L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon is above all fun. On Sunday night at 10 pm, the place was packed with the usual assortment of foodies from all over the world and a few would-be models struggling to find a seat. My neighbors to the left and right, struggling in English, urged us to try a glass of the 2003 Segla Margaux whose double magnum our server was proudly parading around the bar. The first sip revealed that classic
We enjoyed a most delicious brandade, somehow eclipsing Le Comptoir’s masterpiece from the previous day, and a platonically good green asparagus veloute soup rivaled only by the chestnut veloute we had there in December 2003. Also outstanding was a variation of the Alsatian La Flammenkuche, a pastry cooked to a crisp in a waffle cooker with shaven old parmesan and young julienned onions. As delicious as it was, without ever having the regional standard, one cannot have a full appreciation of it. I will just have to add
What is amazing about the place is that with the exception of the manager, a JR lieutenant for at least a decade, not a single employee was 30 years of age, and only one employee’s tenure exceeded nine months. For chefs and servers, the job is highly demanding, both physically and mentally, and 17 hour days are commonplace. With the restaurant’s turnover and stringent hiring requirements, it is a mystery how the restaurant has improved over the past five years.
As a postscript, on a recent return visit to the