ELV note: The only reason Joël Robuchon is Number One on our Top 50 list and Guy Savoy Number two is because the food is slightly more over-the-top at JR. Basically though, on any given night, it’s a toss-up. Around the ELV manse, we like to say that JR is more like a temple of fine dining, while GS is more of a cathedral. (And if you can make out a difference between the two, you’re smarter than we are.)
In an Atlantic Monthly article entitled “Six Rules for Dining Out,” economist Tyler Cowen counseled avoiding any restaurant where “groups of people (especially beautiful women) are laughing loudly and having a good time.” Such an atmosphere indicates people are there for anything but the food.
Take solace in knowing that you will never encounter this at Guy Savoy. What you will find are gourmands and oenophiles taking their meal very seriously. Top toque Mathieu Chartron oversees all of the classics that made Guy famous—“Peas All Around,” artichoke truffle soup, and Guinea hen au cocotte—but also exotica like “Santa Barbara spot prawns caught in a sweet-and-sour fishnet” (a blanket of mesh-cut daikons), or wild salmon being “cooked” on a slab of dry ice—a conceit brought tableside that turns the fish into a density heretofore unknown by most fish lovers.
French chefs know foie gras like Koreans know cabbage and Chartron is no slouch in this arena either, offering small cubes of horseradish-topped foie over poached celery stalks dressed with “potato chip bouillon” that tastes exactly like it sounds. Put it all together with jaw-dropping bread-and-cheese carts, and you have food so impeccable that no one ever smiles—they’re too busy enjoying themselves.
Max Jacobson: “If pressed, I’d have to say I’d choose the intimate, art-filled Paris restaurant over this one for atmosphere, but what is on the plate is equal to Paris.”
Favorite Dishes: Marinated Grilled Hamachi With Egg-Sherry Vinegar; Eggplant Sherry And Radish Gelée; Oysters En Gelée. Pintade (guinea fowl); Peas All Around, Truffle-Artichoke soup; Colors of Caviar; Basically the whole friggin’ menu.
RESTAURANT GUY SAVOY