Restaurant Plaza Athenee (Alain Ducasse) | French Restaurant | Paris | France Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Restaurant Plaza Athenee (Alain Ducasse)
Restaurants and bars
Price: Very expensive

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +33 1 53 67 65 00
Address: H? Plaza Ath?e, 25 av Montaigne
Paris, 75008
Country: France
Food Style: French

Our review of Alain Ducasse's Restaurant Plaza Athenee in Paris was conducted before the rapid expansion of the Ducasse empire. It should be treated as of historical interest only. When we reviewed it, Alain Ducasse was regularly in the kitchen either here or in Monaco. So we have changed the score to unrated.
We didn't know what to expect when we booked at Alain Ducasse's Paris restaurant. We knew that he was riding high at the top of his profession having been the first person in history to receive six Michelin stars (three for his restaurant in Monaco and three for the Paris establishment). We also knew that three star restaurants had been receiving a lot of bad press for being overpriced and under-exciting. We also tend to judge restaurants mainly by the food and not by the extras such as chandeliers, tapestries and over-the-top service.
Nevertheless we decided to approach the experience with a positive frame of mind. We wanted to see how Ducasse compared to our three long-standing benchmarks for excellence - namely Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California and Tetsuya's and Rockpool in Sydney, Australia.
We arrived to be greeted warmly and were immediately taken by lift to the sumptuous first floor dining room. Very soon we were presented with a tiny pastry. There are good pastries and there are great pastries. This was a great pastry! It simply disappeared - there was no resistance to the bite - perfect!
The only slight irritation of the entire meal came when we insisted on perusing the gigantic wine list rather than simply taking the advice of the sommelier. We wanted to see what was on offer - and with a wine list of this magnitude you need some time.
We decided to order the Brillat Savarin degustation menu to ensure that we sampled a suitably wide range of dishes. This means that you accept the down side of not experiencing some of the elaborate dishes that are served from the a la carte menu. However, we were not disappointed!
A terrine of foie gras, artichokes and pigeon was served on a glass plate accompanied by a tiny salad, some almonds and truffles. It looked like a work of art! Technically perfect in its execution, it also tasted sensational!
This was followed by langoustines with tiny, tiny squid served with two slices of tomato which were, in turn, draped with a thin sliver of dried tomato. This was all served in a bowl with lots of the trademark olive oil.
Another seafood dish followed. The first impression was the incredible vibrancy of the deep green parsley sauce that accompanied a beautiful piece of sea bass and two clams. The sauce was fully flavoured and made a fine partner for the fish.
A nut of veal was overshadowed by a hollowed-out potato filled with an incredibly strong garlic puree. Excellent.
A cheese course followed of which the best of the six sampled was the Saint Marcellin. Walnut and plain bread was sliced at the table on request.
Desserts were quite interesting. We expected a 'constructed' dessert of great complexity with lots of 'centre height'. Instead we were served three perfectly poached peaches and some wonderful ice cream. There is no need to present the elaborate when you are dealing with flavours like this.
And, just in case we were not full by this stage, we were presented with figs in pastry with a raspberry puree to finish.
Overall this was a great meal with great service in a luxurious and refined location. The best overall restaurant experience we have had - so far!



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