I must admit, I’ve been stalking Guy Savoy a bit from afar for years. I almost booked a meal at his restaurant in Las Vegas last year during my Sin Week trip, but my group just couldn’t swing it, financially (we contented ourselves with Daniel Boulud instead, which was….good. Not great. Not Guy).
So when I saw Guy Savoy as a stop on my Michelin Paris tour, I couldn’t help it. I squealed. I posted it on Facebook. Completely uncool, I know. But that’s the reaction that his name causes among foodies, at least among those on the aspirational side who don’t get to dine in three-starred restaurants all that often.
When our party arrived at the restaurant on a Tuesday night, not far from the Arc d’Triomphe, Guy himself showed us to our table, enclosed in a semi-private room. Travel legend and CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg was part of our party, and he had met Guy before (honestly, I’m not sure if there’s anyone who Peter hasn’t met. The guy is that well connected, and his stories make him the perfect dinner companion).
Inside, with dark walls, African art and modern paintings, the restaurant decor was serious, but the plates on the table showed Savoy’s festive side. As soon as we sat down, we were served Champagne from Guy’s own vineyards, along with foie gras and toast on tiny silver toothpicks. They came around three times with these delectable morsels, which told me that this wasn’t going to be a Spartan experience.
For our amuse bouche, we received a small cup of mushroom soup in a Siamese twin dish. The waiters lifted it to reveal a tiny potato and mushroom bite.
This kind of drama carried throughout the meal and was particularly heightened by our first course, steamed Breton lobster.
It came out in a flurry of vapor, which later settled to reveal the crustaceon.
A small glass of lobster foam was served with the dish and we were instructed to drink it as we ate the course, “like a cappachino.”
At this point, I was hooked. This is what I consider a three-star experience to be: culinary techniques that I haven’t seen before, combined with fantastic presentation and food that I actually like to eat. Our wine for this course and the next: Puligny Montrachet Les Vieilles Vignes Domane Vincent Girardin.
It was around now that we were introduced to the Guy Savoy bread cart. The restaurant serves 9 kinds of bread, and each looked delicious. I tried a piece of chestnut.
Our next course was a piece of fish served with the scales on it, which gave it a nice crispiness. I was caught up in conversation at this point (Peter Greenberg was testing all of us on our math skills, believe it or not) so I don’t remember too much more about the dish.
Next came Guy Savoy’s specialty – an artichoke soup with black truffles, served with a piece of brioche liberally doused with truffle butter. Words can’t describe how good this was. Waiters came around with extra portions of brioche as we ate; I didn’t see too many people turning them down.
Our meat course for the evening was a rack of veal. Before it was served, we were shown the cooked piece of meat. Our wine for this course was a Chateau Bahans Haut-Brion 2001, Pessac-Leognan.
The dish was plated with truffled potatoes. Again, the waiters proved their mettle during this course, by offering second helpings of potatoes and more jus for the veal. It was all incredibly good. (Sigh. Now back in the states, I miss truffles).
At this point, we were getting full, as you might imagine. But our meal was really only 2/3 done.
Next came the cheese cart, where the waiter served up a variety, depending on your tastes.
I told him the stinkier, the better.
Our first dessert was a blood orange sorbet of sorts, that waiters topped with a blood orange topping . It was served with an aloe vera marshmallow (the second time I had eaten aloe vera for dessert in two days) and a 2002 Satuernes from Chateau Guiraud that was absolutely delectable.
Our second dessert also had an element of drama to it. It arrived as simple chocolate ball. that melted when the waiters poured on a mango sauce. Again, incredibly delicious.
But wait, there’s more! After these “official desserts” came a round of “unofficial” decadence. We were offered all kinds of treats, from servers who insisted that we keep eating.
My actual exchange with a waiter, that I’ll forever remember as the “dessert pusher:”
Waiter: Rice pudding? Chocolate mousse?
Me: Honestly, I can’t eat anything else.
Waiter: Cheesecake? Pecan tarte?
Me: Seriously, no
Waiter leaves for a minute. He comes back with a sliver of pie and drapes it in front of me.
I’m clearly whipped by now. “Sure,” I say, and dig in. He smiles triumphantly. Let the record show that after all that protest, I found room for a macaron as well.
Upon reflection , what made the meal great is that it didn’t feel that a restaurant experience, per se. It felt more like an awesome dinner party, that just happened to have some of the best food you’ve ever ate. And that’s due primarily to the service, which never rushed us and felt solicitious without being overbearing. Wine glasses were refilled, seconds were regularly offered, breads and desserts were dispensed liberally to say the least. Although the meal lasted four hours, it didn’t feel long.
So, what was the damage for all of this? I was told that just the dinner was about 340 Euro, not including the wine, which I’m guessing adding another 200 euro. So if you want to recreate this meal yourself, you’re looking at more than $700 per person. For my husband and I, that would be a mortgage payment. The restaurant is open for lunch, however, so….I’m saving up to come back sometime. It was that special.
Whew! If you’ve read this far, you must be hungry. Have you ever had a meal that you’d consider a once-in-a-lifetime extravagance? Tell me where!