Le Gabriel in the Hotel La Reserve, 42, ave. Gabriel in the 8th, 01.58.36.60.50, open 7/7 (Metro: FDR) is a place I originally crossed off my list due to its prices (120 E a la carte, 115 E tasting menu) but reviewers and one of my dear friends said "Go!." And Figaro said it had a 58 E lunch menu so I convinced myself if I could go to 48 E places, why not here? It's swank, there's no other word for it, dripping with staff.
Well, the carte is certainly vertiginous but when the lunch menu appeared and I saw it was two forced courses (1st and main or main and dessert) costing 67 E I felt taken. My dining partner, who's in the business, said she'd not heard a good thing about the place - food, service, etc. Oh no. but we soldiered on.
The amuse was a pleasant enough round of salmon with dabs of sauce and shaved things on top; the Cesar salad was a long quarter or eighth of lettuce with some Cesar sauce within and I a pitcher to add, plus cromesquis of lobster and sardines; the milk-fed lamb cooked seven hours' style was accompanied by a dense wine sauce and a superb puree; and the mignardises that came with our 9 E coffee were nothing special.
Our bill, with a bottle of nice Cheverny, no bottled water and no dessert (they were about 20 E each), was 186 E a couple.
Go? Haha You jest.