Paris, Loire, and Entre deux mers

La Rotonde.

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I can’t help but notice that the cote de boeuf is sold by weight: minimum 1,2 kg for 2 people. That’s a huge piece of beef. Not sure my wife and I could finish that!

Yes, and my partner doesn’t like steak… :neutral_face:

It’s common practice though in a lot of European restaurants. Usually you can just ask if they have any small ones. Also keep in mind that the bone takes up a lot of weight, i.e. a 1.2 kilogram steak should be okay for 2 people with a healthy appetite.

Oops. I don’t know why I missed this thread but I did.

Re Virtus. The new team is much less adventurous and improvisational than the original duo. I miss the surprises but still enjoy every meal there.

The cooking at Virtus is now very much in the “bistronomie” mode but there are other Michelin 1-stars, like Le Châteaubriand, where the cuisine is exceptionally creative. It’s impossible to throw all Michelin 1-stars into single style rubrique. But I certainly agree that there are lots of exceptionally good restos outside the Michelin universe.

You seem to be complaining about the “safe” cooking of your one and only Michelin-starred meal and yet you prefer trad cuisine which is familiar, predictable, and very safe. I’m not sure if I quite understand.

A little advice. Avoid taking pics of every dish. The steak tartare at La Rotonde looks like a “bouse de vache”. (Evil grin)

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Re the safe cooking: I can only eat what is in front of me. So, no, I don’t have a comprehensive view of all Michelin food in Paris. And thus glad to learn there is more out there. I trust your opinion!

But what I’ve eaten at Virtus confirms my visits to other Michelin starred places, eg in my home country The Netherlands.

I think it also depends on what someone considers ‘safe’. Safe can indeed mean doing the same old tired dishes that have been done forever, eg the tartare de boeuf. I can see how a native French person would find this more offputting than others, probably.

For me ‘safe’ means a flavour profile that stays within narrow boundaries, and has a bias towards sweet. One of the things that struck me was how in most dishes at Virtus an acidic note was absent, whereas for me (an outsider) that is one of the defining characteristics of French cooking, using eg a sharp dressing for salads - compared to say the other two major European cuisines, i.e. Spain and Italy.

I always try to give an honest opinion, devoid of any bias, and that is what I’ve tried to do here. I’d happily visit more Michelin starred places in Paris and France, but I’m not going to be the guy that will fill his whole week with stars so to speak. But next time I’m visiting Paris I sincerely hope you guys will continue to guide and advise based on your own preferences. It’s wonderful to compare and discuss. So, thanks!

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I’m not sure if I get this acidic characteristic of French cooking. Sure, there are some vinaigrettes that are a bit tart but just as many that are not. For the very traditional carottes rapées, for instance, my grandmother (a superb and very French home cook) always adds a bit of sugar to the vinaigrette. The same for a salade de tomates or salad with frisée or endives. And some stews get a dash of vinaigre or lemon, others don’t.

Bistronomie is in some ways just elevated, updated and prettified trad. If you find it just too safe, there are other restos for exploring less “safe” modern French cuisine. It’s just a matter of making your preferences clear and finding a good restaurant that matches those preferences. One of the joys of Paris especially is that there are so many possibilities.

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Just my deux centimes on safe cooking and Michelin stars as I’ve eaten at a fair number of restaurants that have gone from unstarred to starred over the years. For many chefs, it seems, the star was their goal, and having achieved it and being able to raise their prices accordingly, they do settle into a safe mode and seem to want nothing more in their professional life. Others have a deeper interest in their production of food and satisfaction of their customers and keep coming up with new things.

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I think I grabbed your meaning, I got this frustrating feeling at times in fine cooking. Technically the cooking is perfect, but there isn’t one dominant flavour in the dish to define a character. Or too much is leave to nature good produce.

Although I have another thinking on this, French cooking is on harmony balance of flavour, so unlike other cooking that has more character or more ‘imbalance’.

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