L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Foie gras amuse bouche

Salmon and caviar

Artichoke carpaccio and foie gras





Black bass with lemon grass


Quail and foie gras

Sorbet with black currants


***** (5 stars)

l’Atelier is my favorite restaurant in London, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and now New York The consistency of experience is phenomenal, and this new location is the most beautiful yet.

Every course is a knock out, and the service, presentation, lighting and bon vivant spirit of the staff all combine to create an exceptional dining experience.

A special shout out to Sommelier John McKenna, who played the perfect host throughout our meal.

A truly great restaurant in a city of great restaurants.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
85 10th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 488-8885

Noe Restaurant and Bar

Popcorn chicken

Tuna tartare

**** (4 stars)

The bar here offers a delightful intimate atmosphere, with live piano music in the evenings, and a nice outside dining area with heaters. The menu is arranged from tinest to largest “small plates” with a wide variety of nibbles to something enough for a full dinner.

There is a small assortment of wines by the glass, and a lot of spirits.

Service was friendly and efficient.

Noe Restaurant and Bar
251 S Olive St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 356-4100



Steak frites

Provencal plate

***** (5 stars)

This is a delightful spot to sit outside downtown, with no noise and a great view. There are heaters and a fireplace to keep warm in winter, and clear glass windbreaks all around.

The menu offers a nice combination of small plates and main dishes. We really liked both the tuna tartare and mussel starters, and my Provencal vegetable plate was excellent.

There is a medium sized list of wines, with about a fourth available by the glass. There is also an extensive spirits list.

Service is friendly and efficient, and pricing is reasonable.

448 S Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 802-1770


Steak frites




**** (4 stars)

There are three Bouchons at this location and Google maps, for one, is very confused about that. The Bouchon Bakery is a counter serve and Bar Bouchon offers downstairs patio seating on the park. But the real Bouchon is upstairs, and offers a brasserie-like atmosphere plus outdoor balcony seating.

The menu is similar to Las Vegas, but not to Santa Barbara. A bouchon is a cafe typical in Lyon that focuses on meat-based dishes, and that is the case here. The French classics are all exceptionally well prepared, from mussels to onion soup, pate to salade Lyonnaise.

As is typical in France, the meal begins with bread served on the paper table covering. Be sure to order something to use the wonderful pot of mustard on; there’s nothing like pate and genuine Dijon on fresh crusty French bread.

Service is professional yet friendly.

This is actually one of my favorite of Keller’s restaurants. I even like it better than Per Se. The only negative is that the room has no acoustic treatment at all, and even when half empty it is very loud.

235 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 271-9910

Ladurée Beverly Hills



**** (4 stars)

I’ve never been a fan of macarons, so I was pleased to see that this Ladurée, which looks like a confectioner’s shop, serves the full range of authentic Ladurée croissants. I was also pleased to discover they are just as good as the ones in Paris. The plain is still the best, with the pain au chocolat and the rose coming in second and third.

What’s not as good as Paris is the coffee. It’s just typical American coffee. Perhaps a double espresso would be better, but I was hoping for authentic French coffee. No such luck.

If you’ve been to the Ladurée in Paris on the Champs Elysee, or the original one on the Place de la Madeleine, this one is a sort of cross between the two. It’s certainly much larger than the one at Harrod’s in London.

The service was fast and friendly, and with just enough of a French accent to whet the taste buds.

Ladurée serves hot items for breakfast, too, but of course the emphasis is on the baked goods. And the case of macarons.

Ladurée Beverly Hills
311 N Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 623-1100


Chocolate cakr

Wagyu beef


Bass grouper

Confit of trout




***** (5 stars)

This is my favorite restaurant in Sydney. It’s far better than the other Michelin starred places, and is beautiful and sophisticated without being stuffy.

The tasting menu focuses on fish, but only one course is typically raw, so it’s not to be confused with a traditional Japanese omakase. They are doing their own thing here.

The signature dish, trout, is probably the best course, but everything I’ve had has been excellent.

The wine list is extensive, although there are no bargains.

529 Kent St
Sydney, New South Wales 2000
+61 2 9267 2900


Amuse bouche


Snails and mushrooms




Grand dessert

** (2 stars)

Pierre offers a lovely room with a great ambiance and view. It’s the kind you’d expect to find in a top rated restaurant. Unfortunately, the view is about the only thing that is top rated about it.

At a price equal to or above the nearby Amber and l’Atelier, it’s hard to imagine anyone returning to Pierre for a second visit. The six-course tasting meal we had was, frankly, poor. There wasn’t a single stand-out course, and no one in our party had more than a taste of the grouse entree, which had a very unpleasant bitter taste. Mine even still had a piece of lead birdshot in it.

They’ve tried to make up in quantity what they lack in quality, with a half dozen small plates bearing amuse bouche at the start, and another half dozen plates of dessert at the end. But not one of them was truly good. It’s as if they’re firing scattershot, to see if they can hit anything.

Service was also hit or miss, with the wine list not even offered until the food began showing up, and empty water glasses sitting for long stretches of time.

At about $10,000HKD for our party of three’s food alone, this must be one of the worst buys in the city. And the wine prices are just as unreasonable.

25/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central
+852 2825 4001



Amuse bouche taste: sour

Amuse bouche taste: salty (oyster leaf)

Amuse bouche tastes: bitter and sweet

Caviar tart




Foie gras


A5 Wagu

Kabocha pumpkin and lemon sorbet

Solies figs


Petit fours

***** (5 stars)

Often I find myself at odds with Michelin’s rankings, but not this time. Amber is an exquisite restaurant, with food, service and wine that all deserve the acclaim they’ve received.

The ten-course tasting menu was spot on, with every course (and the many unbilled amuse bouche and petit four bites) all scoring high marks.

The accompanying six-wine Burgundy pairing was the most educational wine pairing I’ve ever encountered. What a treat to be able to compare, side by side:
Bourgogne Rose
Chablis “Les Clos”

We also started with a bottle of Taittinger Le Comtes Champagne

The wine list is one of the best I’ve encountered, well organized, and with a range of prices.

Service was professional yet not stiff, and everyone was obviously very proud of their fine restaurant.

7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 11-19A Queen’s Road Central
+852 2132 0066

Marché Artisan Foods

Croissant French toast


Chocolate croissant

Brunch menu August 2017


Interior, brunch crowd

**** (4 stars)

We stopped here on the way from the airport, and it was worth the detour. They serve a very good brunch.

The Croissant French toast is good, but maybe not quite as good as it looks in all the pictures. Croissants tend to be a bit hard to tear apart, which isn’t necessarily what you want in French toast. But the accompanying maple syrup was great, and I’m glad I ordered the delicious bacon to go with it.

The quiche and the chocolate croissant were two other things we sampled that were good. And the coffee drinks are excellent, with lots of options for preparation, flavors and type of milk.

Be aware that Sunday Brunch is really popular, right up until closing time, so there will be a wait, and it will be noisy.

Marché Artisan Foods
1000 Main St
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 262-1111

Chez Filet


Lobster bites

Bread service with complimentary butter and pate



**** (4 stars)

This is an intimate (12 tables or less) restaurant in the plaza off I-Drive north of the Orlando Eye.

As the name implies, the concept here is French/steakhouse. They are striving for fine dining, but it’s not quite at that level. Certainly the service is outstandingly solicitous, but it’s clear most of the staff is unfamiliar with the level to which the management aspires. So while many servers asked repeatedly if we needed anything, it was more obtrusive than helpful. Coupled with an offer of dessert before our main courses were served, it was a bit disjointed. Still, their hearts are in the right place, and experience will iron out these problems.

The food, too, strives but doesn’t always succeed. For starters we had the quiche and the lobster bites. The quiche was a nice, small, thin tartlet that made a good appetizer, as it wasn’t too filling. The lobster bites were essentially an escargot preparation, but using generous chunks of lobser instead of snails. The garlic butter was delicious, but the method of preparation of course leaves the lobster very, very well done.

We also had a small Caesar salad and onion soup. The Caesar was good, and at $5 was emblematic of the extremely reasonable pricing. Where else in town can you get a Caesar salad for that price? The onion soup was the only thing we had that really wasn’t good. It looked like a traditional preparation, but the consistency was more like gravy, and not very appealing in taste, either.

Main courses are also very reasonably priced, particularly considering they include two side dishes of your choice. I thought my companion’s New York steak was a bit tough, but she enjoyed it. The accompanying Chico’s sauce had a nice mustard base. I had the fish special, a corvina, which was delicate and nicely prepared. The home run of the evening was actually the Angel Onions, thin onion straws that were battered and perfectly crisped.

Photos of the place don’t do it justice, as the interior decor is stunning, although it would be better with lower light levels.

And as I’ve mentioned, the prices are extremely reasonable, particularly given the tourist area that surrounds it.

Chez Filet
8255 International Dr
Ste 144A
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 250-4090