My Restaurant Tips

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Dinner at L’Auberge Du Pont De Collonges (Paul Bocuse) on August 1, 2007

March 14th, 2017 by philippe · Comments Off on Dinner at L’Auberge Du Pont De Collonges (Paul Bocuse) on August 1, 2007

L’Auberge Du Pont De Collonges (Paul Bocuse)
40 Quai de la plage
69660 Collonges Au Mont D’Or
France

+33 (0) 4 72 42 90 90
www.bocuse.fr

French Cuisine

Restaurant: 5/5

L’Auberge Du Pont De Collonges is located north of Lyon, on the banks of the Saone river. The restaurant is extremely comfortable. From the fine tablecloths to the crystal glasses, everything is, as you would expect from Paul Bocuse, perfect.

Service: 4.5/5

In line with the French tradition, the service is very formal. Our waiters and our sommelier were continuously taking care of us without being overly present. When asked, they provided extremely detailed descriptions of the dishes and expert advice on wine pairing and cheese. My only disappointment was not be able to get a menu in English for my American friends.

Food: 5/5

I started with the Risotto. The risotto was served with crayfish and a Nantua sauce (a crayfish based sauce). Both the taste and the texture of the risotto were perfects. The crayfish were extremely tender and their flavor was certainly enhanced by the Nantua sauce.As main course, I had the fillet of beef Rossini. The fillet of beef, topped by a piece of lightly seared foie gras, was served with vegetables and a Périgueux sauce (Madeira and truffles). The beef was so tender that I used a blunt knife rather than a steak knife to cut it. Perfectly cooked, it was juicy and flavorful. The foie gras and the sauce were a perfect complement.

A judicious agreement with my left neighbor at the beginning of the meal allowed me to exchange part of my fillet of beef Rossini against some sea bass in puff pastry. The sea bass, cooked in puff pastry, was stuffed with tarragon and parsley. That fish, with it’s wonderful aroma of fresh herbs, was the best fish I ever had.

Following the main course, we were offered a wonderful selection of cheeses, from soft white Cervelle de canut to mature Roquefort. I asked for an assortment that included my local favorite: Saint -Marcellin. All were perfectly aged.

As desert, I had both woodland strawberries with vanilla ice cream and a burgundy cup. Woodland strawberries are very small, yet extremely flavorful, strawberries. The accompanying vanilla ice cream was actually the best ice cream I ever had. The burgundy cup is a selection of red berries dipping in a red burgundy wine based syrup. It is surprising how well berries and red wine go together.

Value for money: 4.5/5

Around $200, including drinks (still water, white wine, red wine and espresso) and tip. While it’s a lot of money, I truly believe that it was well worth every penny. What we had was simply astonishing. I will definitely come back.

Comments Off on Dinner at L’Auberge Du Pont De Collonges (Paul Bocuse) on August 1, 2007Tags: Collonges Au Mont D'Or · France · Lyon

Dinner at Masala on August 8, 2007

March 13th, 2017 by philippe · No Comments

Masala
314 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
USA

+1 (619) 232-4634
www.monsoonrestaurant.com

Indian Cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

Masala, conveniently located close to the convention center, is comfortable. The modern decor offers a few surprises like a flat panel TV in the toilets.

Service: 0/5

You shall not lie to your customers. Our waiter inverted a lamb and a chicken order. Instead of fixing the mistake, he switched the dishes and lied, expecting that we wouldn’t make the difference between a korma and a rogan josh. There is no excuse for that.

Food: 2/5

I started with a Mulligatawny soup. The soup, served with a poppadom, was fairly authentic. Although a bit too salty, it was very tasty.

Following the soup, I had lamb dhaniwal korma with a side of pulao rice. On the good side, the pieces of lambs were a very nice cuts and the pulao rice was very good. But, while korma is usually very mild, this one was totally bland. Not what you expect from Indian cuisine.

I had to opportunity to taste the chicken rogan josh and the chicken vindaloo. Rogan josh should be medium hot and vindaloo should be very hot but, as the lamb, both of them were totally bland.

Value for money: 1/5

Around $40, including drinks (a mango lassi and sparkling water) and tip. Considering the food and the service, Masala is definitely not a good value for money. I will avoid that restaurant in the future.

→ No CommentsTags: California · San Diego · United States

Dinner at Grant Grill (US Grant Hotel) on August 7, 2007

March 12th, 2017 by philippe · No Comments

Grant Grill
US Grant Hotel
326 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
USA

+1 (619) 232-3121
www.grantgrill.com

Californian Cuisine

Restaurant: 4.5/5

Located in the heart of San Diego, Grant Grill is both beautiful and extremely comfortable. The decor is modern and chic. From the tablecloth to the china, everything is perfect. I have only one regret: you have to go across the hotel hall to reach the toilets.

Service: 3.5/5

The service was very good. We were accommodated quite late in the evening without a reservation. While our waiter wasn’t the best in the profession, he made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 4/5

I started with the foie gras. It was fresh foie gras, lightly pan fried, served with apple slices and grapes. Both the apple slices and the grapes (skinless) were cooked in the foie gras juice. In one word: delicious.

As main course, I had braised oxtail, served with vegetables and a salsify puree. The oxtail was served as pieces, without bones or gelatine, sparing me all the tedious extracting work. Both the oxtail and the salsify puree were excellent. That combination create a very well balanced dish.

As desert I had the fresh fruits clafouti. The clafouti was served warm in a copper dish, topped with a delicious home made vanilla gelato. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

Value for money: 5/5

Around $70, including drinks (a glass of red wine, sparkling water and espresso) and tip. Grant Grill offers an excellent value for money. While $70 is a fair amount of money, it was worth every penny. The location, the restaurant and the food are exceptional. I will definitely come back.

→ No CommentsTags: California · San Diego · United States

Dinner at Harbor’s Edge (Sheraton Hotel) on August 6, 2007

March 11th, 2017 by philippe · 1 Comment

Harbor’s Edge
Sheraton Hotel
1380 Harbor Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
USA

+1 (619) 291-2900
www.starwoodhotels.com

Contemporary American Cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

Harbor’s Edge is located at the Sheraton hotel in San Diego’s marina. The restaurant is comfortable and offers a very nice view of the marina. The decor is modern with a nautical theme.

Service: 2/5

While our waiter tried to offer good service, his culinary knowledge was at best misinformed.

Food: 2/5

We started directly with the main course. I ordered the rack of lamb with gratin potatoes, pink (medium rare), as any Frenchman would order it. For some strange reason, the rack of lamb is by default served with cassoulet… While I like experimental cuisine, such an association is extremely unorthodox to say the least. The rack of lamb, composed of twice 4 chops, was excellent. The meat, rubbed in seasoning, was both tender and juicy. The vegetables were correctly cooked and the potatoe gratin, while a bit too rich, was very good.As desert, I had the molted chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and berries. What a disappointment! The molted chocolate cake turned out to be something resembling a half cooked chocolate muffin, far too compact and lacking flavor. The vanilla ice cream was a low quality commercial preparation and I had to search my plate to find the berries (2 blackberries, 2 blueberries and half a strawberry).

Value for money:1/5

Around $60, including drinks (sparkling water and espresso) and tip. For that kind of money, you can definitely find a better place to dine. I will avoid that restaurant in the future.

→ 1 CommentTags: California · San Diego · United States

Lunch at Il Pastaio on July 22, 2007

March 10th, 2017 by philippe · 1 Comment

Il Pastaio

Il Pastaio
400 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
USA

+1 (310) 205-5444
www.giacominodrago.com

Italian Cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

Il Pastaio is located in the heart of Beverly Hills, not far from Rodeo Drive. The restaurant is very comfortable. Tables outside are a bit cramped but let you enjoy the sun. Toilets are clean but could look better.

Service: 3/5

The service was very good but with an attitude. Repeat customers seems to get a better treatment.

Food: 3/5

As a main course, I had risotto al funghi. While I personally prefer thicker risotto, it was truly excellent. It wasn’t too rich and they were able to strike the right balance of cheese and mushrooms.

Following the main course, I had panna cotta as desert. The panna cotta was served with fresh strawberries, a strawberry couli and some mint for decoration. Taste and texture were excellent. One fault: the mint decorating the panna cotta was not the freshest.

Value for money: 4/5

Around $35, including drinks (orange juice, san pellegrino, cappuccino and espresso) and tip. It’s pricey for pasta but if you consider the location and the quality of the food, it is definitely good value for money. I will come back.

→ 1 CommentTags: Beverly Hills · California · Los Angeles · United States

Dinner at Joe’s Restaurant on July 12, 2007

March 9th, 2017 by philippe · Comments Off on Dinner at Joe’s Restaurant on July 12, 2007

Joe’s Restaurant
1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
USA

+1 (310) 399-5811
www.joesrestaurant.com

California-French Cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

Joe’s Restaurant is located in the heart of Venice on Abbot Kinney Blvd. The restaurant has a modern decor and is comfortable. As always in Venice, parking is a problem.

Service: 4/5

Service was excellent. Our waiter was much agreeable with a good sense of humor, which was actually really needed as we bombarded him with pretty dry English jokes.

Food: 4/5

I started with the porcini mushroom raviolis. The mushrooms had exceptional aroma both in the raviolis and on the side. One slight regret, the mushrooms may have been better served with a light broth than with a creamy sauce.

As a main course, I had wagyu from New Zealand. Wagyu is a kobe-style beef, nicely marbled. The meat, presented with a reduction sauce and vegetables was truly remarkable. It was cooked to perfection, tender and flavorful. Some bites even reminded me of the flavor of good foie gras.

As desert, I had white peaches with brown sugar whipped cream. The peaches, served as small dices were sandwiched between half whipped cream filled choux. It was light and delicious, a perfect end to that meal.

Value for money: 4/5

Around $100, including drinks (red wine and water) and tip. Wagyu is not cheap but truly worth penny. The location, the service and food quality make it a very good value for money. I will come back.

Comments Off on Dinner at Joe’s Restaurant on July 12, 2007Tags: California · Los Angeles · United States · Venice

Lunch at Lokalbahnhof on July 2, 2008

March 8th, 2017 by philippe · No Comments

Lokalbahnhof

Lokalbahnhof
Darmstädter Landstrasse 14
60594 Frankfurt
Germany

+49 (0) 69 62 71 62
www.lokalbahnhof.com

German cuisine

Restaurant: 2/5

Lokalbahnhof is located not too far from the center of Frankfurt. While the decor is simple, the restaurant has a very friendly atmosphere, especially in the Biergarten (get a table there in summer). Comfort is very basic.

Lokalbahnhof

Service: 3/5

While the place was full, the service was still fast and friendly. Our waitress made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 2.5/5

I only had a main course which was a very typical dish of boiled eggs and potatoes with green sauce. The Frankfurt Grüne, a cold sauce, is regional specialty made from seven herbs (borage, chervil, cress, parsley, burnet, sorrel and chives) that traditionally accompanies fish and meat dishes, boiled eggs and potatoes. While very simple, it was good and tasty.

Lokalbahnhof - Eggs And Potates With Green Sauce

Value for money: 4.5/5

Around $20, including drinks (water and bier) and tip. Considering the food and the current exchange rate (close to 1.6 dollars for 1 euro at the moment), Lokalbahnhof is definitely a very good value for money. I will certainly come back.

→ No CommentsTags: Frankfurt · Germany

Lunch at Le Sud on July 1, 2008

March 7th, 2017 by philippe · 1 Comment

Le Sud

Le Sud (Paul Bocuse)
11 Place Antonin-Poncet
69002 Lyon
France

+33 (0) 4 72 77 80 00
www.bocuse.fr

French food

Restaurant: 2.5/5

Le Sud is one of Paul Bocuse bistros located as its name in French indicates in the south of Lyon. The restaurant is located near the city center and has a Mediterranean themed decor. While the restaurant is relatively comfortable, tables are very close to each other and you don’t get much space.

Le sud

Service: 3/5

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

Food: 3/5

As main course I had fisherman plate, cooked bouillabaisse style with saffron. The fisherman plate, which use 3 kind of fish, gambas and vegetables (green beans and potatoes) was excellent. The fish was perfectly cooked, moist and tasty and the saffron sauce wasn’t overpowering the dish. The gambas as well were perfectly cooked.

Le Sud - Fisherman\'s Plate

For desert, I had the vacherin (sorbet, strawberries, raspberries, meringue on a raspberry coulis). As the meringue bring the sweetness to the dessert, I would have preferred the sorbet to be a bit less sweet. Still it was really good.

Le Sud - Vacherin

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $40, including drinks (mineral water, espresso) and tip. Considering the restaurant, the location, the quality of the food and the current exchange rate (close to 1.6 dollars for 1 euro at the moment), you’re getting very good value for money. I will certainly come back.

→ 1 CommentTags: France · Lyon

Dinner at Campagne on June 30, 2008

March 6th, 2017 by philippe · No Comments

Campagne

Campagne
20, Rue du Cardinal Gerlier
69005 Lyon, France
France

+33 (0) 4 78 36 73 85

French cuisine

Restaurant: 2.0/5

Campagne is located near the cathedral of Fourviere, out of the center of Lyon. The restaurant is relatively comfortable. While the decor is very simple, typical of a traditional “bouchon”, the delightful inside courtyard is the reason why people go there.

Campagne

Service: 2.5/5

The service was very good. Our waiters made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 3.0/5

For starter, I had the salmon roll. The smoked salmon, rolled on fresh goat cheese, was served with a light salad. The combination was not only interesting but very good.

Campagne - Smoked Salmon Roll

As main course I had the chicken supreme. The chicken supreme was served with potato gratin and vegetables (mushrooms, zucchini and peppers) and a nice creamy sauce. The chicken was very tender and the sauce was very tasty. The potato gratin was a very good complement.

Campagne - Chicken Supreme

After the main course, I had a very traditional Saint Marcellin cheese that was served with a little salad. The cheese was just right: mature but not too much.

Campagne - Saint Marcellin

For desert, I had another very traditional dish from Lyon, a praline tart. Served with a creme anglaise and a strawberry coulis, it was really good.

Campagne - Praline Tart

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $50, including drinks (aperitif, two glass of wine, sparkling water and coffee) and tip. Considering the restaurant, the atmosphere, the food and the current exchange rate (close to 1.6 dollars for 1 euro at the moment), Campagne is definitely a good value for money. I will come back.

→ No CommentsTags: France · Lyon

Lunch at Le Saint Vincent on June 30, 2008

March 5th, 2017 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