Cooking for Pierre Troisgros

Pierre Troisgros, 87 and the baldest diner in this picture but still pretty hale and hearty despite a couple of minuscule hearing aids, entered the ultra-modern house of our friends in the small village outside Roanne, south-east France that has been their family home for over 50 years just after midday last Sunday. He and the three other couples who live nearby and had also been invited left just as dusk was falling shortly after 5 pm. In the intervening period they had drunk extremely well, as you will see when our…






Veg, veg, veg – New York style

This is a version of an article also published by the Financial Times. New York’s culinary reputation has been built on protein: steaks, chops, burgers, fried chicken (now on offer with champagne at the appropriately named Birds & Bubbles on the Lower East Side) and pastrami. Invariably, these have been served in what to Europeans at least have appeared to be immense portions with the provision of a doggie bag as the vital, final conscience-salving ingredient. No longer. Although all of these remain on offer, I discern a major shift…






Eating, and queuing, like New Yorkers

It is now very obvious to anyone travelling to the US that food, wine and the hospitality industry receive so much wider media coverage today than in the past (see, for example, Union Square Cafe – 30-year-old icon with its CBS film crew trailing its owner Danny Meyer) and that this has had a decidedly positive effect on how these subjects are practised across this enormous and fascinating country. However, the most significant change in the social status of these subjects will never be noticed by Americans. It can be appreciated…






Happy 25th birthday, Tribeca Grill

A quarter-century is a long time in any relationship, whether amorous or business. For a restaurant to survive this long is most unusual. Tastes change. Partners, initially the best of friends, fall out or want to go in different directions, and leases come to an end, even if some restaurateurs manage to fend off the threat of redevelopment from landlords keen to maximise the value of their freehold properties. So the fact that Tribeca Grill, opened in 1990 by restaurateur Drew Nieporent in partnership with Robert De Niro in what…






​Camino, Oakland – a revolution in tipping

14 October 2015 Yesterday Danny Meyer, head of Union Square Hospitality and the most respected restaurateur in New York, perhaps the US, made a seminal announcement; that his many revered restaurants would successively stop optional service charges and, to benefit all members of the team, would be applying a standard service charge. I feel that being in New York when this was announced was the equivalent for restaurant correspondent Nick of my being in Hong Kong when it was announced in 2008 that wine duties were being abandoned. For that reason,…






Greeks bearing fish

This is a version of an article also published by the Financial Times. At the end of my first meal at Estiatorio Milos, the Greek fish restaurant that originated in Montreal in 1979 and has subsequently opened outposts in New York, Athens, Miami, Las Vegas and, in mid August, in London’s Regent Street, I spotted a Frenchman who specialises in restaurant franchising lunching with a Russian. In contrast to my rather mundane dishes from the £29 set lunch menu (octopus that should have been more tender and an overcooked tuna…






​Dinings for danger

A version of this article is also published by the Financial Times. The most memorable Japanese restaurants, whether serving a formal kaiseki set menu or an informal izakaya, principally a bar with food attached, or a sushi counter, invariably leave me with two sensations very different from those experienced at other restaurants. The first is a sense of danger. This comes from eating more raw food than I usually do, as well as having the opportunity to watch chefs wielding extremely sharp knives to such beneficial effect at close quarters….






France – culinary hero sought

My article last Saturday on the particular charms of our holiday spent not eating out in restaurants led me to thinking about the particular state of how the French appreciate, and talk about, food and wine as I drove through the pouring rain en route to Carcassonne market at 7.45 one morning last week. Once at the market, all the stall holders were blaming this weather on le marin, the warm, moist wind from the south that brings rain and humid air with it and is the sworn enemy of anyone…






Eating in the Languedoc

Later, on 8 Aug I have just substituted this great collection of images assembled by our daughter Rose, who managed to get out of bed early enough to accompany her father to Carcassonne market this morning. Isn’t she clever? (And when she was doing all this, I told her off for not helping get breakfast ready…) – JR I am not reviewing restaurants this weekend for two reasons, one far more obvious than the other. The first is that we are on holiday. The second is that while this break…






​Disappointment at Hotel Ecclestone

This is a version of an article published by the Financial Times. There were several years when my wife did not enjoy going out to eat in restaurants with me, with considerable justification. This was during the 1980s and coincided with my life as a restaurateur. If, when we were in another restaurant, I saw some aspect of the food or service being executed better than we were then doing, I could not stop talking about it and how quickly I could borrow the idea or the dish. If, on…