"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Lutecia Hotel (Le St. Germain) -- Restaurant Review

45 Blvd Raspail
Metro line 12 (Sèvres – Babylone)
Check website for hours and to make reservations

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

3 - Star....................................................€€€€........................................................ 3 - Bell

This restaurant has been closed for a few years for a huge renovation project. I had a really bad experience when it first opened up. I won't get into details, but it was basically just being ignored and treated badly for not being hotel guests. I was angry, but said I'd come back when they settled in and give them another chance. And, voila at the recommendation of a friend a few of us went there for dinner. Now keep in mind, only one restaurant is open for dinner, the other restaurants are not yet open.

The interior of the hotel is absolutely magnificent. Especially their larger room the "St. Germain". The ceilings were very, very tall with a stained glass ceiling above us. The only complaint I had was the acoustics. Because of the large surface area, it didn't buffer the noise so it got difficult to hear.

There is a bar right across from "St. Germain" and it was quite active. They asked us if we wanted a cocktail at the bar, I said no since we were still waiting for our friends, so we waited in the hallway lobby.

The menu was quite eclectic from salads, hamburgers, various seafood and meats. Please refer to their website for the menu.

We started with cocktails, and one person had a glass of veuve cliquot. The cocktails were all good; however, I don't think they really knew what a "dirty martini" was, so I had to explain what it was. When it came it was good, however, lacked the "dirty" (olive brine). But the waiter brought me some more so I could just add it to my taste preference.

I'll just review the dishes that I tasted.

Salade César. I had it with chicken. It was not what I expected, it was served sort of "bundled" up, very compact. It was pretty, but different. This is one of the better caesar salads I've had. The chicken was incredibly moist. and touches of anchovies that gave it the traditional taste. The lettuce was served halved so it wasn't lose lettuce, which made it interesting. And, the shavings of parmesan was perfect. But was it worth the price at 32€, more on that later in the summary.

Scallops. My friend had the scallops and insisted that I taste it. Personally I don't like foams, cause they always remind me of babies spitting. I'm glad she did insist I try it. I tasted it and it was perfectly cooked. Nicely seared on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. It was cooked in a mild curry with of citrus from the combawa lime.

Chicken. This chicken was poached to perfection. It was extremely moist. The hint of cocoa and the roasted buckwheat added an extra layer of flavors. Interestingly, we couldn't figure out what we thought was a tubular shaped radish. I thought it tasted like a carrot, but it was deceiving since it had the cocoa flavor. Turns out it was carrot. BTW, the cocoa added much to the flavor profile. I liked this dish a lot.

Cheeses. We had a nice selection of cheeses from chevre to blue. As I always say, you can't go wrong with cheeses in France.


The hotel is beautiful. The dining room of St. Germain was beautifully appointed. But, as a general rule, I don't like eating in hotels, especially when I'm in a foreign country. It's a personal thing for me, but I use this example, if you're sitting in a beautiful hotel restaurant, could it be anywhere in the world?  In fact, I've seen many hotel fine dining restaurants in Las Vegas that were just breathtaking. I'm not making judgement, I'm just saying I prefer more traditional restaurants.

Bottomline, I'm glad I went back to give it a second chance. The food was great in its simplicity with bold seasonings, but light touch to give the flavors a hint of this and that, rather than a heavy hand. The portions are little more than entrée portions. In fact, Jack left hungry. The service is still a little wishy-washy, and the price point for what we had is outrageous, this included the cocktails (refer to website), but it is a world renowned hotel . So you're paying for name recognition and status. Would I go back, probably not, but I would recommend it to people who like this type of dining.

So, for five-people, 5-cocktails, 8-glasses of wine, 6-menu items, 1-cheese plate, 1-grappa, 1-cappucino our bill came to 98.50€, we rounded it up 100€ a person. They do have a lunch special for 41€ for 4-courses.

NOTE:  As an aside, when I asked for a glass of white wine, the waiter recommended a wine from their wine list. I believe it was 75€ a glass. I told him absolutely not, I'm a cheap drunk and ordered from the regular dinner menu which had much more affordable wines at 12€ a glass for e.g., a pinot gris. So lesson to my readers, always look at prices for wine recommendations, unless you don't care how much money you're spending.

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