My first day in Europe after a transatlantic flight I always attempt to stay awake all day and then get to bed early around 9 or 10pm as I find this is the quickest way to get over the jet lag. Well on this trip I had reserved Guy Savoy at 8pm on our first day so it was going to have to be a little later. I decided to power through the day by going non stop walking through Paris, my hotel also didn’t have my room available at the time. After a long day where I superficially covered most of the Paris sights I had built up quite a hunger as well as being very tired. But I was very excited to try the first of the nine dinners I had planned on this trip: Guy Savoy.
We left the hotel around 7:30 and took an Uber to the restaurant. We arrived early but they sat us right away. The entrance is through an old building and very hidden. You would never know that there is one of Paris’s best restaurants hidden in there. Once you enter though the contrast of the decor is shocking. You go from old Parisien to modern art with an oriental theme.
We were seated in what seemed like a private room but there were two tables so it wasn’t private. It was actually kinda awkward especially at first becasue the other table was larger than ours and their conversations were loud and it was like we were just listening to their conversation all night.
As soon as you sit down you are handed a foie gras torchon with toasted bread. It was a very deliciously rich bite. It was doubly cool becasue just this last week we learned how to make foie gras torchons in school.
After that they bring the wine list which is presented in a huge book and it comes with its own table that they place next to you. It was a very large list with many vintages of all the top French producers. I decided, however, to let the sommelier pair a few glasses to the menu we were going to enjoy as I didn’t want to order multiple bottles yet wanted to have different wines with the different dishes.
The first dish was a vegetable puree with notes of tarragon.
At this point the sommelier poured us a glass of a Chablis which is one of the two major chardonnay sub regions in Burgundy with Montrachet being the other. Chablis wines are always crisp and less oaked than Montrachet.
The second course was a raw oyster tartar which I loved. It was a cool way to serve raw oysters yet impart more flavors than the traditional mignonette.
After that came the lobster dish. It was presented with the head and tail of the lobster but then the server lifted the tail to show the true dish.
Which was a cold lobster dish consisting of medallions cut from the tail with poached carrots and lobster foam shaped like the carrots. This was served in a cold lobster consommé. The consommé is supposed to be crystal cleat and this one was a bit cloudy, if I had served that in my school’s practical exam I probably would have failed. I say that half jokingly though becasue I think that making consommé is a ridiculous waste of time and always less flavorful than a traditional broth, it’s just that if you do use the name consommé I’ll judge it accordingly.
Guy Savoy didn’t offer a pre set wine pairing which I prefer when the sommelier pairs wines based on your preferences and then charges them a la carte. It allows you to enjoy the wines at your own pace and not feel like you need to drink a glass per course. After thoroughly enjoying the chablis over the past few courses we were then poured a glass of Riesling from Alsace which was good but not quite as good.
At this point they came out and showed us the Turbot they would be cooking for us.
The next course was one of my favorites. Kinda strange that the caviar course came so far into the meal but it was more substantial than a traditional caviar course in a 3 Michelin starred restaurant in the US. This one consisted of a confit of potatoes, a squid ink crisp and a generous serving of ossetra caviar on top. It was very good. The potatoes were a great carrier for the caviar. Very tender yet they let the caviar do all the talking.
The next plate was an assortment of different vegetables. Carrots, radishes, zucchini, yellow carrots, fennel ect. The zucchini was undoubtedly my favorite from this dish although all the vegetables were awesome.
Next came a dish of chanterelle mushrooms, string potatoes and a small piece of serrano ham. This dish was amazingly simple yet so good. The mushrooms were outstanding.
Finally the following dish was the turbot that they had showed us a while back. This was my favorite dish. The tomatoes were so good and the olive oil that served as the sauce was amazing. It was warm and so fragrant. The fish itself was slightly undercooked which I love. And lastly the small mashed potatoes went so well with the amazing olive oil. Well done!
Next came a strong black truffle soup. It was very good although I didn’t particularly like the placement of it or maybe it just seemed to wintery to me. I can’t deny that it was an amazing soup but it just seemed poorly placed.
The last main course was a seared squab breast (pigeon) with a pea risotto. Pigeon is similar to duck just less fatty. The sauce was liver based and delicious. It was served medium rare.
Next started the transition to dessert. It is common for a 3 michelin starred restaurant to give you a fruit based dessert, a chocolate based dessert and some petit fours (like macaroons) with your coffee and the check. Well Guy Savoy did all that and way more, I think at least half of the calories I consumed were after the last main course. We started with a cheese course that was fantastic. It was two different goat cheeses. The one in the front was aged longer and was stronger than it appeared, it was definitely my favorite of the two.
Next came a ‘palate cleanser’ which consisted of a peach sorbet. I erroneously thought this was the fruit dessert but that the next one.
The fruit based dessert was an apricot tart served with barely sweetened whipped cream. It was amazing. I loved this tart.
The chocolate dessert that followed was amazing. It was chocolate and hazelnut. I have come to appreciate the chocolate work like the twists on top of this after having to work with tempered chocolate in school. These things take forever! And only seconds to eat.
At this point I was quite full. They asked if we wanted coffee or tea which I declined. At this point I wanted to get to bed as we had arrived from the US earlier that morning and I was nearing the end of my ability to stay awake much longer.
Yet they rolled out thus cart filled with desserts which all looked amazing. On the top was rice puddings and chocolate mouses. Followed by a bread pudding, “cherry pie,” and some ice creams. And at the very bottom your traditional petit fours. So I took one for the team and choose one item from each section.
I choose the cherry pie with and almond milk ice cream, the rice pudding and a lone tiny chocolate macaroon. The rice pudding was good and had a strong vanilla flavor. The chocolate macaroon was good but I prefer the ones from Ladureé. And the Cherry Pie was the best pie I’ve ever had. It was made with real fresh cherries with the pits still in them and it went really well with the almond milk ice cream which was intresting. Obviously not as creamy as regular ice cream but since it was served soft it went really well.
At this point before I could ask for the check they gave us one last bite of a sorbet that was supposed to help with our digestion which we certainly needed. Not sure if it worked or not but it was delicious nonetheless.
Guy Savoy in Paris is an institution. He has been at the top of the Paris food scene for many years. He recently moved locations and his new temple is an awesome location overlooking the Seine, I’m not sure how I felt about the decor as as it lacked cohesion with the food but the food was amazing. As far as traditional styled 3 michelin starred restaurants this one ranks towards the top for me. Lets see how my next 8 meals on this trip compare but Guy Savoy has set a high mark. One thing I can’t avoid mentioning is price. I try not to talk directly about price when talking about a restaurant experience becasue I try to review restaurants (and cherish the experience) divorced from the price. In addition I don’t let price decide if I eat somewhere the first time but I do let it decide if I’ll go back. And with Guy Savoy I’m not so sure (it was 1.5 times the price of the French Laundry).