L'Atelier Joel Robuchon
Address: 7 rue de Montalembert 75007 Paris
Tel: 01 42 22 56 56
Metro: Rue du bac
Directions: exit the Rue du bac metro station and follow the signs that say "Musee D'Orsay". Walk up Rue du bac and you will see the road make a slight fork to rue de Montalembert. The restaurant is very easy to spot from the street.
Reservations: Yes, for the first seating only (6:30PM)
Date of Visit: January 12, 2008
On Saturday January 12, 2008, I had dinner at L'Atelier Joel Robuchon. I made a reservations about 2 weeks prior to the visit. They only take reservations for the first seating because dinner here can be short (an hour or two) or very long (3-4 hours) depending on what you order and your pace. Like most European restaurants, they do not rush you and they don't seem to mind if you linger for awhile after your meal.
The restaurant is divided into two sections. When we walked in at 6:40PM, there were some others who were just walking in and the host politely told them that they could not get a table unless they had a reservation. He did invite them to go to the bar though. The entrance is in the middle of the restaurant and the bar area is to the left and the restaurant is to the right. The restaurant is primarily counter seating only (similar to a sushi bar) and seats roughly 15 or so people. There is one table along the wall on the right side that seats 3 or 4 but those diners also sit along the table on one side and face the wall.
The service was excellent. Parisian restaurants don't always have the best service (it can be a little snooty at times) but the wait staff here was excellent. My French is not very good and my friend does not speak any French and they had no problem speaking pretty good English. It looked like about 1/4 or so of the patrons were tourists speaking English. We met a nice couple next to us from Barcelona.
The menu is divided into 3 pages. The first page contains appetizers. These are all small tapas style dishes. The next page contains 3 sections. The first is for larger appetizers, the second is for main courses of fish and beef, and the third section are the cheeses. And the third page is a fixed price section with an assortment of dishes.
Most of the small appetizers range from around 15-30 euros. The main courses range from around 30-60 euros. The fixed price menu was 115 euros per person.
For wine, they do have a decent wine list consisting of wines by the glass or bottle. They also had big bottles of white and red house wines for the evening. I had the white and it was very good.
The waiter explained the specials for the day. The best special was a spaghetti or ravioli with black truffles. He suggested that we split this dish into two for an appetizer. The price was 100 euros. He also had a special fish (Dover Sole) for 60 euros. There were a few other specials but I don't recall what they were.
For my appetizers, I ordered the foie gras and smoked salmon. For my main dish, I ordered the fish special (Dover Sole). My friend ordered the shrimp appetizer and steak. We also ordered the spaghetti with black truffles split into two dishes for another appetizer.
Le foie gras frais de canard cuit au torchon
As expected, the foie gras was excellent. It wasn't quite melt in your mouth soft but it had a very good consistency and balance of fat. The portion size was perfect.
La langoustine en papillote au basilic
The shrimp was excellent but a bit overpriced. The appetizer is literally one piece of shrimp for 26 euros. I would not recommend this dish simply because of the size (or lack thereof).
Les spaghettis aux truffes noires
The spaghetti with black truffles was superb. The cream sauce and truffle had just the right perfect balance of flavor without being overpowering. Yes, it is an expensive dish (100 euros) but it was most superb. This dish was the best dish of the evening.
Le saumon fume norvegien avec une gaufre
The smoked salmon was excellent. It was not too salty, not too dry, etc...just right. This was much bigger than I thought so I was geting a bit full by this time. This dish could easily be shared by 2 people.
La noix d'entrecote de Baviere ou de Normandie
The steak was a bit fatty (perhaps this was a rib eye?) but big and tasty. It was an excellent main course.
La Sole a la plancha ou meuniere
The fish was superb. It was huge and I was only able to eat half of it. The fish was seasoned with herbs that fully brought out the flavor of this fish. It came with a side of very rich and buttery mashed potatoes. This dish could very easily be shared as the main dish for 2 people.
Dessert was "Le Chocolat Sensation" and a berry and chocolate dish (Le Multivitamine ganache au Chocolat Jivara). Both desserts were superb. The chocolate sensation included 3 types of chocolate.
For wine, we had their house wine which was a Reisling Trimbach. We also ordered a few glasses of the Traminer 2005 as well. We also had 2 glasses of champagne (Champagne brut 1er, Bruno Paillard).
As I mentioned earlier, the service was excellent. Our waiter was very friendly and we had some pleasant conversation about where we're from, etc. When I was eating the fish, my friend really liked the rich and buttery mashed potatoes so I gave it to him. They noticed that and brought out 2 more of those dishes when he cleaned the bowl. I was also taking some pictures so they offered to bring out the raw fish for me to take a picture of the fish before they cook it.
Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. We over-ordered a bit so our check was a lot higher than it could have been. Dinner for 2 including everything was 406 euros. If we had not ordered the spaghetti with black truffles, the champagne, and gotten a less expensive fish, etc...it would have been around 200 euros.
Pictures are available at http://danpaik.com/gallery/4176717#24...