Aux Armes de France, Ammerschwihr

Until March 2005 Aux Armes used to have a Michelin star (the father of the current chef got the first star for the restaurant in 1938). We booked to eat there on my birthday a few years ago. However, all did not go well. It was a Sunday lunchtime. The only menu they had was 80€ with no choices (apart from the à la carte menu). We couldn’t find anything we liked so walked out. Unfortunately by then it was too late to find another interesting restaurant and we ended up having pizza.

Now Aux Armes only has a Bib Gourmand and we thought it time to check it out as the chef might be working really hard to regain customers. The midweek lunchtime menu is now 27€ (or 32€ with a glass of Alsace wine and coffee). There are several choices for each course and of wines (we could select from reisling, muscat, gewurztraminer, and pinot noir). The cooking and presentation were passable but nothing exciting – it would certainly not indicate the chef once had a Michelin star. We won’t be rushing back.auxarmes.jpg
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Ravioles d’Escargots a la Crème d’Ail Persillée et ses Chips
Terrine aux 3 Viandes – Sauce Cumberland
Filet de Canard – Jus aux Épices – Garniture du Moment
Parfait Praline, Glace au Bailey’s et Poêlée de Pommes et Griottes

On leaving we saw a display of newspaper and magazine cuttings. It seems the chef Philippe Gaertner decided that keeping up the high standards necessary to retain the Michelin star was costing him too much money so he gave back his star and indicated he was turning to a more rustic cuisine. “Winning or keeping one’s star status requires not only professional vigilance at all times but a big investment in money and personnel, and you need a big clientèle to support it.” “The pressure to maintain the star rating had led to a slow erosion in the numbers coming to eat at the restaurant and to higher charges for customers.”

A cartoon by Jean-Pierre Desclozeaux in Le Monde du 23/02/06 accompanying an article by Jean-Claude Ribaut on «le monde turbulent des casseroles» entitled «Le Michelin 2006, avare en étoiles»

desclozmonde.jpgClick on the image

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