A Forest Hills Life

Another voice in the wilderness of central Queens working towards Forest Hills 2.0.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Non FH Restaurant Blogging - L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Well, since I seem to spend most of my time not in Forest Hills, I might as well blog about non-FH stuff as well.

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Went there for my wife's birthday. First thing, the decor. A bit deco, a bit 80's. Neither inviting nor of the moment, so I'm not sure what they were thinking with that.

The service was quite good. I had informed them of my wife's dietary restrictions when making a reservation and the waitress was well informed. However, the chef didn't seem very flexible. Given the price point, leaving off the sauce on one of the fish dishes (as they all had meat which my wife doesn't eat) doesn't strike me as the mark of a top restaurant or chef.

I will say, they did alter the amuse which she enjoyed. Sort of a deconstructed ratatouille. Mine was a shot glass with gorgonzola, port wine reduction and quince. Not something I would ever think I would like, but it all worked together amazingly.

We each selected two tasting portions (the menu is divided into tasting portions, traditional appetizers and entrees). I started with the crispy frogs legs with garlic purée and parsley coulis. These were perfectly fried and the frog meat was tender, but as was to be the theme with the rest of the dishes, it seemed to be lacking something. Lets call it salt. Or any depth of flavor and seasoning. The technique was great, the ingredients good. But the dish lacked something. The same can be said of my next dish, quail stuffed with foie gras, truffled potato purée. Although here, the truffle slices on the potato weren't really up to snuff. Again, the quail was perfectly cooked, but the dish didn't do it for me.

My main dish was the best of the bunch. Its not on any of the online menus, but I believe it was loin of venison with poached pear and candied ginger. They also brought a dish of the "famous Robuchon" potato puree, as the server put it. The venison was cooked just right and was delicious. Though still underseasoned. In one bite, the venison and the pear and the ginger worked well, but there wasn't much of the ginger or the pear. And that potato puree doesn't really deserve to be famous. Not as good as Craft's or a number of other places.

For Dessert I had the tart tasting. 5 slices of various tarts. Cinnamon, chocolate, peanut butter, passion fruit-banana and something else. This was quite good.

My wife was underwhelmed with her first tasting plate. A dish of eggplant around tuna tartar, she said she couldn't taste the tuna. Then a gazpacho, which I though wasn't really seasonally appropriate, but she said it was really good, but very cold. Finally she had the Turbot, without the sauce. Fishy, is what she said.

All in all, some beautifully prepared and presented food, that just lacked depth and in my opinion was under-seasoned. At this price point, and lower, I have had much better and more enjoyable meals and more accommodating service.


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