L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (Taipei, Taiwan)

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Bellavita Mall 5F
No. 28, Song Ren Rd, Xinyi District
Taipei, Taiwan
Dining date: 2/9/14

13023945745 deb8fb4931 z LAtelier de Joel Robuchon (Taipei, Taiwan)

I’m not sure how it really originated, but I’ve made it a point to dine at Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier wherever there is one where I’ve traveled. My first visit was to the original Paris location seven years ago now (a restaurant that has maintained a top 25 spot in the highly-subjective Pellegrino Best Restaurants in the World list all these years), and have visited locations in Las Vegas, London, Tokyo and now Taipei.

13023982985 7a04b2d109 z LAtelier de Joel Robuchon (Taipei, Taiwan)

13023921705 456f1ffd6c z LAtelier de Joel Robuchon (Taipei, Taiwan)

The decor at this location, located in the upscale Bellavita mall, is very similar to the others – red and black color-scheme and an open kitchen surrounded by bar seats. We dropped in for a leisurely weekend lunch; fixed menu options range from 1260NTD/~42USD up to 2880NTD/~96USD. We each ordered different menus and I went somewhere in the middle.

Continue reading

Salon de The de Joel Robuchon (Taipei, Taiwan)

Salon de The de Joel Robuchon
Bellavita Mall 3F
No. 28 Song Ren Road
Taipei, Taiwan
Dining date: 2/6/14

12414353814 9cd76e03b2 z Salon de The de Joel Robuchon (Taipei, Taiwan)

For my first meal in Taipei (which happened to be solo), I figured I’d ease into it by dining somewhere sort of familiar and possibly more Western-friendly (turns out Taipei has been one of the more English-friendly international cities I’ve been to). Joel Robuchon has two restaurants in Taipei, his ‘casual’ L’Atelier and his even more casual Salon de The. Plans to dine at L’Atelier were already booked later in the trip, so I stopped by the Salon for lunch.

12414008953 5bbfdb5c29 z Salon de The de Joel Robuchon (Taipei, Taiwan)

12414338714 b9077a9c87 z Salon de The de Joel Robuchon (Taipei, Taiwan)

Similar to my experiences with La Boutique de Joel Robuchon in Tokyo, the Salon de The includes a retail patisserie serving a fairly large variety of breads, pastries, cookies and sweets. Definitely a nice stop for a quick treat.

Continue reading

Melisse (Santa Monica, CA)

Melisse
1104 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Dining date: 1/24/14

12231313673 4b7f998885 z Melisse (Santa Monica, CA)

Melisse, like the restaurant of my last post Providence, is oft-considered one of the best restaurants in the city for its French-Californian cuisine. It’s truly one of the few refined fine dining destinations that has survived through all the food trends Los Angeles has seen since it’s opening in 1999. Like Providence, Melisse garnered 2 Michelin stars in the last guide; while I have been familiar with Providence ever since it opened, my first visit to Melisse didn’t come until a relatively late 2010. I’ve now had a few meals here (including a very memorable Farewell to Foie last year) and have thoroughly enjoyed them.

The impetus for this dinner was the restaurant’s participation in dineLA’s new $85 price level, an opportune time for 4 friends’ first visit. As with many dineLA options I wondered – what type of meal would Melisse provide at this lower price point? Would it still reflect a ‘regular’ Melisse experience? I was pleasantly surprised on both counts.

12231668474 b0dcbbfd9c z Melisse (Santa Monica, CA)

Continue reading

Keiko à Nob Hill (San Francisco, CA)

Keiko à Nob Hill
1250 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94109
Dining date: 12/1/13

11304377713 7fa1ea43c1 z Keiko à Nob Hill (San Francisco, CA)

My dad’s mentioned Keiko à Nob Hill a number of times in the past as a potential restaurant, but we didn’t try it until this most recent trip to celebrate some November birthdays. Chef Keiko Takahashi and partner Seigo Takei opened the restaurant at the end of 2011; while there hasn’t been a ton of buzz surrounding the place, it has garnered a Michelin star in the last couple of guides.

Located in the ritzy Nob Hill neighborhood and in the old location of the venerable Charles Nob Hill restaurant, it looks and feels very expensive. Especially with their tasting-menu only and fusion French/Japanese fine dining. However, its 6-7 course menu is priced at a not-unreasonable $95 a head and comes with some of the best service I’ve had in any restaurant recently.

Continue reading

Republique (Los Angeles, CA)

Republique
624 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dining date: 12/6/13

11266020035 a0b7fa4636 z Republique (Los Angeles, CA)

Chef Walter Manzke (Bastide, Church & State, countless collaborative/pop-up events) has become one of my favorite chefs in Los Angeles over the years, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting this opening for a long time. Taking over the location of famed Campanile & La Brea Bakery, Republique’s menu is steeped in French influences with a lot of dishes reminiscent of the classical Bistro fare that Manzke was cooking at Church & State.

11266081036 c02e8d60b5 z Republique (Los Angeles, CA)

11266230313 20933bc3db z Republique (Los Angeles, CA)

The hottest seats in the restaurant, literally, are the four at the chefs counter. These provide a front-row glimpse into the action in the kitchen, directly opposite of the large wood-burning oven. Even on this chilling Los Angeles weekend, these seats were kept very warm all evening.

11266132836 53a96d24ed z Republique (Los Angeles, CA)

Continue reading

Patina (Los Angeles, CA)

Patina
141 South Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 10/10/13

10238021144 4b7c17d2d3 z Patina (Los Angeles, CA)

Patina’s been a fixture in the Los Angeles fine dining scene for decades, celebrating its 10-year anniversary at the Walt Disney Concert Hall this month. To celebrate, the restaurant offered a special menu of 10 courses for $10 each on October 10th.

I first dined at Patina relatively “early-on” in 2006; this would be my third visit. While I’ve found many of the Patina Group restaurants to be a little boring and overpriced for what they are, I’ve felt that the flagship Patina bucked that trend with its strong execution grounded in classical French and modern American cuisine. It’s been just over a year since my last visit; new Executive Chef Charles Olalia had just taken over the kitchen from the exiting Tony Esnault. At the time, the menu still had much of Esnault’s touches – this would be my first meal with Olalia fully at the helm crafting the menu.

10238102483 af3948a66c z Patina (Los Angeles, CA)

10238227403 0fc017f4e0 z Patina (Los Angeles, CA)

Continue reading