在全球最奢侈的连锁餐厅用餐,是一种怎样的体验

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  L’Atelier de Jo?l Robuchon may be the world’s mostexpensive restaurant chain. Each time I ate in thenewest one, which opened across 10th Avenue fromChelsea Market in November, I listened to peoplearound me compare notes on which of the 11 otherlocations they’d visited. Tokyo was popular, as wereLas Vegas and, of course, the original in Paris.

  L’Atelier de Jo?l Robuchon(乔尔·侯布雄法式餐厅)或许是世界上最奢侈的连锁餐厅。每次去切尔西市场(ChelseaMarket)上第十大道对面那间11月份新开张的餐厅用餐,我都会听周围的人交流自己对去过的另外11家餐厅中某一家的评论。东京那家很受欢迎,拉斯维加斯那家也是,当然了,还有最先在巴黎开的那家。

  As they reeled off their Atelier achievements, these people always sounded contented. And itmust be soothing to know that as you travel the world you will find an Atelier waiting for youto climb up on a comfortable red leather stool, watch the cooks dressed in what look like blackpajamas, admire the slightly supernatural colors of the vegetables and fruits submerged inwater inside glass vases, recline into a menu filled with Robuchon classics and small variationson the same key ingredients (eggplant, quail, squab, lobster), all at prices that most peoplecan’t afford, but you can.

  在谈论自己的L’Atelier进餐成就时,这些人听起来总是显得很满意。要是告诉你,在每次环游世界的时候,你都能找到一家侯布雄法式餐厅,等着你爬上舒适的皮质红色高凳,让你看着衣着好似黑色睡衣的厨师,欣赏浸在盛有水的玻璃瓶中的果蔬略微有些超自然的色泽,埋头看一份写满了侯布雄经典菜品和对同样的主材料(茄子、鹌鹑、乳鸽、龙虾)稍作变动的菜单,看着这些菜品上标着大多数人吃不起但你却可以的价格,一定十分舒心。

  Lulling familiarity was not Jo?l Robuchon’s aim when he built the first Atelier almost 15 yearsago. Having won just about every honor the French gastronomic world offers at his firstrestaurant, he had officially retired, and when he came back it was only to knock the wholesystem on its side. His idea was a restaurant where the food, made to his excruciatinglyprecise standards, would be served not at tables but at a U-shaped counter. The format mayhave been borrowed from Japan or Spain, but in France the effect was radical, as were thelate-night closing hours and no-reservations policy.

  在15年前创立第一间餐厅的时候,乔尔·侯布雄(Jo?l Robuchon)想要的并非平淡无奇的熟悉感。在凭借自己的第一家餐厅赢得法国美食界几乎所有的奖项后,他本已经正式退休了,他的回归只是想把整个体系打倒。他设想的是一家能以他极其精准的标准制作食物的餐厅,并且进餐的地方不是餐桌,而是一座U型吧台。这个形式或许向日本和西班牙有所借鉴,但在法国有着不同凡响的效果,他们持续到深夜的营业时间和不接受订位的策略也是这样。

  The proof of L’Atelier’s success is how un-shocking this sounds today.

  要证明L’Atelier到底有多成功,只需想想这些在今天听起来何其平常。

  Early on, as R.W. Apple reported in The New York Times, the prices could be modest “if youavoid caviar and foie gras.” This was less true by the time of L’Atelier de Jo?l Robuchon’s initialNew York run, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Midtown from 2006 to 2012, where Frank Bruniawarded it three stars. I remember feeling distinct pain there each time I paid the check.

  不久之前,R·W·艾普尔(R.W. Apple)在《纽约时报》上报道,“如果不点鱼子酱和鹅肝的话”,餐厅的价格还算适中。可在2006年到2012年期间,当L’Atelier最初在纽约中城四季酒店(Four Seasons Hotel)开张,获得弗兰克·布鲁尼(Frank Bruni)的三星评价的时候,情况并不是这样。我还记得每次付钱的时候那种清晰的心痛感觉。

  I also remember a stunned awareness that I’d do it again. I had had no idea anything couldtaste as good as the simple combination of a langoustine and a basil leaf inside a see-throughwrapper of fried brik pastry, or the far more complex glass of sea urchin suspended inlobster jelly under a quarter-inch of cauliflower cream that was like an insanely luxurious Jell-Osalad.

  但我也记得那种想要再来一次的震撼心情。我从不知道用透明的油炸蛋饺包裹着的一只海螯虾和一片罗勒叶这个简简单单组合竟能如此美味,或是复杂得多的那份悬停在龙虾酱之中、盖在一层大约6毫米厚的花菜奶油之下的海胆杯,就像奢华无比的果冻沙拉。

  Nothing on the menu at the new Atelier spun my senses around like those two dishes, not eventhe langoustine, which is on the menu there, too, but seems to have lost the juicy sweetness Iremembered.

  这家新开餐厅的菜单上没有哪样能与那两道使我感官眩晕的菜肴相比,就连这里也有的海螯虾,仿佛也没有我记忆中的那样甜美多汁。

  The kitchen, directed by Christophe Bellanca, shows impressive discipline. (It serves not justL’Atelier but a second restaurant, Le Grill de Jo?l Robuchon, which sits up front overlooking10th Avenue.) Not one dot of sauce, and there are many, is out of place. But some crucialconnection has been lost, the spontaneity and directness that was, I think, the point of theAtelier experiment.

  由克里斯托弗·贝兰卡(Christophe Bellanca)主管的厨房展现出了出色的纪律性。(这里不止负责L’Atelier,俯瞰第十大道的Le Grill de Jo?l Robuchon烧烤餐厅的菜品也出自这里。)那么多酱汁,每一滴都是规规矩矩的。但一些重要联系——即兴与直接——不见了,而我认为那才是L’Atelier实验的意义。

  Out of three dinners, my first was the most patchy. A $44 pair of mini-burgers topped with foiegras were more like an expensive caterer’s trick than a Robuchon brain wave. A vaguely spicedmush of eggplant under a runny boiled egg, for $32, was so unappealing I couldn’t finish it.

  在我吃的三次晚餐中,第一顿是最良莠不齐的。44美元两只堆叠着鹅肝的迷你汉堡,更像是一个昂贵的宴会承包商耍的把戏,而不是侯布雄的灵机一动。在溏心水煮蛋下放着隐约有点辣味的茄子糊,收费32美元,乏味到最后没吃完。

  Things got better from there, and sometimes much better, though rarely much cheaper. Thosetwo dishes were what the menu calls “small tasting portions,” and as you’d imagine, theappetizers and main courses come with higher prices. Three tasting menus, from $145 to $325,are not particular bargains. (Taking some of the edge off, service is included.)

  之后的体验有所好转,有时还有很大好转,虽然在价钱上难有下降。这两道菜都是菜单上的“小份品尝”,可想而知,前菜和主菜的价格更高。三份价格从145美元到325美元不等的品尝菜单算不上特别实惠。(稍微安慰一点的是,这里面包含服务费了。)

  Mr. Bellanca and his crew are at their best with careful refinements of classic French cooking.Slabs of roasted duck breast with cracked pepper and kumquat preserves, which I had in amain-course portion for $64, did everything you’d want canard à l’orange to do, and did it withstyle and confidence. There was a handsomely improved $42 blanquette of veal cheeks withtender-crisp vegetables and a little disc of buttered rice pilaf.

  贝兰卡和他的团队在竭尽全力精心改良经典的法式菜肴。烤鸭胸肉块搭配胡椒碎和金桔蜜饯,满足了你对法式柑橘烤鸭的所有想像,而且充满格调和自信。这道菜例牌价64美元。还有一道42美元的白汁烩小牛脸,经过充分的改良,搭配嫩脆的蔬菜,以及一小团黄油抓饭。

  The beef tartare is chopped to little pieces but not beyond, smoothed with egg yolk, dressedwith enough mustard to make it stand out in a crowd, and served with the fries that McDonald’ssells only in my dreams. It comes close to being a model of the form in every way except theprice, $52.

  鞑靼牛肉被切成了小块,但也没有过小,用蛋黄拌匀,撒上足够多的芥末,它就脱颖而出了,和薯条一起上桌,薯条的味道是我梦想中麦当劳能够提供的。这道菜非常接近本菜式的典范了,除了52美元的价格。

  The $34 beet salad was full of adventure, starting with a throat-catching scoop of green-mustard sorbet and continuing with some of those famous Robuchon dots, each of whichturned out to be a perfectly delicious sauce made from, say, green apples or avocado. But notmany other dishes seemed interested in startling anyone.

  售价34美元的甜菜沙拉充满了冒险,从一勺刺激嗓子的绿芥末雪葩开始,再加上一些著名的侯布雄小圆球,那些小圆球实际上是用青苹果或牛油果做成的美味果酱。但其他很多菜似乎并不打算给人意外。

  The most spectacular thing I ate did not come from the kitchen but from the bakerydownstairs. Tetsuya Yamaguchi, who has been tending yeast in Mr. Robuchon’s empire for twodecades, is now stationed in the basement on 10th Avenue. His masterpiece is called theescargot, a swirl of savory brioche dough with olive oil between its many warm and flaky layers.He also bakes baguettes that seem to be shrunken versions of full-scale ones; at that size theycould be all crust, but somehow he keeps the crust in proportion with the rest, and they are ajoy to eat.

  我吃到的最美味的东西并不是来自厨房,而是来自楼下的面包店。在侯布雄的帝国里负责酵母处理已有20年的山口哲也(Tetsuya Yamaguchi,音),现在在第十大道地下室里工作。他的杰作被称为“蜗牛”,是一种美味的奶油蛋糕卷,许多温暖而松脆的卷层之间涂着橄榄油。他也烤法棍,但它们看起来像是缩小版的,这个大小的法棍可以完全是脆皮了,但他以某种方式让它松脆的部分与其余部分保持合适的比例,吃起来很享受。

  Meanwhile the pastry chef, Salvatore Martone, is making some of the finest and airiestchocolate soufflés in the city, like dark-chocolate vapor tricked into solid form. He disguises atarte Tatin as a shiny red Snow White apple; in another optical illusion, he fashions a replica ofa lemon out of blown sugar, then fills it with lemon sorbet, and while I wished it tasted as muchlike lemon as it looked, it was a good dessert.

  与此同时,面点大厨萨尔瓦多·马托内(Salvatore Martone)正在制作城中最好、入口即化的巧克力苏芙蕾,就像是化为固态的黑巧克力雾。他将一个法式苹果挞伪装成了闪闪发亮的白雪公主的苹果;在另一个视错觉作品中,他用吹糖做出了一个柠檬的复制品,然后将其中填满柠檬雪葩,我希望它能像看上去那样足够有柠檬味,但仍不是为一道上好的甜品。

  Those are Mr. Martone’s excellent chocolates that show up around the same time as the check,and his kugelhopf that will be waiting for you in a Robuchon shopping bag by the coat check incase you want to start the next day with a custard cake, and why wouldn’t you?

  马托内出色的巧克力几乎是与账单同时出现的,他的咕咕霍夫奶油圆蛋糕(kugelhopf)会在衣帽间的一个侯布雄购物袋中等着你,这是考虑到万一你第二天想以一个蛋糕开启新的一天,为什么不呢?

  

 

  The service strikes a rare balance of charm and formality that was missing from the uptownlocation. There will be smiles when you get there, and smiles later when you whisk yourkugelhopf off to wherever it is you go with your kugelhopfs.

  餐厅的服务难得地在魅力和规矩之间取得了平衡,在上城这一带,这是很难得的。你到达那里的时候会见到笑容,在你快速拎起咕咕霍夫前往某地时,也会看到笑容。

  Whether this is a restaurant for you is first of all a question of money; there is no way to eat asatisfying meal at L’Atelier without spending a lot of it. If the prices don’t bother you, thenneither should my nagging sense that the cooking is not as exciting as it could be. Nobodygoes to chains, even expensive ones, for new sensations.

  这个餐厅是否适合你的首要问题是钱:在L’Atelier就餐,不花很多钱是不可能的。如果对你来说价格不是问题,那么我的这些关于烹饪还差点意思的絮叨也不需要在意。大家去连锁餐厅,即便是昂贵的连锁餐厅,都不是为了获得新体验的。

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