A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. – Oscar Wilde
Discussing the price of anything is so declasse don’t you think? That’s why we at ELV would prefer not to dwell on such things. We do provide the prices of our meals, of course, but do so only as a public service — and by “public service” we mean to justify the expense to this guy.
That being said, it’s pretty hard to ignore the price of a meal when it costs $750/person. That’s the number of samolians a meal in the Krug Room will set you back at Guy Savoy. We’re not exactly sure how many people actually plunk down the plastic for the privilege, but at least that’s the value — or at least the price the accountants at Harrah’s think they can justify to the IRS when they’re calculating their comps.
For your money you get a standard-issue GS meal — and by that we mean some of the most perfect food on the planet — accompanied by six different (mostly vintage) Krug champagnes. You also get to spend quality time with the always-charming Franck Savoy, and learn (and ask questions) about the glories of French food and Krug champagne from the chefs — Eric Bost and his staff — each of whom is so solicitous you almost expect them to start cutting your meat for you.
Actually, Bost does a mighty fine job of doing just that with the Fermin Jamon Iberico de pata negra de bellota.
Like the ham, the rest of the meal is deliberately, straightforward — no Robuchon-ian flourishes — in order to let the wine be the star. You might call it a “best hits menu” — featuring as it does Savoy’s signature “Colors of Caviar” and Artichoke with Black Truffle Soup — but as wonderful as those are, it’s the Cote de Veau (veal chop) that steals the show with its perfection. The milky, just pink meat is something of a blank flavor slate, but a juicier, silkier, more tender calf canvas would be difficult to find.
As pitch perfect as the food (and 90%) of the wine is, something this expensive begs for a cost/benefit analysis. Of course, reducing a once in a lifetime experience into a ciphering exercise puts us in mind of what Robert Hughes once said of verse — “There’s no money in poetry, but then again there’s no poetry in money either.”
So it may be tacky (and un-poetic), but here goes: Six glasses of champagne averaged out to about $92/glass (the average price of all the bottles ($280 (average retail price) x 2 = $560 at a 100% restaurant markup) divided by 6 glasses/bottle. That’s about $552 worth of (admittedly rare and delicious) wine added to the (relative) bargain of the food ($200) = $750 for the whole enchilada.
No doubt there’s plenty of poetry in a glass of Krug champagne, but we’re not sure there’s ever $92 worth of poetry in any glass of wine.
Below are ELV’s (and other’s) tasting notes of the wines in the order they were served (all prices retail and taken from various wine Web sites):
Krug Grande Cuvee MV ($120) – Krug may be the gold standard for NV or MV champagnes (Bollinger is probably the other), and it’s priced like it. One critic calls the the house style complex, nutty, toasty and woody (words that have often been used to describe ELV when he goes on one of his benders). In winespeak: The Krug winemaker orchestrates the bass notes of yeast and toast aromas as the olfactory underpinnings for the lemon and orange violins if you will, and together they navigate their beady sensations into a properly constructed dance of lush complexity that culminates into a tsunami of sensory sonnets.
Yes, just as with blending champagne, mixing metaphors is an art form few can master(?)
Krug 1995 – ginger citrus candied berry and multi-grain bread honey roasted almonds graphite, long persistent finish (that characterizes all Krug wines) WS (98) WE (96) scored in 2006 ($280)
Krug 1990 – “profound” with great depth and complexity — citrus, ginger whole grain bread (again) woodsy richness accents of honey and nuts — fine, long smoky finish WS (98) scored in 2004. This was ELV’s favorite wine in the tasting — powerful, minimal oxidization, elegant, mouth-filling, some citrus, loads of toast, aged champagne at its finest. ($350)
Krug 1988 – was described as having a big mousse, moderately active bead, rich on the palate, with an earthy nuttiness, smoke quince and under-ripe apple by some guy with grapes on his head so we’ve gotta assume he knows what he’s talking about. The 1988 was the first time in Krug’s history that they held back a wine from release — the 1989 was released first and the ’88 held back to let it mature in the bottle. Wine Spectator scored this wine a 99, Wine and Spirits gave it a 96, and ELV gave it a B+ and told the bottle it should be spending more time on its homework. ($195)
Krug 1985 – full-bodied muscular, leather biscuit and coffee along with the citrus — fresh, but long smoky finish WS (96), Parker — “fully mature, spicy flavored” — (96). Perhaps “full bodied and muscular” was true of this wine at one time, but to our taste buds, it was past its peak. ($375)
Krug Rose MV ($350) – Some English Web site called the Whisky Exchange apparently takes its nose out of the shot glass occasionally to sip some fermented grape juice — their high-toned oh so British description centers on the personality of the wine as opposed to the American way of treating wine tasting like it’s an engineering exam. An American like the guy at Wally’s Wines would describe it as tasting of berry, toast, citrus and coconut. The Whisky Exchange would rather dwell on the Rose’s vibrant personality and exquisitely fragrant bouquet that “… is a prelude to an abundance of fresh, exotic flavors, and silky smoothness spilling over with notes of exotic spices and concentrated flowers.” RP (96), WS (95)
ELV just thought it was bone dry and tasted of wild strawberries, and its tartness fought, instead of complimenting, the raspberry gratinee dessert. He hasn’t dropped that much acid since 1974.
Guy Savoy (and the Krug Room) are currently closed, and will re-open on July 30th.
ELV and his staff didn’t pay for a thing.