France- L'Ambroisie- ✪✪✪

Beautiful in location and décor with (occasionally) friendly service notwithstanding, this place was an unmitigated, ludicrously overpriced disaster.

 L'Ambroisie Main Entrance

L'Ambroisie Main Entrance

PARIS, FRANCE

SERVICE: 4.0/10

FOOD: 3.0/10

PRICE PAID: $480 PP (LIST PRICE- PRE-CHALLENGE)

VALUE/MONEY: 1.0/10

FINAL SCORE: 2.0/10

 L'Ambroisie Dining Room

L'Ambroisie Dining Room

Set in fine French-Aristocracy style, the main dining room is a gorgeous jewel of a space. I felt like I was hanging out with Louis XIV.

 First Bites: Oil-Bread, 4/10

First Bites: Oil-Bread, 4/10

I was pretty sure that the first bites were some kind of a joke- 1/8th of a slice of oily bread that looks like it came from a Ponderosa. In a bizarre and unwelcome gesture, the server bear-paws one of these tiny slices onto my tiny plate. Crumbs lazily disperse upon landing. The bread stares at me awkwardly. 4/10.

 Course 1: Butternut Squash Soup + Goose Liver, 9/10

Course 1: Butternut Squash Soup + Goose Liver, 9/10

The first course was probably the only high point of the meal- some butternut squash soup, with a delicious goose liver buried therein. 9/10. 

 Bread; stale

Bread; stale

Can't believe I'm saying this, but the bread was actually a touch stale.

 Course 2: White Truffles + White Truffles + White Truffles + Egg, 0/10

Course 2: White Truffles + White Truffles + White Truffles + Egg, 0/10

 The Egg

The Egg

An absurd clump of white truffles showed up next. Under the truffles, a bright-yellow egg and thinly-sliced mushrooms, all surrounded by a deeply rich butter cream sauce. 

I know how awful what I'll say next sounds, especially in light of the fact that:

  • some person spent, like, two afternoons in the woods collecting all those truffles
  • some other person carefully shaved those truffles into the ribbon-like pattern that you see
  • yet some third person carefully arranged those truffles and mushroom slices into the configuration dreamed up by their boss

... but all that being said, this cannot be called fine dining. This is richness piled on top of richness piled on top of fat. It wasn't good. It felt like an enormous, egotistical waste. It made me question whether this entire project was a good idea, not only for my health but for what this kind of consumption represents. It made me think about people who were hungry and how selfish the person who created this concept must be. It made me want to go home. 0/10.

 Course 3: Lobster + Garlic, 8/10

Course 3: Lobster + Garlic, 8/10

What's that, you say? How could a single slice of lobster, two fingerling potatoes, and a clove of roasted garlic cost 142 euros? Who in their right mind would charge such a price, and what even bigger fool would pay it? That's a damn fine question, for which there is no answer.

 Fricasse d'hommard: 142 Euros

Fricasse d'hommard: 142 Euros

In the politest way possible, I tried to ask in my stumbling French if there was another plate that formed a part of this course. The response, predictably, was similar to if I had asked if they were allowing guests to commit arson after the cheese course. "MAIS BIEN SUR QUE NON" or some similarly negative response.

I'm not joking about the price- look at the menu near "hommard." And this was ALL YOU GOT. You can buy a ticket to an entire dinner at Alinea that grants you 15 amazing courses for about $20 more. Totally, toweringly, insultingly crazy. 

I"ll have to admit I was more or less checked out at this point.  

 Course 4: Lamb, 5/10

Course 4: Lamb, 5/10

Way overspiced, undercooked, uninteresting. And, by the way, those mushrooms are sliced from the same goddamn fungus that we saw in the White Truffle course. You have to reuse the same cold prep ingredients? Is that a joke? 5/10.

 Course 5: Mignardises, 5/10

Course 5: Mignardises, 5/10

Some sloppily-assembled mignardises. I don't care anymore. I'm still hungry. 5/10. 

 Exit Colonnade

Exit Colonnade

At least the walk home was pretty. Avoid this place at all costs.