A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

March 21st, 2004

L’Atelier is now my favorite restaurant in the entire world. Joel Robuchon, who many thought was Paris’ best chef, closed his restaurant Jamin about 6 years ago to go into retirement. A little over a year ago he opened L’Atelier, taking it in a whole new direction. Rather than the very formal style typical of Jamin; he opted for a small sleek, modern restaurant. It’s quite unique in that everyone sits at one of two lacquered bars with views into the kitchen. And even more unusual, there are no reservations.

Although the food is incredible; what made the restaurant amazing is the casual atmosphere. The first time I went, the waiter encouraged me to order several first courses, thereby allowing me to try many of the chef’s signature dishes. And since the first courses are “tastes”, usually only two or three bites, it was like designing your own tasting menu. It feels like your at a Tapas bar with the best chef in France.

Every dish I had was excellent; but let me share a few that were surreal. A carpacchio of scallop with poppy seeds, pepper, cayenne, and dill, drizzled with a citrus dressing. The brightness of the lemons, complemented by a perfect blend of seasonings, made this dish come alive; it melts in your mouth. Another favorite was a poached egg served in a martini glass covered with a frothy creamed spinach, topped with tiny croutons. It may sound odd, but it was absolutely delicious. You must try it, because there is no way you could recreate something like this at home. Languistine ravioli with truffle was one of the chef’s signature dishes from Jamin, and it tasted like velvet. It’s a large steamed dumpling stuffed with chunks of languistine, served on a bed of wilted savoy cabbage. It’s topped with black truffle and a heavenly brown sauce.

L’Atelier is located just off Rue du Bac on Rue Montalembert. Since you are not able to make reservations, I recommend going early, perhaps 12:15 for lunch. It is expensive, but worth every penny.

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