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paris help -- selecting dishes at five 3-star places in a week

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paris help -- selecting dishes at five 3-star places in a week

Dustin_E | Mar 30, 2012 03:21 PM

hey all,

i'm going to be in paris for a week exploring some of the 3-star restaurants in early may. this is my tentative itinerary:

monday: le meurice dinner - probably tasting menu
tuesday: ambroisie dinner - langoustine, foie appetizer, chicken? lamb? sea bass? sole?
wednesday: ledoyen lunch - lunch tasting, "noodle castle", "yeast ice cream"
thursday: adpa dinner - not yet sure what to order, other than langoustine caviar consomme dish
friday: arpege lunch - probably lunch tasting

I'm pretty confident these are the restaurants i want to visit (thus far have reservations confirmed for 3 of the 5), but am not entirely sure what to order in them. suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Some specific questions:

1. does meurice do customized tasting menus, or allow substitutions to their regular tasting menu?

2. it appears from the website that Mathieu Pacaud is gradually taking over for his father at l'ambroisie, and some of the dishes look at bit less traditional than they've been in the past. anyone know if this the case? i've heard good things about their chicken. is this only on the menu certain seasons?

3. any ultra-seasonal items i should look for? i've heard of wild salmon from l'Adour. Anything else that might be very unique to this time of year?

4. I like lamb a lot. Anywhere in particular i should get lamb? is lamb from pauillac the best? i'm thinking perhaps a bistro might be better than a michelin-starred place, since it is just a big piece of meat.

5. cheese. I will probably only get cheese at one or two of these top restaurants. Anyone know where it is the best? my default would be to get the compte at arpege, and a varied selection (probably including a roquefort and an epoisses) at ledoyen. but perhaps there are some others i should look out for?

6. ledoyen lunch tasting and the "noodle castle". does the tasting menu ever have the "noodle castle" on it?

7. alain ducasse at the plaza athenee. will they split entrees? can just one person do a tasting menu, while the other orders a la carte? my girlfriend is a _much_ lighter eater than i am. (and sometimes falls asleep during long meals, lol.)

I also would like suggestions as to what else to eat, given i'm already committed to a single big heavy expensive meal each day. i'm not opposed to eating just baguettes and drinking juice for the other meals each day, but surely there is a better choice. price isn't too much of a concern, but length of meal and heaviness is.

i have been to paris only once before in 2009, where i tried arpege (an all time favorite), ledoyen (nice, but i didn't not order well, and drank too much), and pierre gagnaire (did not enjoy -- too crazy for me :-) ) also enjoyed macarons from pierre herme and laduree and putting together a picnic from some shops on rue cler.

i'll be in london eating pretty casually on the weekends on both sides of this gourmet week. when i'm not in a restaurant i expect to be walking for many hours each day exploring museums and the city.

i'm visiting from san francisco. i'm trying to focus on very traditional, very high end french, as i think we lack that here.

any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. thanks!!

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