17 Rue Du Beaujolais,
Phone: +33 1 42 96 56 27
Sometimes a restaurant can play a part. Some make you feel cool and in the know, while others make you feel sexy and in the mood. Le Grand Vefour makes you feel like a fancy Frenchmen (or women), so you’ll want to dress up for the part. If you’re looking to dine back in time — think France a la Louis XV — this two century old institution, which opened in the Palais Royal all the way back in 1784 is a marvelous option.
Dining at Le Grand Vefour is like dining in a museum and a stunning one at that. The neoclassic walls and ceilings are trimmed in mirrors with glass paintings of goddesses, red velvet banquettes, brass fixtures dangling from above, and tables dressed in white tablecloths. It’s a beautiful old school room where Victor Hugo and Napoleon used to dine, and now you can to. The wine list is overwhelming, though I won’t complain about great wine offerings.
But the butter was foreshadowing of the meal to come. Theirs was cold and hard, unusual for French better in these kind of establishments, and the bread was so-so. Once upon a time, Le Grand Vefour had three Michelin stars to go with it’s knockout of a room, but it lost one when Guy Martin stepped into the kitchen, and unfortunately that’s where he’s remained. If you ask me, he’s resting on the laurels of this historied spot’s reputation. The thing is that’s history.
I wasn’t wowed by anything on the menu, other than the Cheese Cart, which is flat out epic. But both the Roasted Prawn over Coriander-Laced Prawn Tartare, and the Bresse Chicken with Duck Liver were oddly bland. The Duck Liver Terrine with Pepper, Radish and Rhubarb was leaden, and the Roasted Lobster with ham, peas and rice foam was a bore. And I flat out hated the Artichoke Creme Brulee, though the Milk Chocolate Mousse on a Hazelnut Pedestal is worthwhile.
Unfortunately, these days Le Grand Vefour is all looks.