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Mediocrity at Atelier de JR

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Mediocrity at Atelier de JR

cabrales | Dec 5, 2003 11:37 PM

Below, a less-than-satisfactory meal at Atelier de JR.

-- Les Oeufs au Plat "Bernard Loiseau" (9 euros).

This is a large dish quantity-wise, relative to its price. I asked the dining room team member what relationship Robuchon had to Bernard Loiseau, and was told, as I knew, that they were not particularly friends and had no obvious relationship prior to Loiseau's death. Hmm, I guess then that the reference to Loiseau could be viewed favorably as an hommage, or it could be viewed as an exploitative and marketing-driven reference.

Two egg yolks were runny and delicious, sitting on top of a separately-cooked nicely wobbly layer of egg white on a gratin dish. The separate cooking of the yolks and the white was indicated to us by the dining room team member. There were large pieces of buttered, hard-textured bread, cut into large elongated (almost french-fry, but with points) shapes (intended for dipping into the yolk, although I found that unnecessary). The bread had melted butter on it, but I believed (and was confirmed in my belief by a dining room team member) that the butter was not the Bordier version utilized for JR's pommes purees. On the right-hand-side of the overall dish was a moderate-sized piece of cooked bacon/ham-like item that was extremely salty. One bite was enough to keep the taste in my mouth for many minutes, despite its prseumably having been intended to offset the neutrality of the egg white. The egg white reminded me of the texture of chawanmushi in Japanese cuisine. Overall, an acceptable-plus dish.

-- Le Carpaccio de noix de Saint-Jacques (15 euros, app).

Medium sized scallops strewn on a plate, with a lot of reddish/orangish chilli powder on them and moreover a chilli-ladden olive-type oil below them. There might have been chives or a greenish herb on the carpaccio pieces as well.

Weak because the starkness of the flavoring eliminated the ability to sample the scallop and to taste its presumably inherent sweetness (?). I disliked this dish considerably, although the scallop was not itself poor.

Caille caramelisee, puree a la truffe blanche (35 euros).

The quail was cut into 4 pieces, and really tasted like soy chicken purchased in certain Chinese takeaway stores. Not that the quail was bad in texture, but it might have been overcooked for my tastes. Also, the soy-like sensations (I am not saying there was soy; with almost a honey connotation) overwhelmed the quail. Still, it was not particularly bad.

Another problem was that the quail did not match at all either of its two accompaniments. First, the potato puree with white truffle slices sitting on top of them/on their side (not that large, but the truffle slices were fairly large). The potato puree lacked subtletly. It was allright on its own, perhaps even bordering on fairly good, but it did not match the soy component of the quail. Even worse was the little mass of salad that was too salty inherently for the quail.

-- Steak tartare, frites a l'ancienne (25 euros).

We ordered this after seeing an adjacent diner take it in. A large roundish disc of steak tartare that suffered from an unduly mushy texture and that did not really allow the flavor of the steak to express itself. The meat tasted like it was too linked to other meat. A poor dish.

The frites a l’ancienne were french fries with zig-zag shapes to each fry. They did not taste like Robuchon potato dishes should. Disappointing, although they were presumably made with rattes.

Wines by the glass take in were (1) Roussane Alquier VDG de l'Herault (11 euros), and (2) Colombette Lledoner Pelut (11 euros). Chateldon in a 1/2 bottle was inexpensive at 3 euros. Total bill was 105 euros for two -- a very inexpensive meal. However, the meal was not good.

I also found the place increasingly cheesy. The red and black color scheme is ornamented with things like bowls of fake ice, jars of vegetables and fruits (up top) and common orchids, has an ugly red water glass, has a certain superficiality to its decor :(

I don’t plan to return to this venue, unless I have to. This is my second or third visit, and it just confirms my dislike for this place :(

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