Wine Dine and Play: December 2013

La Petite Maison



La Petite Maison
Dubai, UAE
#98 in the world??? How About 1098!!
Dined in November 2013
Picture courtesy of dubaimoves.com

A Little Story:
Let’s face it folks, if you’re in Dubai and you’re going to dine out, expect to pay through the nose. It is very expensive in Dubai, whether you’re going out to eat or be entertained. When you pay however, you expect to receive good service and food when you do go. Whichever list you decide to follow or use for tracking the top 100 restaurants in the world, San Pellegrino, New York times, or the Elite Travelers Magazine, you expect those 100 restaurants on the list to exceed far beyond your expectations, and blow you away. After all, there on the top 100 for a reason. I have been to Alinea, The French Laundry, The Test Kitchen, The Tasting room at Le Quartier Français, and L’Atelier Saint-Germain de Joël Robuchon, but La Petite Maison in Dubai, although being on that 100 list, did not deserve to be there.

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  Star ratings chart:
5 stars
Extraordinary  
4 stars
Outstanding 
3 stars
Exceeded expectations    
2 stars
Above average                         
1 star
Average
No star rating
Basic, poor, or appalling


Review basics:
Star rating by Wine, Dine, & Play:
2 of 5
Quality of food:
6 of 10
Presentation:
7 of 10
Wine selections by region:
Scroll below the main review section to see the tasting notes of the wines chosen.
6 of 10
Old world:
1.        Bordeaux, Rhône, Loire, Champagne, & Bourgogne, Alsace, Beaujolais, Corsica, Languedoc-Roussillon,  Provence, & Sud-Ouest, France;
2.        Aosta Valley, Piemonte, Liguria, Lombardia, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Veneto, Toscana, Lazio, Sardinia, Abruzzo, Campania, Sicily, Italy;

Customer service:
5 of 10
Ambiance:
8 of 10
Corkage fee’s:
Restaurant standard is $25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Semi-formal dining
Dress code:
Semi-formal, business casual, & Smart casual
Reservations:
Not Required, but recommended
Walk-ins:
Accepted
Child policy:
The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a child’s menu or cater to them; however for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended for children not to be in attendance. Hire a Babysitter.
Cuisine style:
Contemporary, Lounge, French, and Mediterranean
Experiences:
Place for foodies, Lounge, Business parties, Romantic, Great bar, Beautiful décor, and Upscale
Music styles:
Background instrumental
Gratuities:
Industry standard is 18-20% added to parties of 6 or more
Credit cards:
Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Diner’s,
Parking:
Valet, and Public lot
Transport options:
Bus, taxi, limousine, personal vehicle, and walking
Wi-Fi:
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
WHAT!!!?
Smoking:
Nonsmoking restaurant, smoking bar
Patio:
Yes

Chef:
Izu Ani
Picture courtesy of laudergastronomy.com















 

Food price per person (excluding gratuity)
Price chart:
$£€ -                Under 50.00
$£€ x 2 -          Under 75.00
$£€ x 3 -          Over 100.00
$£€ x 4 -          Over 200.00
$£€ x 5 -          Over 400.00

My food bill:
Currency :
Price chart :
د.645.00
AED
د.
$175.61
USD
$$$
£120.09
GBP
£££
€109.00
EUR
€€€

Visit these sites to get up to date currency rates:    

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Scroll down below the main review to see cost of wines and tasting notes.

From restaurants home page:
The home of Cuisine Nicoise, whose origins lie in old Genoese cooking, is the old town of Nice where French Mediterranean cuisine has blended and evolved with the influences of Ligurian Italy across the border. Local produce, notably artichokes, courgettes, lemons, olives, tomatoes, peppers and girolles are used generously with sea food, meat and fresh pasta to produce a style that’s light and healthy. Oil obtained from olives groves on the hills of the Alpes Maritimes behind Nice and extending into Liguria is used throughout.

Main review:
As part of my “Bucket List” to see the top 100 restaurants in the world, it can be a challenge considering the list changes from year to year, and some restaurants get kicked off that list. While in Dubai, passing through, and on my way to South Africa where I did not have a bad meal, I stopped here at La Petite Maison to cross off another restaurant on the top 100 list. La Petite Maison is #98 on the list for 2013.

Just to help you folks out when you go to this restaurant, the cab drivers in the city have no idea where it is, along with all the other restaurants in this area. The Address is the DFIC, and large building structure that resembles a triumph arch, and your cab driver will drop you off at the opposite end of where you need to be, so prepare for a walk.

As I arrived, my reservations were early in the evening, so the restaurant only had about 10 tables sat, plus the bar area. As I was about to be sat, I requested to move, since my table was near the bar. I didn’t mind sitting next to a bar, but this restaurant has a smoking bar. To each his own, I am a non-smoker, and prefer to smell my food, instead of smelling burnt tobacco. I was seated far from the bar next a nice young couple, and we had some great conversation as the night progressed.

The Sommelier came to the table and she was very professional and helpful with my selection, which I was finally able to decide on, after I spent time looking at the menu. I had the 2010 Domaine Blain-Gagnard Caillerets, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru. (Scroll down below the main review to see wine tasting notes)
My server on the other hand, could barely be seen or heard from. It took over five minutes to get me some water after I had requested it. So thank god the Sommelier had some sense of professionalism, because so far, this was not what I expected from a top 100 restaurant. In Dubai most of the hired staff is 2nd and 3rd world labor, from India, Sri Lanka, or the Philippines, and these folks do the best they can, and are very attentive to you. Here at La Petite Maison most of the service staff was European, possibly French, and I’m sorry to put it like this…they sucked.

I finally was able to place my order when my server finally came back to the table. Now remember, it is early in the evening, so at this point in time, there are less than 15 tables sat as you saw from the picture above, and there were servers all around the dining room, waiting for a table, yet I had been here almost 20 minutes, and I was still waiting to place my food order. I already had my wine, and was enjoying the first glass. I placed the order. They did not have a tasting menu, only ala carte. No problem, so I decided to order four appetizers, that way I could enjoy and try what the Chef prepared and his style, before moving to the entrée. I also asked the server to bring me one course at a time so that I could enjoy the flavors. The menu itself looked excellent, so I had very high hopes.

Shocking to me, the sever brought me out 3 of the 4 appetizers at once. When I explained again that I wanted one at a time, she said that they did not do that, and you get everything at once. I told her to take two of them back as I would try to enjoy my first selection. I was just starting my second glass of wine, and was not impressed with how they did business here. The first course was a Pissadiere onion tart with anchovies, and very tasty to say the least. I was ready to redeem the kitchen for bringing out almost everything at once, until I saw some cooks in a salad preparation area in the dining room, staring at me.
Onion Tart
At this time the server brought the second course which was a Salade de Haircot Verts au Foie Gras, loosely translated as French beans with foie gras. I tried to ignore the cooks, but inside I was fuming. I looked at the dish that was presented, and as you see in the picture below, my question was, “Where is the Foie Gras?” There were little cubed cuts mixed in, but only a speck. For the price of this dish, I was expecting Foie Gras, not specks of what you stuff the duck to begin with.
The third course was the Ratatouille avec Feta, or in English: “Mediterranean vegetables marinated in olive oil with Feta cheese”. The presentation looked outstanding, the smell of aroma would put you in heaven, but it was cold! You see, when they originally brought it out with the first two, and I asked them to remove it, they didn’t even bother to keep it warm, or make me a new one. Again, not the work of professionals in the top 100 restaurants of the world. I guess the Chef took the night off. I was ready to get up, and walk out. The Sommelier came to the table again to apologize. I didn’t see the manager until I was ready to leave. The apology is the only thing that kept me in the restaurant, and the fact that the entrée sounded good, and I wanted to try it.
She made sure that a new Ratatouille was brought out, and this one was nice and warm, very enjoyable. She told me that the manager would take this course off my check. My fourth and final coursed appetizer came out next, and by surprise, the server, and other servers were more attentive to me. I guess they saw m taking notes, and figured I would write a review, well…TA Dah….The friends I had made at the table next to me could not also believe the way in which I was treated. They had a different server then me, so they were good. The final appetizer was Tartare de Chevereuil, a.k.a Venison tartare.

 

The entrée course came. I had ordered the Canard a l’Orange, which was a slow cooked pair of duck legs with an orange glaze and sautéed onion, served with Brocolis, (Broccoli). Presentation was fantastic, taste was wonderful, and the portion was good size. Such good size that I did not have room for dessert, and after my experience, I really didn’t want one, even if I did have room.
Finally the manager came over and we talked. I told him the food tasted good, and had good presentation, but explained why I was upset about all the food coming out at once, and how the kitchen tried to rush me. By the time my entrée had arrived the dining room was packed, and very loud, so the kitchen’s perspective was to “turn and burn,” in other words get me in and get me out, so that the table could be sat again. With the price I paid to eat here, you don’t turn and burn me. I told him what a wonderful job the Sommelier was doing, but also said that his service staff needed help. I then asked to speak with the Chef, and then was told by the manager that he didn’t come to the dining room, and guests were not allowed in the kitchen! Pardon the abbreviation but…WTF. Normally the chef comes to the table, and most places if I ask to see the chef, and I’m not allowed in the kitchen, then he would come to see me. Very unprofessional. Again this restaurant does not deserve to be in the top 100 list. Is it better than most restaurants in Dubai? Some, not most. I can’t believe that between food and wine, I spent nearly $400.00 to be given service and cold food as if I was in a Ruby Tuesday’s.

This Restaurant reminds me of:
Food presentation was good, food tasted good, and the Sommelier deserves a raise. Service, cooks, professionalism was not good. Again not a top 100 of the world restaurant in my opinion. I would rate this restaurant the same as I would a typical chain restaurant in the United States that has bad service, with good food. A restaurant cannot survive on food alone. You need good customer service. This is where La Petite Maison falls short, and reminds me of a Ruby Tuesday’s, with better food quality. Sorry, but I call it the way I see it. I encourage the management and service staff of La Petite Maison after they have read this review to look at the other reviews of restaurants on this blog, from their competition in Dubai, and restaurants from around the world, so they can learn and do better next time. If they wish to invite me back to try again, I will be happy to come. I will keep the readers informed.

P.S….I looked closer at my bill when I got back to the hotel, and found out that they didn’t remove the Ratatouille from my bill like they said they were going to. Another lie, and I didn’t want to waste the time and money to get a cab to go back there, or even bother calling them.

Cost of wines and other alcoholic beverages:
$245.00

Tasting Notes:
Wine & Grape:
Nose (Bouquet):
Palette Experience:
Domaine Blain-Gagnard Caillerets, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru, France, 2010
Compared with 2009, these figures represent a deficit of 25 percent in red and 16 percent in white. Lean spicy pear nose, perfumed sublet peach, spice, slightly cheesiness (Epoisses) that dissipated with time, wet stone and spice - quite a complex nose.
Rich, firm, grainy and almost earthy on the palate, with good concentration and richness. Spicy, vigorous, and long. Firm acid bite, savory and almost bitter, with minerals to the fore, mid palate grip ripe apple over peach, slight custard notes and a touch of alcohol warmth on the finish. Drink 2012-2018


Restaurant address: 
Gate Village 08 DIFC
P.O.Box 506711
Dubai International Financial Center
Dubai, United Arab Emirates   
(SEE GOOGLE MAP)    
                       
Neighborhood:
Downtown
Cross streets:
312th road and The Index Road

Contact Information:
Maître d, reservations
+971 4 439 0505
Website:
Email:
Social media:
                       
Hours:
Lunch:
Daily: 12:00 – 3:30 pm
Dinner:
Monday
7:00 – 11:30 pm
Tuesday
7:00 – 11:30 pm
Wednesday
7:00 – 11:30 pm
Thursday
7:00 – 11:30 pm
Friday
7:00 – 11:30 pm
Saturday
7:00 – 11:30 pm
Sunday
7:00 – 11:30 pm
UAE Standard Time (GMT +4.00)

Proprietor / Manager:
Cedric Toussaint
Picture courtesy of Linkedin












 



Sommelier:
Magalie Sohas




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Review by:
Chef Sean Overpeck (CFE) in Afghanistan 2012


















"Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well."

ttfn
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