March 01, 2012 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

La Maison du Caviar Restaurant, Beirut (Restaurant Closed)


Welcoming: 3/5

Food Temperature: 6/10

Ambiance / Music: 6/10

Menu Choice: 3/5

Food Taste: 18/30

Architecture / Interior: 6/10

Food presentation: 6/10

Service: 6/10

Value for money: Soon

La Maison du Caviar, one of the newest names in restaurant venues to open in Beirut, is an international chain that is well established around the world.

When you hear the name La Maison du Caviar, a lot of questions come to mind: Is it a five star restaurant? Is it expensive? Does it serve only caviar? Is it one of the finest restaurants in town? Arriving to La Maison du Caviar, I can tell you that I was somehow shocked as I walked in to absorb that first impression. I was expecting a very high-end fine dining place, welcoming French speaking waiters, a whole silverware service setup, perfectly dressed tables and so on... there was no side bread plate setup and the waiters leaked with inexperience. But that was not the case. As a first impression, I would say that the place lacks that attention to details, which in my opinion make a lot of difference. We arrived at 2pm on a Sunday, New Year Day. To my surprise, the restaurant was not full, but I looked at it positively and expected that the staff’s attention will be on us. I went there with my family on Christmas Day. As a day for celebration and a day that you would expect people to come…

I would have thought that the managers would have been more attentive. The ashtrays on the tables had cigarettes residues left, I even found a small piece hair under the fork and what I hated the most was the paper covering the tables. Yes, papers covering the tables as if we were in a French cheap brasserie. Is it to avoid cleaning the table covers? The sensation of nylon papers touching my skin all time long is disgusting. Other smaller details made a bit of difference. Black leather menu, the Evian glass water bottles, and the large rounded tables… The decoration is very nice but I see it more as a night place rather than a place to visit at lunch. I had that continuous impression of being in a nightclub. Again I was shocked with some more unacceptable details. A spelling mistake in the menu “Oignons Confites” and then comes an unbearable, headache generating music playing in the background. Of course the restaurant serves Caviar, as well as any French dish you would like to taste, from fish to meat to a variety of salads. They have a fine choice of Beluga caviar, Oscietre caviar and French caviar.

We chose to drink a very nice wine which I recommend: 2007 Chateau Lanette, Graves. It's a bottle that should aerate for half an hour or so before feeling its proper aromas.

For starters we had:

  • Alaskan King Crab salad that comes with baby Romaine heart, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes and sharp lemon dressing. A very tasty and generous dish.
  • Salad Bio: Smoked duck magret and raspberry balsamic vinaigrette with raspberry colored confit pieces. The colors and presentation of this dish are a piece of art, as well as the perfectly combined ingredients mixing sweet and sour in every bite.
  • Poulpe: Par blanched octopus, smoked potatoes, baby spinach: This is a fine dish, appreciated with every bite but unfortunately a bit salty.
  • Red Tuna Tartare and Granny Smith apple, candied eggplant, coconut and leeches, is a success as well.

The main dishes were:

  • -Wild Fish Filet with ‘sauce vierge’ and pomegranate molasses, gnocchi in turmeric.
  • Angus beef tenderloin, roasted grenaille potatoes with Provence herbs and sautéed spinach.
  • Tatami tuna loin with green pepper sauce, zucchini spaghetti and caramelized onions.
  • Sea scallops flambéed with Cointreau, cauliflower cream with lime zest and packshoi.

The overall food experience is very good overpowering the welcoming details and bad first impression we had. In general I would state it as a restaurant that lacks a certain class, or in French “Un restaurant qui manque de classe” It's a pity to have such a food quality with such inattention to details. The deserts are an amazing success: Mouthwatering ingredients, aromas and presentations. The final taste is very good.

  • Coulant au Chocolat: Kahlua cream filling caramelized bananas, crushed peanuts and fondant.
  • Triffle: Mascarpone cream and red fruits (the presentation is delicious).
  • Apple Tarte Tatin and caramel ice cream with salted butter (that’s the special part).
  • The signature and unique Chanel #5, specially prepared, specially presented and specially served. The interpretation of CoCo is sensuality in a desert.

As I said previously and would like to focus on it again, the food does not match the overall restaurant experience. The food is very good compared to how it's served. I am sorry to have to end my review with a detail I do not usually like to mix with food and that is the restrooms. But I can’t not make a point about it here. The restrooms at La Masion du Caviar are very dark and very badly lit. Although the place is very new, the restroom door is very dirty, and while entering there you have a complete view to the stock room. The seat is very high and uncomfortable and there were no towels or even a stand installed to put the towels on.

At last it's a place to try, we paid $105/person including a French bottle of wine, an entree, main course and desert for everyone.





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