Restaurants & Bars

l'atelier/pinxo--a tale of 2 chefs (part 2) long

fai jay (fai jackson) | Feb 12, 200612:59 PM

As promised here is my review of Pinxo, the bistrot of the chef from Carre des Feuilles. The first thing I noticed was how different the physical surroundings were to L'Atelier. There are black tables,chairs and bar and the windows have lovely natural coloured blinds trimmed in black. The feeling is New York Chic istead of the elegance and asian feel of L'Atelier. The tables set this room apart from the other. Since I was alone I chose a seat at the bar, with the chefs and their equipment were, so I could watch. The offerings on the menu were also very different. It had tapas and main courses after much deciding and chatting with the waiter here was what I decided on:

1. Roll of Fresh Crab 20Eu
2. Aquitaine Beef Sirloin with Mashed Potatoes 22Eu
3. Fried Brioche (Pain Perdu or French Toast)
Reisling Ballenberg 2004 (Haeglen)--the server looked taken aback and complimented my choice to go with the sweetness of crab.

VDP Cevannnes Dom.Des Bon Auspices "Carnigan Vieux Vins) {an excellent and elusive bottler} 2002

Crab Roll: It was a very large roll, but I thought for 20 euros they could have cut back on the lettuce and put in a bit more crab. It was not steamed long enough and the wrapper had hard spots. Generally, this was a pleasant dish garnished with a line of chopped peanuts (memories of chinese steamed dumplings with pork and peanut stuffing)with a sauce I could not identify. It had a nice contrast in textures and a good flavour.

Steak: The steak was very well prepared and presented the chewier texture of European Beef. However, the taste of the meat was superior and the mashed potatoes outstanding--some how the mountain tops were crispy (Yum since I am a potato nut).There was a sauce that vaguely resembled HP but believe it or not tasted quite good and I liked its slight sweetness.

Steamed Vegetables in Broth: This was sent over by the chef as a gift. The broth was extremely flavourful and delicious and the vegetables perfectly steamed. Good dish.

Fried Brioch: Delicious--just the way I like it, all crispy and hot on the outside and custardy in the middle with a lovely scoop of home made vanilla ice cream.

Obsevations: It was fun to watch the line cooks work with the supervision of the Chef and Sous Chef. There were 3 line cooks. One worked the grill for fish, one the grill for meat and the third and youngest the appetizers/tapas--the busiest station and overseen by the chefs, but they could have watched a little closer to prevent my unevenly done wrapper. I observed that only the chefs could touch the squeeze bottle and put the final touch to the dishes. I also suspected a microwave around the corner where I could not see, but a lot of action was going on there and that was where the chef stood.

Okay, so what are the differences in these two places. I think my reviews make it clear. One is about innovation and leading the way the other is traditional with a modern touch. But, the real difference is between a great chef and a very good chef. One is a Restaurant the other a Bistrot. If asked to chose one I would go to Atelier, but Pinxo would outrank a lot of other places.

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