Carrollton Market, New Orleans, 12/28/18

from outside
building

Carrollton Market is a medium sized place out in the suburbs that has been open 4 years.  The entry is into a bar area that is not very well separated from the main dining room.  The small marble tables are set closely together, a tin ceiling, wood floor and wood and painted walls all add to the loud noise level in the room, even without background music.   Windows along the front wall look out onto the street but otherwise there are no windows except for the interior one that looks into the open kitchen and the general light level is low.  They offer only a small a la carte menu.  The staff were friendly and helpful but the food was mostly unexciting and the overall ambiance is ear numbing, yet it was packed with people.  There is no subtlety in the food, it tends to be over-seasoned with large portions of heavy food.   Continue reading

Herbsaint Restaurant (update), New Orleans,12/28/18

building
building

It’s been a couple years since we went to Herbsaint, but this visit we went for lunch.  White tableclothes are covered with paper on the nicely spaced large tables.  There is background music in this corner building location.  The two walls of windows give lots of light in the daytime.  We were in the front of the 2 rooms, which is my preference, and snagged a good table with a direct line of site into the busy kitchen.  The first part of the restaurant that you come into is a large bar with lots of bar seating and additional counters.  They also had a fairly large patio out front.  It’s not a huge menu but everything we had was very good, packed with flavor, and nicely they seem to be open continuously so matter what time you hit town you can go, but reservations would be recommended for any prime time.  We ordered a number of items with the intention of splitting them, so we could try as much as possible.  Portions are well sized and service was very good. Continue reading

Restaurant A ma Vigne, Lyon, 12/15/18

exterior
exterior  (23 Rue Jean Larrivé, 69003 Lyon, France)

A ma Vigne is a small place with just 2 dining rooms, one containing the bar, and a tiny kitchen in back.  The closely spaced small tables are set with nice white tableclothes and napkins and then covered with white paper.  The casual atmosphere is heightened with the array of art, photos (done by the server Alex) and mirrors along with windows to the street decorating the walls.  They had a large menu that was not translated and served all day and a set menu of 2 or 3 courses that featured their famous steak in butter and fries.  They had wine by the bottle as well as by centiliter, as well as lots of cocktails.  It didn’t take long at lunch for the place to be packed and most seemed to be repeat customers and having a good time.  Service was really friendly, welcoming and helpful yet staffing was minimal – one guy sat people, took orders, dispensed the food, took care of billing and cleaned the tables and one guy did all the cooking and kitchen cleanup. The guy who did all the cooking was actually Chef and Owner Stéphane Giraud, whose grandparents started the place.  His grandmother Josephine,  perfected the amazing French fries.  Food was great as was the ambiance.  It was really reasonable for the quality of flavor.   I would go back here in a heartbeat – check it out if you can.  The server told us that Paul Bocuse ate steak and fries there every day  for years and showed us the table he always sat at.  I can see why. Continue reading

Guy Lassausaie Meilleur Ouvrier de France 1993, Lyon, 12/15/18

exrterior
exterior

Guy Lassausaie, located 13 miles from Lyon, is a large modern building with a good sized parking lot across the street.  It seemed to have been built in a circular design with various size dining rooms off the center circular hallway surrounding the kitchen.  A large comfortable waiting area holds small tables, deep chairs and wood floor whereas the dining rooms have large widely spaced tables on carpet.  No music  is in the background, tables are set with white clothes and napkins, some display cases and art decorate the rooms.  Noise level is non existent and yet your conversation feels private. It is well lit with a combination of ceiling lights and wall fixtures.  One large table is in the center of the room for service and ours was decorated with beautiful large red flowers.  Our room had two mantels but no fireplaces underneath.  The windows to the outside were covered with shades.  Service was good and the greeters even came out to the car with umbrellas as it was raining.  The menu offered 4 tastings as well as an a la carte section.  We chose the Discovery Menu which was a surprise tasting of 5 seasonal courses chosen by the chef, not necessarily on the menu.  Pacing was a little slow and the portions size was variable.  They have a 2 Star rating with Michelin.   Continue reading

Paul Bocuse – Le Restaurant Gastronomique, Lyon, 12/14/18

exterior
exterior

Paul Bocuse Restaurant is located a few miles out of town in colorful and well lit building on top of a small hill.   Doormen in red hats and coats (who also come in with the happy birthday cart where they grind out your tune) greet you as you look around a large patio painted with murals of other famous chefs (photos at end) and a large window into part of the huge kitchen.  It has 3 Michelin Stars, which they have had since 1965, but on our visit neither the service or food would merit that rating.  Mostly the staff seemed to be ‘cranking’ it out as fast as possible with little personalization.  It had more the feel of a business rather than an elegant dining experience.  The food is made with good ingredients and has lovely presentations but doesn’t sing at all and the place felt sterile.  The place is divided into several rooms that have wall paper, mirrors and lots of art on the walls.  One had a beautiful terrazzo floor another had marble (floors had to be smooth since their cheese/dessert carts don’t have wheels).  The ceilings are hung with chandeliers and with the additional lighting on the walls the place is well lit.  Well padded chairs and purse stools are set for you but no music is in the background.  The large widely spaced tables are covered with long white clothes and set with huge napkins in a paper ring covered with “PAUL BOCUSE”.  In fact, everything is well labeled with the ‘Paul Bocuse’ name – you won’t forget where you are.    The menu offers a la carte options and 3 different tasting menus.  We chose the Paul Bocuse menu that offered some of his best known dishes.  Pacing was good and portion control on the large side. Continue reading

Restaurant Daniel & Denise, Joseph Viola, Lyon, 12/14/18

building
building

Daniel & Denise is on the first floor of a corner building.  The 2 rooms are filled with things, hanging foods, items for sale, framed pictures and awards, cookware, etc., and the very close small tables are covered with red checkered cloths and topped with white paper.  White napkins are brightly embroidered with the Daniel & Denise logo, that match the bright red of the bench seating.  One room has a tile floor as well as some tile on the walls, whereas the other room had wood, but both are crammed full of tables.   One corner accommodates a bar area and the check out machine.  The large menu contains a couple tastings, daily specials and a la carte options.  They also offer wine by the carafe in additon to by the bottle.  Service was friendly and helpful but the English was limited.  We chose to order a la carte.   Continue reading

Restaurant La Mère Brazier, Lyon, 12/13/18

exterior
exterior

Restaurant La Mère Brazier is made up of a number of small rooms on a couple levels. Heavy drapes and carpet provide much sound dampening in the rooms decorated in 2 shades of gray, white and cream.  The nice sized tables are well spaced, covered with white clothes and set with very starched napkins and set with alternating dark charger with light bread plate or the opposite combination, all with silver accents.    The comfortable chairs are a swivel type.  They offer 2 tasting menus, with optional wine pairings and an a la carte menu.  We chose the 3 course Classical Menu and got our own bottle of white and half bottle of red.  The “3” course tasting also had a cheese course and choice of dessert.  The pacing and portion control were great as was the service.  The staff were all very friendly and helpful, along with speaking good English.  Chef Mathieu Viannay, who also became the owner in 2008, was in the house and came out to visit with his guests.  They did a re-model of the restaurant a couple years ago.  The restaurant has been awarded 2 Michelin Stars. Continue reading