Bistro Jeanty

Crème Brûlée au Chocolat
Salmon carpaccio
Smoked trout
Lobster bisque
French onion Soupe a l’Oignon
Patio
Duck liver mousse
Caviar
Exterior
Interior

***** (5 stars)

We had the most delightful Christmas lunch here. The place was packed, and I can see why–If we lived nearby it would become out Christmas tradition.

This is an absolutely authentic French bistro, right down to the jars of mustard on the table, and the basket of wonderfully fresh and crusty baguette slices.

We started with the Sturgeon caviar, which was served with all the proper accompaniments, including blinis, and the duck liver mousse, which was smooth and creamy, and perfect with the spicy mustard.

Both the lobster bisque and French onion soup were excellent. The bisque was a bit thinner style than usual, but just as flavorful without being so rich as to seem like a sauce. The French onion soup was one of the best I’ve had, with the perfect amount of cheese seared onto the top, and a balanced, flavorful base.

My wife enjoyed her smoked salmon carpaccio. The smoked trout wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, begin more like smoke salmon, so just keep that in mind if you are expecting a more traditional dried preparation.

Our waiter encouraged us to try his favorite creme brulee, and it was good advice. There is a layer of chocolate mousse somehow sandwiched between the nicely burnt sugar crust and the creamy creme brulee. I have no idea how they did that!

The wine list is excellent, and even more impressive is the backside of the menu, with many, many wines offered in 4 different pour sizes.

We sat outside in the patio, which was closed in and heated for the winter, and it was lovely, and quieter than the bustling interior.

All the wait staff were very efficient and friendly. Definitely a great choice for our Christmas celebration!

Bistro Jeanty
6510 Washington St
Yountville, CA
94599
(707) 944-0103
https://www.yelp.com/biz/bistro-jeanty-yountville

Francois Frankie

Steak frites
Salmon tartare
Lobster cioppino
Salmon
Interior

***** (5 stars)

This is an interesting almost-French-bistro with some American items as well. A charming carousel bar is the centerpiece; it slowly revolves, about once an hour.

There is absolutely no acoustic treatment anywhere, and the walls are glass, mirror, and metal, so it can get very loud. The environment was much better as the evening went on and it started to empty out.

The triple creme camembert and the crispy brussels sprouts were delicious hors d’eouvres. Caesar salad is a very generous portion.

My entree, the lobster cioppino, was delicious. The broth was redolent with fennel, and the lobster was plentiful.

The wine list is a bit eclectic, but our waiter, who was also the sommelier, did a great job of finding something to our taste.

Francois Frankie
222 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL
60606
(312) 600-9659
https://www.yelp.com/biz/francois-frankie-chicago

Fig & Olive

Exterior

Bar

Interior

Assorted crostini

Olive oil tasting

Hamachi crudo

Roasted cauliflower

Lamb

Cafe Gourmand with pot de creme

**** (4 stars)

Pros and cons, but my experience was at least three and a half stars.

First, this is a gorgeous room. It’s much nicer than the website photos suggest. It has a great central bar and some cozy corners.

When I arrived there was a DJ playing loud rap. Uh oh, I thought, not my style. But then a foursome sat near me and asked them to turn it down. Bless them! The DJ must have been about to go off shift (it was before 5pm on a Saturday), so they just put on some chill music and left. What an improvement in the place’s ambiance!

The wine list has some very well thought out selections, by the bottle and the glass. They even have Dom Perignon by the glass at a reasonable price! I haven’t seen that before.

I started with three crostini, and all were excellent I also tried them on different “platforms” to compare, and those were good, too. My favorite was the salmon on traditional toast.

The complimentary olive oil tasting was also nice. I loved the blood orange olive oil and bought a bottle to go.

Hamachi crudo was disappointing. There was nothing wrong with the hamachi, but it had been so thoroughly buried in a variety of sauce that the fish was lost.

Roasted cauliflower was a delicate preparation that works best as a starter, because it would be too subtle as a side dish.

The highlight of my meal was the rack of lamb. It was perfectly cooked medium rare with a great char on the bones, and served with a wonderful rosemary and garlic oil.

I finished with the cafe gourmand, a nice idea that combines a cup of coffee with your choice of mini dessert (I chose the pot de creme) and a bit of praline.

Excellent professional service was provided by Danilo.

Fig & Olive –
104 East Oak St
Chicago, IL
60611
(312) 445-0060
https://www.yelp.com/biz/fig-and-olive-chicago-chicago-5

Eiffel Tower

Frozen soufflé

Ocean seafood salad

Cream of onion soup

Torchon

View

Interior

**** (4 stars)

I was expecting this place to be very touristy, so I’m shocked to come away feeling it is one of my favorite restaurants in Vegas. In fact, I enjoyed it more that Jules Verne in the real Eiffel Tower!

The room is beautiful, and the view of the Strip and the Bellagio fountain can’t be beat. The atmosphere is sophisticated without being stuck up.

The lunch menu offers a nice assortment of French-inspired cuisine focusing on the lighter side. I loved the torchon appetizer and my Ocean Seafood Salad (btw, what other kind of seafood is there?)

The frozen souffle was an interesting dessert. Try ordering a glass of Amaro and pouring into the ice cream at the bottom–delicious!

The wine list is decent, and the prices normal for the Strip.

This is one of the few Vegas restaurants I think is worth a return visit, because it is about more than just the novelty of the experience.

Eiffel Tower
3655 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV
89109
(702) 948-6937
https://www.yelp.com/biz/eiffel-tower-las-vegas

Le Grill de Joël Robuchon

Exterior

Bar

Nibbles

Gazpacho

Cheese soufflé

Duck

Ice cream and sorbet assortment

***** (5 stars)

l’Atelier is one of my favorite restaurants around the world, so I always try to visit when I’m in a city that has one. However on this Monday night only Le Grill was open, so we decided to try it, and we were glad we did.

Le Grill offers a relaxed environment, a reasonably priced and very interesting menu, and an excellent wine list. Service is as perfect as at all of Joel Robuchon’s restaurants, professional, yet never stuffy. It’s wonderful to have such an excellent meal experience without it having to be a production number.

Le Grill de Joël Robuchon
85 10th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 488-8885
https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-grill-de-jo%C3%ABl-robuchon-new-york-4

Per Se

Exterior

Interior

View

Extensive selection of half bottles

Oysters and Pearls

Yellow fin tuna

Scallop

Parker House roll

Quail

Lamb

Assortment of Desserts

**** (4 stars)

Whenever I go to Per Se I come away comparing it to all the other top-rated restaurants I’ve been too. Although I think the staff is wonderful, and the restaurant is beautiful and beautifully situated, I can’t convince myself that the food lives up to expectations. It’s all beautiful, but there are no home runs.

In its favor, it has perhaps the best selection of half bottles of wine I’ve seen anywhere, so you can put together an amazing tasting to match your meal. But I think you’ll find that the food doesn’t live up to the wines.

On this latest visit, the best course was the quail, and the most forgettable was a completely mundane lamb chop.

The desserts were the best. Usually when a restaurant fills the table with a half dozen small desserts, many of them are misses; but at Per Se each dessert deserved to be there, and provided a lovely variety to end the meal.

If you’re looking for a sophisticated experience with great service and a beautiful view, and if cost is no object, the Per Se is a great choice. If you’re looking for the best food in the city, this is not it.

Per Se
10 Columbus Cir
Fl 4
New York, NY 10019
(212) 823-9335
https://www.yelp.com/biz/per-se-new-york

Valor

Cheeseburger

Salmon

Sorry, there’s only one rib left for you. We fell on the rest like hungry wolves.

Trio of ice creams and bombe

Brussels sprouts

Broccoli

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This popular cafe serves good food with a bit of a French influence to some dishes.

We started with four appetizers. The one we absolutely loved was the Sticky Asian Pork Ribs, which were coated in a wonderful soy-infused teriyaki sauce. Popcorn Cauliflower was also very good, especially dipped in the leftover rib sauce! Warm Brussels Sprout Caesar and Roasted Broccoli and Grilled (cold) Shrimp were both just okay.

Everyone also liked their entrees, which included the Steak Frites, Salmon, and a Cheeseburger.

For dessert we had a housemade ice cream trio and a Chocolate Bombe, both of which were also good.

The wine list is a bit obscure, but we found some interesting selections, and prices are reasonable.

Service was attentive and friendly.

Valor
667 Vernon Ave
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 786-4324
https://www.yelp.com/biz/valor-glencoe

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Foie gras amuse bouche

Salmon and caviar

Artichoke carpaccio and foie gras

Interior

Scallop

Lobster

Lobster

Black bass with lemon grass

Wagyu

Quail and foie gras

Sorbet with black currants

Chocolate

***** (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
https://www.yelp.com/biz/l-atelier-de-jo%C3%ABl-robuchon-new-york-5

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
https://www.yelp.com/biz/noe-restaurant-and-bar-los-angeles

Perch

Patio

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.

Perch
448 S Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 802-1770
https://www.yelp.com/biz/perch-los-angeles