentsTags: California · Los Angeles · United States

Dinner at The Tower Bar on April 1, 2008

July 22nd, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

The Tower Bar
Sunset Tower Hotel
8358 Sunset boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
USA

+1 (323) 654-7100
www.sunsettowerhotel.com

Hip Bistro Cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

The Tower Bar is located in the heart of West Hollywood on Sunset boulevard. The restaurant has a nice cozy classical decor with his wood paneling and is relatively comfortable. The view of Los Angeles is particularly impressive. You will have to use the valet parking at a cost of $14.

Service: 0.5/5

Service was poor. It seems that every person we talked with had better things to do and that we were really bothering them with our outrageous demands like having some bread (we had to ask three time only to get lavash bread as they didn’t had anything else left).

Food: 1/5

I was really surprised by the menu which is very simple and bistro like for that kind of establishment, especially at that kind of price.

For starter, we shared a grilled artichoke. The artichoke, accompanied with salad and mayonnaise, was very good. It would have been nice to get a full artichoke as only half was served.

As main course, I had the lobster Cobb salad. The salad was good but had nothing special. I had the opportunity to taste the truffle and caviar omelet. The omelet was good. The caviar served generously was relatively good and a good complement to the eggs but the truffles (probably cheap canned truffles) were absolutely tasteless. While I was extremely disappointed by the truffles, the salad served with the omelet was very good with just the right amount of dressing.

For dessert, we shared a bread pudding and a glass of port. The bread pudding was very good and certainly the best part of the meal.

Value for money:1/5

Around $90, including drinks (sparkling water, glass of champagne and coffee) and tip. The Tower Bar is a very poor value for money. Considering the food and the service, you are better of going to Le Petit Four a bit further west on Sunset. Because of the view, I may come back for a drink but certainly not for dinner.

→ No CommentsTags: California · Los Angeles · United States · West Hollywood