TINQUEUX (REIMS), FRANCE
PRICE PAID: $233 PP (LIST PRICE- PRE-CHALLENGE)
FINAL SCORE: 7.0/10
In a beautiful, hilly neighborhood near Reims called Tinqueux you can find this gorgeous Champagne Country hotel/restaurant . I joined them for dinner and a night's stay courtesy of my hotels.com tactics, and selected their middle-of-the-road menu called "Savor."
Hate to be a jerk, but service here was average at very best. Not only were the people working there totally disinterested in explaining anything in English (I know, a very American expectation) they were hard-pressed to say anything at all in French, either. In addition, even though this was a relatively small number of courses, we managed to hit close to five hours. Mostly by being ignored for forty minutes at a stretch. Absurdly long.
First out were two filling courses of vegetable pie- tomato and spinach- that were an interestingly heavy introduction to the menu. 7/10.
A pretty grouping of vegetables in a light broth emerged next. I liked the panache of the carved carrot inserted on top- pretty to look at, but rather bland to eat. 7/10.
This course was, without a doubt, the rockstar of the evening. I couldn't believe how much fine knifework went into this extensive, summery vegetable presentation. Insanely creative and crispy-fresh to boot. 10/10.
Another gorgeous dish served with the perfect plating: ginger and a light vegetable broth to round out the salad courses. 8/10.
A fascinatingly spiny Brittany Mullet was served next- cauliflower and broccoli served as an interesting textural contrast to the fresh fish. 8/10.
A very traditional, simple presentation of hen and potato. The standalone leaf is a pretty but merely decorative addition. 8/10.
I think it's pretty cool that the restaurant bothered to have cocoa bean-shaped serving dishes made custom for serving their first chocolate dessert. The chocolates themselves were delicious but a bit too creamy. 8/10.
This next dessert could only be described as a shitload of sweet baked goods. Eating one was a delicious treat; eating seven was work. 7/10.
I like how the shape of the curl of chocolate on the tart recalled the first vegetable course. A creative, pretty finish to some pretty stellar food. 9/10.