L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Dramatic Dining Experience
Restaurant: L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Location: 5 Rue Montalembert, 75007 Paris, France
Chef: Axel Manes
Rank: #31 – Top Restaurants in the World 2014
Stars: 2 Michelin Stars (2014)
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This is my first Joel Rubuchon restaurant experience, so there was no expectation for the dinner. Initially, we were taken aback at the restaurants inability to accept early arrivals with a large group of diners left waiting outside for more than 30 minutes. Deep breath and putting that aside, we were welcomed into a slick, dark interior with a sushi-train style seating area. Delightfully different after a lot of table dining.
We were seated on the corner which was good as we could slightly face each other over dinner. The wait staff were behind the bench and served each dish over the servery. At first this was an interesting idea, but after several dishes, the height of the servery was impractical (call that industrial engineer/architect stat!).
Our degustation was a lovely combination of light and rich dishes with a gentle progression from vegetables and fruits, seafood and soups to dark meats and eventually insanely rich desserts including molten dark chocolate with gold dust.
Whilst we were enjoying the experience, the diners on either side of us were missing dishes, which was a little disturbing as they watch us be served and then complain they didn’t get their dishes! Now, I know mistakes can happen during service and I’ve seen wait staff handle issues beautifully, in this instance there was so much confusion that one of the diners left the restaurant in disgust (leaving his romantic intentions on the floor next to his date!).
The close-knit dining experience exacerbated this for us which was really unfortunate since we had quite a nice dinner.
This experience with Joel Rubuchon’s restaurant chain will not be my last, but hopefully it will be my worst experience.