As usual, full review with photos of all the dishes at the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...
I recently heard from a very knowledgeable source that L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in the Four Seasons Hotel will close very soon. Even though it is not a particularly popular restaurant with foodies, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon holds a very dear place in my heart.
When L'Atelier opened in NYC I did not hesitate to go, even with the prohibitive NYC prices. I remember eating truffle bread from their bread selection, which they stopped making soon after as it was too expensive. I remember just walking in and finding a seat at the counter around the open kitchen, and then being unable to do so once 2006 rolled in and the market did nothing but go straight up. But I guess times have indeed changed if they are unable to be profitable even with the stock market testing back near the highs again.
Even though the one in NYC is closing, there is comfort in the knowledge that there are still many more around the world. It really does not matter too much which L'Atelier you go to. I've been to the ones in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, and Las Vegas, and the menus don't really change. Perhaps that (and the exorbitant prices) is why it is not as popular in this day and age, what with the big locavore movement and the constantly blurring line between foodies and hipsters.
The meal begins with excellent bread. Another thing that hasn't changed much since the beginning. The crunchy mini baguettes were exactly as I remembered them.
LA LANGOUSTINE - CRISPY LANGOUSTINE PAPILLOTE WITH BASIL PESTO
One of the signature dishes from the very beginning, and just as intensely flavored as I remember it. A meaty piece of perfectly cooked langoustine in a crispy yet not oily fried skin, balanced beautifully with the earthy basil pesto.
LE RIS DE VEAU - SWEETBREADS WITH A SPRIG OF FRESH LAUREL, STUFFED ROMAINE LETTUCE
Whether it was a tiny sliver of veal at the Mansion in Las Vegas or veal sweetbreads at L'Atelier in Paris or in NYC, the most flavorful veal I've ever had by far has always been at Joel Robuchon's restaurants.
LE ZEPHYR AU FROMAGE - GRUYERE CHEESE SOUFFLE, JULIENNE OF IBERICO HAM, FRISEE SALAD
This was good, but not as mind-blowing as I was expecting from the description of the dish.
LES BURGERS - BEEF AND FOIE GRAS BURGERS WITH LIGHTLY CARAMELIZED BELL PEPPERS
Another signature since the very beginning, this is my must-order item. Intensely rich yet balanced just right with the peppers without the need for sweet or tart flavors to cut the richness. Deeply satisfying. The homemade ginger ketchup and fries are delicious too.
L'ONGLET - 6OZ ROASTED WAGYU HANGER STEAK, WASABI SPINACH AND HARELQUIN PEPPERS
Deeply flavorful with excellent tenderness for hanger steak. The wasabi spinach was a great accompaniment.
LA CAILLE - FREE RANGE QUAIL STUFFED WITH FOIE GRAS, POTATO PUREE
Another of the early signatures, this small tasting portion of the quail was full of flavor, even though it is no longer my favorite preparation of quail stuffed with foie gras (new favorite is at SHO). Accompanying this dish is the one dish most associated with Robuchon's cooking, the heart attack in a bowl potato puree concoction that is more cream and butter than potato. So worth the artery clogging.
LE CHOCOLAT - CHOCOLATE CUSTARD, LIGHT ALMOND "PANNA COTTA", CHOCOLATE POP ROCKS, MILK ICE CREAM
A delicious assortment of tastes and textures perfect for those who like chocolate but aren't crazy for it.
LE TENDANCE - CHOCOLATE CREAM, BITTER CHOCOLATE SORBET AND OREO COOKIES
Much stronger in chocolate flavor.
LE SPHERE - WHITE CHOCOLATE SPHERE FILLED WITH RASPBERRY FLAVORS AND YUZU ICE CREAM
A good combination of rich and light flavors. I remember when this used to be called LA SUCRE, focusing on the sugar-spun sphere that gleamed like a large christmas tree ornament. This sugar sphere was one of the original signature dishes unique to the NYC branch, before they took it off the menu for a while because it took a lot of effort to make.
The prices are exorbitant, but the food is delicious. If you've never tried the signature dishes, it's worth trying them at least once. Or if you just want to relive tastes and memories like I did, it's most certainly worth revisiting before it's gone.
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