Even passing on the optional $995 wine pairing, this was far and away the most expensive meal of my life. Even Damon Baehrel doesn't come close. Joel Robuchon is a destination - an event. People get engaged here or drop insane amounts of money not just for the food, but for the entire experience.
This restaurant is French pretentiousness at its finest. A snooty vibe emanates from the physical space, every staff member and the food on the plate. Every whim is catered to with a "It will be distinct pleasure" and "What an excellent choice you have made". My sommelier (Troy) was outstanding in every way. I lost count of how many times he nasally declared "Very good sir..." and exited with a pronounced bow and backward shuffle. He did the same as he gestured me towards the restrooms. It was humorous and utterly delightful at the same time.
The food is outstanding, if you can get past the hideous amount of calories you are consuming with each bite. The sheer quantity of butter in every dish is astounding and horrifying and delicious. But the dishes also show technique, from the absurd detail in their signature caviar and crab dish (you'd roll your eyes if it wasn't so damn impressive) to a rich, supple and delicious pumpkin soup, beautiful hand-made pasta, perfectly cooked and seasoned duck and of course, their signature mashed potatoes.
But the baking steals the show. The breads are astounding - especially the bacon and mustard seed bread. (I asked twice to be sure I heard him correctly when he said that!) The desserts simply can't be topped. The amount of labor that goes into producing this meal and all of its accoutrements is a marvel and provides the strong sense that the astronomical price is warranted.
The wines were also excellent (even with my lowest-cost pairing) - unique, delicious and very well paired to each dish.
This is a once in a lifetime place to come. Bucket list for sure. 4 hours of over the top French decadence combined with service that makes you feel like royalty. You may need to mortgage your house to come here, but you certainly won't regret doing so.