Restaurant Joël Robuchon, Bordeaux

October 27, 2015

In December, 2014, Joël Robuchon, who has many restaurants around the world, and many Michelin stars, opened this restaurant in La Grande Maison, a small, upscale new hotel in a somewhat run-down neighborhood about ten minutes outside of central Bordeaux. As resident chef, he brought in Tomonori Danzaki, who had helped him open restaurants before in Tokyo, Las Vegas and Singapore. Linda and I went for dinner at La Grande Maison on September 16, 2015.

We started with glasses of Veuve Cliquot. The first hors d’œuvres were little waffles with langoustines and espelette pepper.
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A good start.

Next came little glasses with a beef gel and other garnishes.
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The menu offered a choice of how many courses one wants. You then select them from the à la carte list.

We ordered a bottle of 1999 Château Brane Cantenac.

The elaborate bread cart arrived.
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The round ones were flavored focaccia.

The amuse-gueule was Caviar d’Aquitaine on a crab disk surrounded by a lobster gel with cauliflower purée dabs topped with little herb extract dabs.
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Linda’s first course was
Le Tourteaux,
en mille-feuille de tomate avec un coulis acidulé.
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The firm slices of tomato and crab between them reminded Linda of an elaborate club sandwich. The crab had less flavor than in the amuse-gueule, but that impression was no doubt colored by the excellent flavor of the preceding dish.

My starter was
Le Homard,
un guacamole d’avocat aux pousses de légumes printaniers à l’huile de curcuma.
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Two large pieces of lobster meat were on a guacamole bed and were topped with various young crudités dressed in turmeric oil. Nice.

Linda went on to
L’Œuf de Poule,
mollet et friand au caviar osciètre et au saumon fume
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This egg nest was excellent. Its crispiness against the soft-boiled egg and caviar created a very welcome melt-in-your-mouth dish.

I had
rôti sur une purée onctueuse, voilé d’un capuccino au curcuma
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Large pieces of braised artichoke heart were on top of a rich artichoke purée. They were dressed with a delicious foamy turmeric sauce with more provided to add. Very good.

Linda’s main course was
Le Rognon et le Ris de Veau,
juste dorés avec un poêlée de cèpes au jus.
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The veal sweetbreads and kidneys had been pressed flat to achieve better browning in the pan. They were served with sautéed porcini mushrooms and little pitchers of parsley and mushroom jus. Excellent. 

Mine was
Le Porc Ibérique
‛‛la plume’’ grillée au mimosa, condiments et champignons
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A choice piece of Spanish pork was grilled and served with a variety of mostly diced garnishes. Very good.

Alongside both our dishes was Robochon’s famous purée de pommes de terre.
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The Robuchon mashed potatoes are served in all of his restaurants. They do not appear on the menu and there is no extra charge. They just show up. Among the secrets are the use of ratte potatoes, a fine sieve, one-third of the mixture being high quality butter and two kinds of salt. They went very well with both of our meat courses.

The cheese trolley was eventually wheeled up half an hour later. We were the first to be served and we made our selections.
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Linda’s dessert was
La Mangue,
façon cocktail exotique au saké, saveur baie rose.
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This good mango dessert was not too sweet.

Mine was
La Pêche
en fine gelée vanillée, douceur au citron escortée de son granité à la verveine
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Peach pieces were accompanied by various garnishes, including a verbena sorbet.
Strangely, there were no mignardises, not that we were still hungry.

The cuisine was always interesting, and excellent at times. The service and ambiance did not seem to me to be up to the restaurant’s pretensions. The servers were efficient, but somewhat abrupt. Our table was quite cramped. They seemed to have to wait until the main courses were cleared in our corner before they could find room to maneuver the cheese cart. The chef came out to greet only the Taiwanese couple next to us who were both continually on the internet, which we found distracting. The décor was somewhat excessively bling-bling. But I am sure that the Robochon name will keep the tables full.

The next morning Martine drove us out to the Médoc where we saw
Château Margaux,
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Château Beychevelle
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Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande,
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among other well-known names.

We lunched on the waterfront in Pauillac and flew back to Nice in the evening.



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