La Table du 8: Get dressed

Broadly speaking, the restaurant universe is divided into only a few galaxies. There is, of course, the galaxy revolving around good food alone; there are others where status and/or money come into play; there are those that are not about food at all but about fashion and style and interior. I invite you to come up with other criteria, and I invite you to tell me what „La Table du 8“ is all about.

Tucked into the basement of the brand new hotel La Maison des Champs-Elysées (designed by Maison Martin Margiela) the setting of this restaurant is splendid. You enter a clean, sober space with tables and chairs all dressed in white linen, apparently floating in the air, arranged in long rows facing huge windows that offer calming views of hanging green gardens outside. That’s brilliant, it really is.

Do I fit in here?

But to be honest, if you don’t have the self-confidence of, say, a Mr. Strauss-Kahn, you will also feel a bit intimidated upon arrival. You don’t ask yourself first, and joyfully, what will I eat? How will the chef try to make me happy? You rather ask: Am I adequately dressed? Is my hair in order? Do I fit in here?

This, unfortunately, doesn’t get much better over (lunch)time. Our waiter had the aura of a male supermodel who was serving us just by coincidence, filling a gap between jobs in Milano and New York, perhaps. The menu read like copied from a women’s health magazine: white fish, white asparagus, white meat, „shrimp skewers with lemon grass“, the nowadays inevitable „seared tuna with a sesame crust“, chicken, a chef’s salad, you see the pattern. Expensive, yes. Two courses at 39 Euros, three at 48. At lunchtime, that’s quite hefty , so these prices mean: There is no other way, it has to be good.

Like a Hongkong pop song

But it isn’t. Food at „La Table du 8“ is modern but average at best, the chef and his team don’t really know how to use salt and pepper, and they don’t know a lot about umami, the magic of taste. They are proper craftsmen, they know how to dress a plate, everything comes pretty like a Hongkong pop song, but overall this cuisine lacks soul and emotion and juice and whatever you really need to be properly fed.

Let’s put it this way: Americans would say, and rightfully so, that this is a perfect place for dating. Which means, and I leave it to you whether to buy into this or not: Who cares about food when you’re invited to feel for two hours like you’re starring in „Sex & the city“? Good question. The answer is up to you.

La Table de 8

8, rue Jean Goujon

5008 Paris

01 40 74 64 65

Métro: Franklin D. Roosevelt