Again, i'd like to thank everyone who helped w/ my selections. Also a general thanks to everyone who adds to this board. I took a lot of info w/ me on my trip that I felt was invaluable while there.
Taillevent, lunch, Tuesday, November 13th.
First, i'd like to make it clear that this was my new wife and my first 2/3 star meal. So i'm going to go into some detail of what my experience was as a complete newbie.
From the moment we walked in, we felt somewhat nervous and overwhelmed by the attention. Our reservation was for 12:30pm and we arrived a few minutes early. We were greeted by 4 people. One woman who took our coats, another asked for our names for the reservation and then we were led to our seats. We had a nice table for 2 near the window in the first room. We were at this point, the only diners in the room (probably the restaurant), though i couldn't see all the tables in the 2nd room. We were asked if we wanted an aperitif and were presented w/ a small plate of delightfully light puffs of cheese bread. Mr. Vrinat then came and presented us w/ the a la carte menu and our waiter came and brought us the 3 set menus available. One was the 70 euro lunch menu, one was a 6 course degustation menu (140 euros) and an even more impressive 190 euro menu. We selected the degustation menu (we went well over my original budget when I was asking for suggestions on this board).
It is going to be quite difficult for me to describe all the food, so i'll stick to my experience more than anything. The food was all excellent. I am in agreement with what i have read that nothing that i ate was particularly special. The amuse was a light cream of mushroom w/ an artichoke flavored creme fresh to top. The first course was a crab salad topped w/ thinly sliced radishes. I tasted dill, chives, and some pepper powder sprinkled over the sides to add some heat. The next course was a wheat prepared rissotto style w/ frog legs. The third course were seared scallops over some sort of puree which i missed and a parsley/oil emulsion. Next came the main plate which was duck and a mix of fruits and vegetables (fig, dates, squash). the duck was topped w/ a really well done jus. The 5th course was a fresh goat cheese w/ herbs topped with an extremely thin cracker and dried olive tapenade and a small mesclun salad. There were 2 desserts. A chocolate mille feuille pastry with layers of mouses and ganache. There was also a fig dessert w/ caramelized fresh figs in a sabayon, and topped w/ a thin cookie and a fig foam. There also came a plate of 5 petit fours.
Everything was quite meticulously prepared and great tasting. Nothing, was new or out of the ordinary. New ground was definately not being broken, but it was truly a wonderful dining experience.
The service was impeccable. At one point when we finished our champagne, it took about 10minutes to be offered some wine. When the sommelier came over after ordering our meal, he asked if we wanted wine and i told him we would order by the glass after the aperitif. This stood out to me because it was the only time in the meal we felt we were somehow missing something, or that every tiny detail wasn't being taken care of.
The total bill came in at 353 euros. 2 degustation menus, 2 glasses of champagne, 2 glasses of wine, and a liter of water. I left a 20 euro tip on top of that. We left at about 2:45pm for about a 2.5 hour dining experience.
Lunch at Pierre Gagnaire to come later in the day.