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Avoid: Restaurant Goumard, Paris

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Avoid: Restaurant Goumard, Paris

Steve G | Jun 8, 2006 04:17 PM

Just back from a generally great 2 weeks in France and London, I wanted to post with all haste that hounds should avoid Restaurant Goumard in Paris.

We chose Restaurant Goumard hoping for some delicately prepared seafood on the lighter side, as it is billed as a Parisian institution that flies in fish from the coast daily. We were a bit tired of rich meat and cheese and were hoping for a change.

At best, the chef is good at sourcing ingredients, at worst s/he is insultingly lazy and uninspired when preparing dishes.

Bread was not warm, which seems to be standard in Paris. Why?

My 6 oysters (selected because nothing really inspired me from the starters) were delightfully fresh and briny, if poorly shucked. I had a fair amount of shell in a few of them, which I don't really expect at 29 Euros for 6 oysters. BF's crab things also contained lots of shells, and again, at over 30 Euros for 3 or 4 quenelles of crab, you expect some care to be taken with the shelling.

Main courses were less than the sum of their parts. BF's dover sole was a tad more cooked than one would like or expect, considering the claimed provenance of the raw ingredients. It was also very lightly seasoned, simply cooked. As it was a special recommendation from the waiter, we were expecting the fish itself to be exceptional but it was really quite ho hum. Perhaps we're spoiled by having eaten in good sushi restaurants where fish that is actually carefully selected is flown in regularly? This dish was just insipid.

My main course was squid over "a marriage of lobster stock and vegetables." It turned out to be perhaps 1 tablespoon of good quality lobster stock with dice of barely cooked zucchini and halved cherry tomatoes. Perhaps a touch of saffron was also in the sauce. The squid was pieces from the body, prepared with crosshatch slices and gently seared the way you find squid prepared in innumerable southern style Thai restaurants in San Francisco. This dish was definitely less than the sum of the parts, and I'm frankly confused as to why they would be using flavorless early season French tomatoes in a 45 Euro dish. The squid itself was advertised as wild, which I thought would be a given.

After we each tasted our main courses and traded tastes, we agreed that these dishes weren't worth filling up on and we would rather eat just about anywhere else in Paris. We flagged down the waiter and told him we were done eating, and requested the check. He glanced at our plates and asked if anything was wrong, to which we replied that the dishes were just so so and we didn't feel like eating them. He replied that nobody had ever said that, implying that it was preposterous we should say such a thing and that our palettes simply didn't appreciate the food. I replied that I could make my dish at home and that I was hoping for more in a restaurant. He huffed some more and left, returning with the check.

His claim that nobody had ever said they were disappointed with a dish was belied by the restaurant only peaking at 1/4 full on a Friday evening, and the complete absence of any other diners expressing any form of pleasure with their food.

Wine was good, and we enjoyed finishing the bottle after settling the bill.

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