La Table d’Eugene vs. Septime
Hello crew, I’m back state side after some much enjoyed vacation in Europe! While Paris was not the first stop on my trip (don’t worry I’ll be sharing the fabulous eats of Switzerland and Italy too), it WAS the most contentious location in terms of service. So grab a cup of tea / snack, settle in, and check out may side by side comparison of La Table d’Eugene and Septime.
Before we dive in, let me give you the higher level details of both restaurants and the service we experienced…
La Table d’Eugene
This praise restaurant is meant to transform your dining experience with their "carte blanche" as you are transported through a set course of various colors, aromas and flavors. Located in the 18th arrondissement, they holds one Michelin star, serves lunch and dinner (more popular for dinner) and offer two supper selections; a 5 course tasting (€99) and an 8 course tasting (€130) - both costs without the wine parings.
We were the first table (1 one of 10) to arrive for the evening. Providing our list of allergies 3 weeks prior to dinner we were excited to partake in the La Table d’Eugene 8 course tasting experience. However, we were quickly told that accommodating our allergies would be ‘a lot’ and the chef suggested the 5 course dinner for my friend Rhea and me. So as you can assume, I was pretty shook and vexed that it seemed the requested details - provided nearly a month in advance - had not been acknowledged. Over all, the service was slightly off putting and enveloped in an awkward and strongly silent atmosphere. As the dinner progressed, the wait staff felt the need to remind us at each course of our allergies had how each dish was modified in one way or another… The food itself was well made, presented, and had great taste. However, we were unable to fully enjoy our experience due to the initial service experience which was frankly a let down. I will mention though that I think the chef did make some modifications to our experience as the night progressed as some form of remediation. Keep reading to find out more.
Also holding a Michelin star, this lunch and dinner eatery is popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Booked out three weeks in advance, Septime is known for provided dishes filled with passion, freshness and fun for all palates. Located in the 11th arrondissement, Septime is open for a 5 course lunch at €60 and again in the evening for a 7 course dinner priced at €95 - both costs without the wine pairings.
A complete and utter 180 from Tabel d’Eugene, our set lunch at Septime was a complete dream; A’s all around!! We had fantastic service that made us want to never leave, along side dishes that were fantastic in their own right and furthermore elevated by the aura of the establishment. There was no form to inform the restaurant of any allergies / dietary restrictions in advance; however, when we told our waitress at the beginning of the meal she was so well versed in the menu of the day that she was able to tell us what small changes might be made (and confirmed with the chef to be safe!). Each and every dish was presented with care, detail, and extreme adaptability for both Rhea and me. Septime quickly has become one of my favorite Paris restaurants and I know that much like Cafe de Mars, I will be back each time I visit.
Now let’s dig into what I ate at each location! I wrote down as much about each dish as I could while they were described. Find pictures of each under the restaurant title and a “deep dive” in the same order as they are shown below.
La Table d’Eugene
At La Table d’Eugene we started off with a set of 3 amuse bouches: Sardine & daikon in tomato water (not pictured), a tempura feta cheese with sausage & olive puree, and watermelon with mayo & pine infused flavors. In the first course we were presented with a tomato gazpacho with cucumber, pistachio, soy beans, zucchini, flying fish roe (this was delicious!!). Course two was a red tuna, beet root, cherries, almonds, cucumber, farm cream, and radish mixture / salad that was light and refreshing. After which, we dove into course three that was some type of white fish (sorry language/speed barrier) with Greek yogurt, mint, coriander, peas and a raspberry harissa sauce. Preparing to round out the meal, we started course four: blood duck with purple carrots, blue berries, cabbage and blackcurrant with a duck reduction sauce. This was by far a front runner for the night! Delivering smoky, sweet and savory flavors; I must admit I would seek out again.
Here is where the night got interesting… after telling us we could NOT have the 8 course meal we had planned for the chef decided to take a bit of a turn. We were delivered a goat cheese mousse with blackberry jam, blackberry and roe which we thought was our fifth and final course. Interesting, but not really what your mind would go to for dessert. Then to our surprised it was followed up by a strawberry jam cheesecake with germanium, parsley sponge cake, raspberry, strawberry, blackberry & sugar crystals with a fresh strawberry cocktail sauce. This dish was EPIC!!! So fresh with many carefully picked flavors, it was so good that I - someone who does not like berries - was absolutely blown away. But the dinner did not end there… after our encounter with THE cheesecake of all cheesecakes, we were given a departing gift of a hazelnut mouse wrapped in dark chocolate (frozen) and then covered with melted chocolate sauce. I’m not sure what changed the tone of the kitchen / service in the end, but I must say that we ate well at La Table d’Eugene.
We began our lunch at Septime with a light and extremely refreshing cucumber water amuse bouche served with fresh almonds, raspberries, and cucumbers cubes. This ‘soup’ of sorts was a combination of flavors I had never thought of and didn’t know I needed in my life! From there we began our set lunch experience. Course one was a sort of tuna tartare with basil, yolk and beets served in a lettuce cup. Keeping with the light we touch we moved to our second dish: a melody of fresh and dehydrated tomatoes with gooseberries in buffala milk. I know this might sound like an odd mix, but it tasted terrific!
Up next, we began the more savor portion of the meal with dish three: green and white beans, snap peas, great northern beans, hazelnuts, and marinated shiitake mushrooms all in a hay infused butter sauce. This was one of my favorite dishes, but to keep it 100…each dish was out of this world. Hitting course four with our main entree, we were presented with grilled cabbage and miso glazed chicken with a green pepper based mash or ‘stuffing’ atop.
Without wanting the experience to come to an end, the menu was tied together at the end with a lovely yogurt sorbet served with apricots, a thyme lemon crumble and mint. Let me tell you, this crumble was SO good that we wanted to take a bag of it home with us! So ‘simple’ and yet delightfully interesting.
Overall, I would have to say, save your €40-100 and make your reservation at Septime if you can only pick one of the two. Both restaurants will serve up great food, but my motto is to always be kind and welcoming. Sadly, that is not the vibe I received from La Table d’Eugene. Maybe one day I’ll make it back and have a better experience, who knows?!
Thanks for reading ♡