Opinionated Abut Dining Survey

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October 04, 2006



thanks for these good reviews.
I have a question though: do you tell the restaurant staff when you're disappointed by a dish or several dishes? How do they react especially in France? I mean you have such an experienced palate that you might judge a 3 star dish better than lots of waiters in these restaurants, so I suppose they wouldn't understand your complaints about a sauce being too reduced etc...
this could end in an argument with the chef. So how do you act in such a situation?
Do you give them your blogg address? :)
By the way, really happy to read new posts from you. Got a bit worried the last months since I really enjoy your blog.
Greetings from Germany,

Steve Plotnicki

I usually don't tell the staff that I am unhappy with a dish. But most of the time they can tell anway because of the chatter at the table. Or it isn't difficult to see when someone is being enthusiastic, or unenthusiastic, about what they are eating. In fact I was recently at a restaurant where the meal was uninspired and when the chef came to visit our table at the end of the meal, he didn't ask me one question about the food even though we chatted for more than five minutes. I suspect that our waiter had reported that we weren't exactly raving about the meal. But in the instances when I do tell the staff about a poorly prepared dish, they are quite knowledgable about what makes for good cuisine and they would certainly understand what an overreduced sauce is. As for telling the chefs and wait staff to read the blog, about 50% of the restaurants I visit know who I am before I get there. I have been surprised to walk into restaurants like the Fat Duck, El Bulli and others where the service staff starts chatting with me about the blog.


The photos from the middle of the page on don't enlarge. The reviews, as always, are wonderful. Sorry to hear about the disappointed visits.


do you ever worry you are eatingf in the wrong places?

Steve Plotnicki

What exactly do you mean when you say "eating in the wring places"?


Thanks for your answer!
well if some restaurants know you and your blog, then your reviews are biased ;) since they will make an extra effort to get a good review.
I guess this blog is your strategy to get the best out of each restaurant you visit.
Just kidding of course.
Greetings again from Germany (have you ever been in a restaurant in Germany actually?)

Steve Plotnicki

The purpose of reviews on this blog is different than the purpose of reviews in the traditional media. The traditional media is trying to experience the average meal because their average reader doesn't have a lot of dining experience and they want to know what to expect when they go to a restaurant. So anonymity is a critical factor in the way the traditional media interacts with a restaurant. But my blog is intended to appeal to people who have some practical experience as diners, or who want to learn how to be a better diner. So I try and elicit the best posssible meal a restaurant has to offer and in that context anonymity actually hurts instead of helps. As for eating in Germany, haven't been there since 1998 and I have never been to any of the important restaurants.


Hi Steve,

I am impressed that I found someone who actually has an even worse opinion of Rochat than I do. Apparently you and I both will never know how Girardet's cuisine taste(d). Though I heard he still occasionally cooks for some happy fews.

Most of the recipes are all in all more sophisticated than really interesting, and I agree with you that the Foie gras is Rochat's best. The dessert trolley was particularly disappointing (maybe the memory of Jamin is overpowering?). But mostly, the combination of approximative cooking and chef's denial was the thing that, together with a spectacular rise in prices over two years, decided me not to go a third time.

Speaking of voicing your dissatisfaction indeed, unlike you, I did express my disappointment at the unhomogenous and imperfect cooking I observed, both at my table and at others' (they were serving pintadeau carved in the dining room, so it was very apparent), and the Chef made fun of me for checking other peoples's plate and told me I should have asked them to make my sweetbreads again (and wait half an hour, with my wife having ordered different courses?).

I believe you are entitled to voice your dissatisfaction when you pay 300€ for a meal -- and that good restaurants welcome constructive criticism.

The other Swiss three-star, Rabaey, is one of the best restaurants I know. Well, reading your blog, you may not like it, because it is very Pacaud-like, more interested in perfect cooking and seasoning of exceptional products than creation of new dishes. However, based on my experience of fine dining in Europe, Rabaey makes the best pâte feuilletée ever, the best sweetbreads I know (possible deuce with Loiseau), and also, has the best butter I know. Also, the place is not party-like, but it is not nearly as sad as l'Ambroisie (it has a garden/terrace for one).

I review those on my blog, in French and English (depending on the posts). You will find that we have different preferences obviously (reviewed many same restaurants: l'Astrance, Savoy, Robuchon, Pacaud...), but I believe we share an intent to give a sense of what to expect from those places and help people choosing and enjoying fine dining.


I have been to Nicolas Le Bec twice, and both times it was outstanding. The second star in the 2007 Michelin was thus no surprise to me. I love that his cooking is firmly rooted in the french tradition while at the same time he introduces enough little twists and novelties to keep it interesting. I had a total of about 10 dishes there and every single one worked, with some being quite spectacular (but not a single of the dishes you had, they seem to change a lot). One of my highlights of last year. I hope you were there on a rare night off and that my experience was teh more typical one.

In two weeks I will try to go to L'Arnsbourg. My friends home in germany constantly rave about this place. I shall report back.

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Interesting blog, I just loved what you did, specially when you talk about those dishes... by the way I've got a similar blog but my blog is intended to appeal to people who have some practical experience as diners, or who want to learn how to be a better diner. 2j3j


Hi, thank you for sharing this great info. Was just browsing through the net in my office and happened upon your blog. It is really very well written and quit comprehensive in explaining with a very simple language.

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This restaurant just for the pictures looks so delicious woww i hope to be there and enjoy soon a dinner with my friends

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