Went to Pigalle last night with fairly high expectations based on lots of positive reviews on this board and their website that proclaims that "Food and Wine" named their chef, "Best New Chef" for 2004, but came away terribly disappointed. The positives, the restaurant is very attractive and the waitstaff and hostess were very friendly and professional. The word that keeps coming to mind for the balance of the meal, the portion size, the pricing, the quality of the cooking, is pretentious. It seems to me that they believe that they are much better than they really are.
First, I want to say that throughout our meal, the restaurant was very slow, perhaps 3-4 tables or about 10-12 diners total so there should have been no excuse for turning out poor food, they certainly did not have the pressure of a full restaurant and a backed up kitchen struggling to get food out. One odd (pretentious) thing about the bread service: they served each one of us one piece of what I would describe as very average bread (not artisinal bread) on our own individual plate and when we each finished, the servers removed the barely used bread plate and provided us with a new one for the next slice of bread...a little unnecessary. Only one of the 3 of us got an appetizer which was a mushroom consumme (broth) with a few pieces of shitake and 3 miniscule duck quennelles, it was tasty but certainly not worth the $15 price tag. For entrees, my daughter got the tenderloin ($40), I got the sirloin ($46) and my wife got a mushroom risotto ($38). Both the tenderloin and sirloin, I estimate as between 4-6 oz pieces, not very large for the pricepoint. I ordered my sirloin medium rare and it came out with no observable pink or red, I believed to be medium to medium well. I asked the waiter what he thought and he said he thought it looked more like medium. He offered to take it back if I didn't mind waiting which I had him do and what was a little odd was that he had another piece out in less than 5 minutes saying, "we had another one in the pipeline" but it came out so quick it made me wonder if these had been precooked and were being held? The second piece was equally small, cooked medium rare to medium but lacked a strong beef flavor. My wife's risotto was delicious but noticeably undercooked, a little too much of a crunch, 5 more minutes on the stove would have been perfect but because I had sent my meal back, she did not want to do the same. All I could think of is that if this were "Hell's Kitchen", my steak and the risotto would never have left the kitchen and would have been splattered against the wall in an obscenity laced tirade from the Executive Chef. None of us had dessert but we had a total of 5 glasses of wine and 1 cappaccino. Total bill for 1 appetizer, 3 entrees, 5 glasses of wine and 1 cappaccino was $203 plus tip. Not to be repetitive, but given the pricing, the portions were ridiculous and given that the restaurant was very slow, there was no excuse for sending out overcooked steak and undercooked risotto.