Sao Pao, Gaig, Buerhiesal, L'Arnsbourg, Le Cerf, Le Meurice
The second and final installment of reviews of meals in Spain and France which I haven't had time to write up. The meals all took place between late January and May of this year. Looking back at these dozen meals, what strikes me are the significant number of meals that I can easily describe as less than acceptable. I would love to explain it by being able to point a finger at a single cause but unfortunately it isn't that simple. Some restaurants have chefs that appear to be overrated and some restaurants are cooking in culinary styles that are dated. When a restaurant douses more than one dish with a salty and overreduced veal demi-glace, it makes one wonder when the last time the guidebooks who continue to award the restaurant their highest honors have tasted the cuisine. Or maybe the problem they don't know the difference between contemporary cuisine and one that has is long out of style? On the other hand, there were a few bright spots in Spain. But given the price of a haute cuisine meal in Europe, some of these restaurants need to do much better. Or maybe the guidebooks shouldn't be as slow to demote restaurants whose culinary style has become a bit long in the tooth.