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Le Grand Vefour: Elegance and haute cuisine
We first dined at le Grand Vefour in 1989. Neither of us remembers what we ate, only that they were the finest meals we'd ever had. In February 2010 I sent an e-mail asking for a reservation in June. The next day I received a phone call from the restaurant -- Paris to Stockton, California -- advising me to resubmit my request 60 days in advance. That Is typical of the courtesy and superb service offered at le Grand Vefour.
In operation since 1784, the restaurant has served nearly every prominent Frenchman since. Napoleon wooed Josephine over long dinners at le Grand Vefour . This year we ourselves sat next to a plaque Identifying our table as the favorite of Honoré de Balzac.
The opulence of the restaurant's 18th century décor matches the high quality of Its kitchen. Grand Vefour rates twp Michelin stars today; it Has bounced back–and–forth between two and three for half–a–century.
Favorite Dish: My wife had cuisses de grenouille, jus à tomate (frog legs in a delicate tomato sauce) followed by Pigeon Prince Rainier III (roasted pigeon stuffed with foie gras and truffles). I started with foie gras de canard, pastéque et épices (duck foie gras In a watermelon terrine) and then had filet d'agneau à la surriette (slow–baked lamb). We washed it all down with an outstanding 1998 Châteauneuf du Pape Cadettes. (Rounds of delicious chef 's compliments preceded each course and our coffees and desserts.)
The cost? I'm not saying—except that It was nearly double the most we had ever previously paid for a meal even at other two–star restaurants.
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Le Grand Vefour: Napoleon's Table, S'il Vous Plait
This is a wonderful, historic place to eat lunch (the food is almost as good as the atmosphere). Daylight streams in and illuminates the paintings and antique mirrored surfaces, all facing onto the courtyard of the Palais Royale. Lunch can run around $200 (sans a bottle) - next time I would try the plat du jour.
Favorite Dish: No favorite.
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