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March 20, 2012

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Omid Tavallai

F*** 'em. Plenty of us Yanks keep Parisian dining rooms and reservation books full (including much French clientele, no less) without the support of the big guides or reams of tacky press releases or irritating copinage. If you're doing something special (which all of the above-named are), people will come seek you out and love you for it. Granted, some people clearly deserve more recognition, but as far as I'm concerned, each clean plate and return visit is more important than column inches. Getting press is very nice, and admittedly even more so in French, but I say keep the snubs coming – Americans thrive on being told what we can't do... and then doing it.

Alec Lobrano

Hi John,

It's worth pointing out that L'Express, Le Figaro and Le Fooding all gave tepid to hostile reviews to Verjus when it opened, with L'Express slamming it so hard that I couldn't help but wonder if their critic isn't suffering from some sort of mano-pause (excessive the wretched punning, and please don't publish my last name with this comment!).

Having traveled often in the U.S. with French friends, they often come away amazed by the quality and variety of American cooking, and one pal just back from NY recently said that she didn't think that Paris had a market that could hold a candle to Union Square in NYC during the height of the summer.

Cheers, Alec

Chrisos

I think that many many people wrote about Daniel Rose (Fooding, Michelin, to cite the most serious ones in France).
The first Spring in the 9th was also more than decently covered by the gastro press.

About Verjus : I asked for dinner availability end of 2011, and never got a reply. I read that this is not exactly a restaurant, so I guess that if professional restaurant reporters had the same experience, the simply cannot talk about it. I consider that if a restaurant does not even take 2 minutes to reply to potential customers is not looking for more customers and recommending it to your audience would not be a wise choice.

Then there is the "American bias" : Americans in Paris are a small community, with members, values and expectations different from other communities, such as the Fooding one, for example... Many French chefs and restaurants, with very good quality offers, are out of the radar of the Fooding and food papers (FigaroScope being the most reliable and less biased one). e.g. Pramil, in the 3rd, Makoto Aoki, in the 8th... These guys do not buy their products from Desnoyers or other famous and well connected wine sellers, so it takes more time for their true qualities to be "discovered" and confirmed, then reported in the French press (in which there is significant consanguinity and a stupid "followism" approach)
I don't think it is a matter of being American or not. If US chefs have no network connections with the Food papers, then information will take more time to transit.
Americans communicate informally inside their community, so information moves faster there.
Maybe if Daniel Rose invited the guys from Omnivore (or 50 World Best Restaurants, the intersection between these two sets is far from empty) in his place, then they would have become his "buddies" and invited him to host a show or a demo. Daniel seems to have opted for a collaboration with Japanese whiskies, hence limited influence in France and Paris.
That's all, not need for inventing any Anti-Americanism!

Jack Kirby

I'm American and maybe im just blind but I certainly do not detect any anti-Americanism. Isn't L'Office helmed by an American chef? Wasn't it awarded three hearts by Rubin?

I do believe Rose makes really good, creative food and at times, executes precise, elaborate flavors on the same level as Kei or Cobea, but is it deserving of a star? To me it's more in line with restaurants like Frenchie and Saturne. Those guys probably got more press because they hailed from big name kitchens. Rose's partner, Marie, comes from those kitchens but it's always known as Rose's operation. Most people, even Americans, who frequent the place are sadly not aware of Marie's presence.

And in the case of Verjus, the food is just really not that good. Was there in February and had their large menu. The best thing was the slightly dry buckwheat cake. I don't remember anything else I ate there other than the duck main - just because I've never seen such tiny slithers. Not a really good sign for me and I pretty much have to agree with the French press. They do have great, personable service and I still have to try their fried chicken but that's in the bar. Other than the great people who work there I have no reason to return, especially when there are so much better choices out there around that price point - such as Bigarrade.

I pretty much agree with Mr. Talbott's take on restaurants in Paris and his nose for new talent (discovered Table D'Eugene here). But in this case, I don't know if any of the views above are justified. And so what if they praise our burgers? Making a damn good burger is no easy feat and to write it off along with hot dogs is petty shame. That is, unless, you've never had anything more than an In-n-out or Five Guys as a reference.

From the decor, service and food plating, you know Cobea, Lignac and Marx are shooting for the star. Unashamedly so. But Rose does not and that's why I love his restaurant. In fact, I'm happy he did not win a star, in fear that he may change what he's doing at Spring.

Jim Hutchinson

I seem to remember hearing that Daniel Rose worked with Alleno at the Meurice after training at the Bocuse institute.

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