15-17, quai de la Tournelle (5)
What is Tour d’Argent doing on this list? Long ago demoted from decades of 3-star stature to 1-star, isn’t it tired, touristy and a relic from another age? Maybe so, but nothing like a 65€ lunch menu to motivate me to find out. The room may be a little tired. Better dressed and more worldly guests could revive the original glamour in a flash. Perhaps they do at night. There is no better Paris view than a window-side table four floors up at Tour d’Argent.
What brought us back, beyond affordability? Nostalgia. My first 3-star restaurant – in 1963. Some things have changed, mostly not for the better. Some things haven’t. Reports of a new chef. The food was still special; lunch a real value.
Very good, with numerous 3-star embellishments. Three courses with three choices, plus extras. Ethereal quenelle, one entrée choice. Followed by a choice of cod, duck or veal hangar steak, followed by pastry or sherbet. Preceded by a pre- dessert. Plus chocolates.
A separate wine list of suitable half bottles and more modestly priced lunch wines
A second visit included scallops, lamb shoulder and chocolate soufflé.
The service was elegant, but distracted. Finally, we got them to crack a smile. It must be hard to work in an institution increasingly populated by young French from the provinces celebrating birthdays and tables of Japanese. But there is no more authentic reminder of what the classic 3-star experience used to be.
65€. No tricks. A wonderful lunch. One we would return for. (And did – to a second exceptional meal.)
(2x) (2010 -2011)
Now 85€. (2014)