I normally don't post about restaurants but I wish I had read more about dining at the chef table. I booked a table for my husband and I for a nice celebration dinner. He went on the web-site and found something called the "chef table" nad booked us there instead. Please note you must secure the reservation with a credit card, which was okay with us.
When we arrived we were taken into the kitchen. Wow, the lights were SO bright in there (of course, they need to see what they are cooking) and it is very loud and hot. I thought we would be seated in the corner of the kitchen with a nice view of what was happening....nope, we were seated right in front of where the food was coming out; it was a bit uncomfortable to say the least. Everyone from the dish washers to the servers staring at you and trying to get around our table. I was so nervous and felt 'on display'. I also expected a warmer 'welcome' but everyone was so busy running around it never happened.
We sat and (yes I looked at my watch) almost an hour before anyone brought us something to eat, and that was because I finanlly asked someone for bread.
They encourged us to get up and walk around the kitchen and ask questions and help out. I felt very out of place....and I adore cooking. Everyone we met was very nice and kind...very hard working people. We had three courses of food, which were yummy but tiny and we also got to taste 3 wines. The chef picked everything and his selections were nice.
I wish I had been eating the same food in the dining room and I wish more had been explained about eating at the chef table. Our bill was $331.00 for 2 people and I am certain I could have gotten 3 courses for so much less in the dining room. I am sure it is worth a bit more to have the kitchen experience, but for what we got, I found it over priced. I also felt it was rude for them to add over $50.00 in gratuity; it was out of line. First, not a sole even waited on us; we would have had better service in the dining room...and second, we agreed before hand to pay the money, why not allow two grown adults to leave there own tip? It was not like there were 6 or more of us.
I will return to the secnd empire and I will make sure I sit in the main dining room or in the tavern. I think the concept of this was nice but it failed to live up to the standards I would have expected. I hope this was helpful.
Pros: Hands-on experience
Cons: very costly, not much food, loud and bright