Gourmet restaurants - Have you ever been in one and how was it?

MacGuffin

Forum Addict
DONOR
Joined
Mar 29, 2008
Messages
8,275
Location
Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Car(s)
'17 Ford Mustang GT Fastback
I've just returned home from a visit to a gourmet restaurant here in town, run by an award-winning chef and I must say, that it was a very special experience. The whole dinner lasted three-and-a-half hours and consisted of 4 to 9 courses.

I must say I am impressed. Like most people, I heard a lot about the "art of cooking", watched those fancy chefs make their stuff on TV shows but in truth had no idea what it was like to really eat in a gourmet restaurant.

I was invited of course (wouldn't want to pay about 100 Euros per person in average) to celebrate my mother's 70th birthday. It was her idea and I made the reservation. And that was when I was surprised for the first time, because they asked about any allergies or food incompatiblenesses, so they could offer a specially designed menu.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were already expected at the door and welcomed very friendly by a beautiful waitress, who got us seated on a table for four, which could also have hosted 8 persons. The whole restaurant only has space for about 20 guests. It's very quiet and tasteful there but also cozy, with modern furniture and lighting.

Three waitresses were efficiently, restless and very friendly attending to the needs of the guests. There was no hint of snobbishness or fanciful behavior, everyone was cool and unconstrained, yet sophisticated. They explained everything willfully to us, from the way we had to read the menu and could combine the courses, to the choice of a good wine. Also each course was explained in detail to us, when it was served.

And it was a true revelation. The combination of tastes, different temperatures and textures within one course was interesting, surprising and very delicious. The term "flavour explosion" got a whole new meaning for me this evening.

The title of today's menu was "Pure North ...innovation of nature" and you could choose and combine four to nine courses. Price ranged from 73 Euros for the 4-couse menu to 116 Euros for the 9-course menu. Freshly made onion-bread and crispbread with two different sorts of delicious butter was served between courses.

The menu I chose consisted of the following:

1. a) "Granat Marshmallow": Goat cheese, peanut flips & bacon, b) Corn ice-cream with chickweed, mountain ash, mushrooms, chicken skin & fois gras (each one served on a soup spoon)

2. "Blackberry Field": Foie gras, camomile dyke-grass flavored popcorn-ice cream, basil, cress & poulard reduction

3. "Mixed Pickles": Pumpkin with essence of wild boar ham, rasped wheat grass, Greek yogurt and North Sea shrimps

4. North Sea grey mullet "Butterscotch" with bacon and green apple grilled in beechwood ember, with herbs

5. Rump Steak BBQ, grilled, with stockfish brandade a la escabeche-earth made from fried mustard corns, "sauce rockefeller"

6. Ice cream with wholewheat bread and cheese flavour, bacon and chickweed

Most will probably frown, because it all sounds strange. Believe me, it also sounded very strange to us but the flavors were overwhelming. The idea alone to make ice cream with bread and cheese flavor, is very weird but together it tastes like a frozen sandwich, that melts in your mouth.

This certainly isn't something you wanna have every day. I think it's ok to have it not more than once a year but I recommend everyone such an experience at least once in their lifetime. This is not eating, it is a lifestyle experience.

Portions were small of course, yet we left the restaurant with a full stomach and funny enough, the mood at our table got better and better throughout the evening. Sometimes food can even be magical.
 
Last edited:

RaptorJesus

Resident Callboy
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
3,357
Location
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Yes, I've been to a few. I like 10 or fewer courses, when they have those 15 course degustations it's sensory overload I can barely remember the whirlwind.
 

laxmax613

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
4,071
Location
Tel Aviv, Israel
Car(s)
Merkavim Mars
i like more classic gourmet places. one of the nicest dinners of my life was at a fish restaurant in Stockholm a few weeks bad. everything was classic swedish and delicious.
 

remizak

Active Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2011
Messages
263
Location
IL
Car(s)
2010 nissian maxima
I have been to Alinea in Chicago it was definitely a unique experience. When I called to make the reservations they asked if anyone was a vegan, vegetarian or had food allergies which was great for me since I am a vegetarian. The meal was 22 courses and lasted about 3 hours give or take 15-20 minutes. Each course was better than the one before it with the taste and display and for the final dessert was made right in front of us at our table and was truly a work of art. I think between the 4 of us the total bill was around 1300 dollars wine included so its not a place you can go to every weekend but on very special occasions if you save up for a bit its well worth it.
 

RaptorJesus

Resident Callboy
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
3,357
Location
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I have been to Alinea in Chicago it was definitely a unique experience. When I called to make the reservations they asked if anyone was a vegan, vegetarian or had food allergies which was great for me since I am a vegetarian. The meal was 22 courses and lasted about 3 hours give or take 15-20 minutes. Each course was better than the one before it with the taste and display and for the final dessert was made right in front of us at our table and was truly a work of art. I think between the 4 of us the total bill was around 1300 dollars wine included so its not a place you can go to every weekend but on very special occasions if you save up for a bit its well worth it.
Have you tried L20? If you like seafood, I can think of no better place, even with Laurent Gras gone. Also Trotters is a classic, while Blackbird is good for a less fancy alternative. I've been trying to get into Achatz's new cocktail bar to see what they are cooking up.
 

Interrobang

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Messages
8,145
Have you ever been in one and how was it?
I have been to 3 "1 Star" (4 if you count the catering at a posh wedding) restaurants and one "2 Star" restaurant. The 2 Star one was the best Dinner in my life so far. But amoung the 1 Star ones, the experience differed a lot. Pretentious is a word I quite like to throw around in that context ... not that the food wouldn?t have been anything short of excellent in all of them ... but it just wasn?t my kind of dining experience in most of them. Trying "haute cuisine" made me realise, that it?s not something I really need in my life on a regular basis. I like simple, well made food more with some friends in a relaxed atmosphere than something on a spoon that an army of chefs spend the whole day throwing together. Sadly the term "gourmet restaurant" for me now comes with the association "stick up the arse".
 
Last edited:

laxmax613

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
4,071
Location
Tel Aviv, Israel
Car(s)
Merkavim Mars
There's a moroccan restaurant in Jerusalem called Darna where they serve a multi-course tagine meal that is to die for. We had my sister's bat mitzvah there and i've been back a few times. Very nice place.
 

Cowboy

My name is Sheridan
Joined
Mar 31, 2009
Messages
9,805
If anything those fancy cooking shows that are turning Chefs into celebrities are turning me away from the whole 'star' restaurant thing.....
Sure the food will be good and a workout for you taste-buds, would love to try the whole modern cuisine/molecular/whatever they come up with next week think, it will also be an experience, that's the part I would hate I think.

It's all so overdone and snobby, staff get's threated like dirt, and everybody is way to busy beeing important.....like one big fake world filled with people feeling above everybody else.
I know it's still mostly about the food, as it should be, but this whole snob thing that surrounds it makes me feel like a Camel at the north pole.
I hate beeing waitered on as it is, the idea of beeing waitered on and pampered to a degree you get in those places....I would feel awkward beyond belief if some poor overworked 18 year old would have to hurry just to get me a bloody bottle of water.

I'l take a table in the local restaurant anyday.
Owner knows who I am, people working there know who I am.....hell half of them know my first name, pop in with some friend, have a nice meal, all the time in the world, afterwards go have a few drinks in a nice local pub, no fuss, no falls pretentions, nobody beeing bossed around because of me: perfect evening.
 
Last edited:

ahpadt

Forum Addict
DONOR
Joined
May 7, 2006
Messages
9,831
Location
London
I was just at Pollen Street Social last friday and I didn't think it could be as good as the first time I went there, but it was. I had the 'full english', quail, halibut with paella, grouse, apricots/beets/carrot and 'lemon meringue'.

All very delicous dishes with effective service. The dessert bar at the end really rounds it off for me, both cos I really enjoy watching the kitchen at work but at the same time, talk to the person who's making my dessert.

It's so much better value than tonnes of 1 star joints, and at places like Pollen St Social they don't have retarded dress codes. Stuffy, overpriced and uninspired 1 star joints have gotten a lot of competition this last year or 2 in the UK. I value creativity, seasonality and price more than any accolade. If anything, 1/2/3 star joints will have higher prices just because of that accolade.
 
Last edited:

remizak

Active Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2011
Messages
263
Location
IL
Car(s)
2010 nissian maxima
Have you tried L20? If you like seafood, I can think of no better place, even with Laurent Gras gone. Also Trotters is a classic, while Blackbird is good for a less fancy alternative. I've been trying to get into Achatz's new cocktail bar to see what they are cooking up.
I haven't been to L20 my friend went there and said it was the best seafood he's ever eaten so chances are I will go there sometime when i have a bit of extra cash. I would love to try and get a seat at Grant's cocktail bar but chances are I never will be able to with there only being like 14 seats. Personally I think Trotters is a bit over hyped but that's just me.
 

RaptorJesus

Resident Callboy
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
3,357
Location
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I haven't been to L20 my friend went there and said it was the best seafood he's ever eaten so chances are I will go there sometime when i have a bit of extra cash. I would love to try and get a seat at Grant's cocktail bar but chances are I never will be able to with there only being like 14 seats. Personally I think Trotters is a bit over hyped but that's just me.
It's not groundbreaking food, but it is very very good, especially if you get the full grand menu with wine. Adds like 100 per head to the bill, but my god their sommelier is a genius, every wine paired perfectly to every course.
 

MacGuffin

Forum Addict
DONOR
Joined
Mar 29, 2008
Messages
8,275
Location
Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Car(s)
'17 Ford Mustang GT Fastback
When I called to make the reservations they asked if anyone was a vegan, vegetarian or had food allergies which was great for me since I am a vegetarian.
Simply say "No flavour enhancers". They'll love that ;)

If they have any sense of humour, that is...
 

Cobol74

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
17,507
Location
The banana republic of Ukania
Car(s)
Honda Accord 2.2 i-Dtec Sport Estate.Hyundai Ix20
I have been to one - MacDonalds I think it was called; had this clown bloke (Ronald Raygun was his name I think) pratting (Capering in a stupid and obnoxious way) about - it was great, wow I was hung over!
 

edkwon

Forum Addict
Joined
Nov 21, 2006
Messages
6,478
Location
The OC
Car(s)
2017 Kia Niro, 2015 911 Turbo
Been to several if people haven't figure out from my pictures. But like anything else, they fall all over the spectrum, some were sublime dining experiences and others were a complete waste of time & money.
 
Top