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PARIS HELP PLEASE, GREAT FOOD + SEXY ATMOSPHERE.

Thanks so much everyone thus far! Really appreciating the input.....

Mar 12, 2010
matsonjones in France

PARIS HELP PLEASE, GREAT FOOD + SEXY ATMOSPHERE.

Hello fellow Chowhounders:

Okay - here's what I need help with. Going to Paris next week. Have a dinner date set up for Friday night. Am looking for a restaurant with delicious food, but - would prefer a place that is romantic. Not a "hearts and flowers" super formalized haute place like Taillevant, etc. I love that too, but in this case looking for something a touch darker, sexier - modern in decor is okay as long as it's not hyper minimalist and cold. A place where after dinner you can drink and maybe get a little closer. Cost not an issue. Any input greatly appreciated., and thanks in advance!

Mar 11, 2010
matsonjones in France

BLUE DUCK TAVERN OR POSTE FOR BRUNCH?

Opinions? Brunch for two, kinda romantic, looking for good cocktails/food/service. Thanks for your help!

Oct 04, 2009
matsonjones in Washington DC & Baltimore

SUNDAY LUNCH IN DC

Hi Everyone! Looking for a fun, casual spot for Sunday lunch/brunch in DC next week. We particularly love places that are fun, have great energy, and are a bit unique - but with DELICIOUS food and that diner vibe. The kind of place you might see on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." Appreciate in advance any assistance you can give.....

Oct 04, 2009
matsonjones in Washington DC & Baltimore

DARK SEXY NYC BARS FOR AFTER DINNER INTIMACY!!

SO, very hot date coming up this Friday. Drinks before dinner at Four Seasons Restaurant (at their beautiful bar next to the Grill Room). Then dinner at the counter of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Then after - want/need a really sexy, dark bar for a round of drinks and intimate conversation into the wee hours. As long as it's in Manhattan, location doesn't matter, but would probably prefer downtown-ish, all other things being equal. Somewhere with terrific cocktails and/or wine list, and VERY conducive to intimate discussion and getting close! :-) In the old days (five years ago), the sort of place I'd be describing would be Temple Bar on Lafayette. But if there are other or better suggestions, would LOVE to hear yours!

Aug 16, 2009
matsonjones in Manhattan

Which Michelin 3 in Paris is worth being poor for?

You'll all call me nuts, and this is certainly not a three star. I've had the fortunate opportunity to eat at most of the suggested restaurants above, and have enjoyed them all (more or less). But for me, the one (ridiculously expensive, admittedly) fabulous meal in Paris that I'd tell the grandkids about is at Chez l'Ami Louis. And, in order of appearance:

Foie Gras
Escargot
Poulet Roti
Potato cake with garlic
Chocolate cake

Jul 28, 2008
matsonjones in France

CHEZ L'AMI LOUIS

workintheater - I do things this way because as I said, they have had (in the past) a regular habit of 'losing reservations' for Americans. I've heard endless tales of people showing up for lunch or dinner after having made a reservation, and being told 'sorry, we have no reservation, no tables available, you must come back another time.' So call me OCD, but at least I've never had that situation occur.

Mar 27, 2008
matsonjones in France

Need a romantic restaurant URGENTLY

I vote for Jarnac in the West Village. Well within your budget, terrific food, small room, friendly staff.

Mar 27, 2008
matsonjones in Manhattan

BEST NYC RESTAURANT FOR WINE? HELP!

Hi folks -

Okay, here's where I need serious assistance. I love food. But I don't drink alcohol. I have a person coming to NYC in May who I want to take out for a best-of-the-best, cost-be-damned dinner, but the sticky situation is that they love wine, and that is the most important feature of a meal is to them (the food being secondary). As I don't drink, I'm at a total and complete loss. So I need to hear what the very best restaurants in NYC are for their wine selection, depth, breadth, and quality of staff knowledge.

To get the ball rolling, I've been suggested Alto and Cru...

Help, anyone?

Mar 27, 2008
matsonjones in Manhattan

Eleven Madison Park

Just ate there night before last. I would strongly reccomend the foie gras appetizer, and the duck and/or suckling pig main courses. I think the tasting menu is not necessary. There was no white truffle option on the menu that I saw. The only caveat I would give you is that we had a 6:30 reservation for four and were seated promptly, order three courses each, and didn't receive the check until 10:30!! It's not that the service felt particularly slow, but we couldn't believe that it took that long to eat. We should have been out of there an hour earlier, at the very least.

Oct 26, 2007
matsonjones in Manhattan

NYC white truffle offerings?

Hi - just wondering which Manhattan restaurants might be offering superlative white truffle dishes/tasting menus, as it's about that time? Have a dinner date set for early November, so any suggestiuons where I can indulge in the season's delicacy would be greatly appreciated.

Oct 25, 2007
matsonjones in Manhattan

CHEZ L'AMI LOUIS

pjaym17:

After many modes of dealing with the reservation line of L'Ami Louis, her is my suggestion -

You can take your chances with a hotel concierge. If (and it's a big IF) they can make and confirm for you a reservation, than more power to you.

Being the control freak that I am, I like to do everything myself, thus - I call about six weeks in advance. I always make it a point to reach then at about 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. their time on a Wednesday through Friday, as it's difficult to get them to answer the phone at any other time. When I call that early in advance they ALWAYS tell me 'call two weeks before, call two weeks before.' Fine. A couple of weeks later (about four weeks before I want the reservation) I call again. Sometimes (very rarely) they'll book you then - but most times they'll say again 'call two weeks before.' Fine. About ten days later (just outside the suggested two week zone) I call again. This time, I almost always get booked - especially if you want a coveted Sunday lunch reservation, because if you actually wait exactly until exactly two weeks before, they're suddenly 'fully booked, we have no tables!' When you call this time ask to speak to Louis (I don't know if that's his real name or not) - he's the only one who takes the bookings. Groveling is suggested and appreciated. Having someone who speaks fluent French call with you if you don't speak the language also helps.

After you have the reservation, I call to confirm with Louis seven days before my date. Then I call about two days before AGAIN to reconfirm with Louis (or at that point have my concierge do it on my behalf) - they have been known to 'lose' some American reservations. And that's how I've never had any problem getting a table at that restaurant.

And to WineTravel's comment:

Intelligent people can certainly have a difference of opinion. I've mopst of the chef's restaurants you've mentioned at one point or another and have had wonderful experiences. We just returned from Alinea in Chicago (the full 27 course flight) which was transporting!

But I'm just one of those guy who feels that my best (or imaginary last) meal would not involve the fireworks of Robuchon, the finesse of Keller, the extravagance of Anschatz, or the wizadry of Gagnaire. My perfect meal would be something humbler like a great burger, or a simple bowl of pasta with white truffles, but the dreamiest for me - the escargot, the roast Bresse chicken with potato galette, and a little duck confit or foie gras at Chez L'Ami Louis - and did I mention being in Paris on a Sunday in early winter with the late afternoon light filtering through the front of the dining room where I'd sitting with my wife?

Nov 24, 2006
matsonjones in France

CHEZ L'AMI LOUIS

Just back from Paris. Once again, went for Sunday lunch to Chez L'Ami Louis. I know the place certainly has its share of detractors (‘way too expensive,’ ‘better food of this type to be found in Paris,’ ‘you can do better on a value/cost basis,’ etc.), but I have to say it really is my all-time favorite restaurant meal. Period.

This time skipped the foie gras appetizer and had the duck confit (cold), and my wife and I shared our favorite dish on the menu - the escargot. The escargot at L'Ami Louis are one off the most fabulous things that I've ever put in my mouth. The duck was a departure from the usual foie gras appetizer that I order, and the meat was sooo dense and flavorful.

For the main course, we ordered what we always have had in the past - the roast Bresse chicken, served with a potato galette. The roast chicken is really to die for - so moist, with wonderful gravy. Many people order the pommes frites, but those in the know get the galette - so crispy outside and fluffy inside with fresh garlic on top. And a nice salad on the side as well.

The cost is definitely high, and getting reservations a process in itself, but despite the costs and difficulties, when one finally sits down and partakes of a lunch such as this in Paris with someone you love on an early winter Sunday afternoon, there is simply nothing that can be improved upon. Worth every Euro.

Nov 02, 2006
matsonjones in France

HELP - NEED NEW TRENDY DELICIOUS IN NYC

Okay folks - done, and done! Reaservation for Buddakan completed. Thanks for the input!

Oct 18, 2006
matsonjones in Manhattan

HELP - NEED NEW TRENDY DELICIOUS IN NYC

Hi Chowhounders:

Need some help with something not usually in my purview. My boss (37) wants a fourtop at a place in mid-November for a 9:00 dinner that is newish, super trendy, with great people watching/groovy overall vibe and good food/cocktails for a celebratory meal. I imagine that a place like Buddakan would probably fit the bill, but I would love to hear any other thoughts you might have out there.

I know that this is more of a foodie board, but any input would be really appreciated. Cost is not an issue, and we're one month out so getting a reservation should be a reality just about anywhere as long as I do it by the end of this week.

HELP! - and thanks...

Oct 18, 2006
matsonjones in Manhattan

Alinea Named Top Restaurant in U.S.

Just ate there a few weeks ago, had the full tour. Really a terrific experience. Accolades are very well deserved.

Sep 29, 2006
matsonjones in Chicago Area

Alinea

Hi mousse:

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I just really don't enjoy wine. I certainly understand your point for those who do, though.

On the other hand, it does seem like a shame to pay for pour after pour at an average cost of $8 - $10 (or far more!) each, and then only take a small sip or two - it would be like taking only a tiny nibble of each plate put before you. I'm guessing that most people who pay for many multiple pours at that price point really want to enjoy the wine and end up drinking the majority of it - which brings me back to the two points I raised in my earlier post.

Sep 14, 2006
matsonjones in Chicago Area

Alinea

As we are not serious wine drinkers, we only had water. So the math of about $7.50/dish (+ or -) works out pretty well in our case.

I've also found that in the course of a large 20+ course meal that two things can happen when one drinks anything other than water. First, in the case of many paired alcoholic beverages, one tends to become more or less drunk, and this greatly diminishes the taste of the food. In the case of anything other than water (alcoholic or not), all the beverage calories consumed in addition to the food can really induce an unpleasant feeling of caloric overload, almost a food coma, that can be quite distressing.

I find that in the course of a meal this long and large that water not only adds no additional calories, but small sips between each course greatly aids digestion and is the only palate cleanser that one requires. It allows me to enjoy the food to the fullest degree.

If we had the smaller 12 course tasting, I would not feel this way and would certainly indulge in some wonderful pairings of one type or another.

Sep 14, 2006
matsonjones in Chicago Area

Alinea

Ate at Alinea the other night for the first time. Many posts on this board already. I can only add that we did the full tour and had an absolutely marvelous experience.

The one thing that struck me halfway through the meal was the cost. The full tour is $175, and has 23 courses. Dividing the number of courses into the cost of the meal, it turns out that each course costs an average of $7.60. To me, this is phenomenal. While some of the courses are, of course, rather small, still - if many of these dishes were in a very upscale tapas-style restuarant in NYC (where I live), they could easily be double that on a per course basis. It seems absurdly inexpensive to me to pay an average of $7.60 per course for these types of plates requiring this type of expertise in a setting this lovely with service this polished.

While some have complained in past threads about the exorbinant cost of Alinea, I would counter with an argument precisely the opposite - this is one of the best meal deals in Chicago based on price criteria!

Sep 13, 2006
matsonjones in Chicago Area