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Agapé Substance now a little light in the kitchen

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David Toutain, the chef star of Agapé Substance‘s open kitchen show, has left the restaurant. Contrary to an earlier report about the restaurant still “doing great,” we’ve heard that nearly the entire kitchen staff has left in the wake of Toutain’s departure.

The restaurant website is still promising Toutain and the prices haven’t dropped. They may very well rebound with a different chef, but in its current configuration, Agapé Substance is no longer among our picks for a place to drop serious money for food.

We wish them luck and look forward to the news.

UPDATE: Agapé Substance closed for good during the summer of 2014.

14 Replies to “Agapé Substance now a little light in the kitchen”

  1. I am disappointed David Toutain has left L’agape Substance as was one of the best meals we had on Paris including 4 three macaron establishments. Not cheap but I thought good value for the experience we had. I can advise that he will be cooking in Melbourne, Australia for three nights from March 5 at Brooks.

  2. Hi Meg, i apologize if i misunderstood you, and i appreciate your effort to read and answer my comment.
    Is the way i interpreted (i still do) your post, and i reacted may be too fast(emphasized with misspelling).
    To rectify is the way of the wise.
    Long life to Paris by Mouth.

  3. Ate there with Toutain cooking. Was very good not great, was occasionally surprised but never shocked. Was not worth the money.

  4. It’s a shame that David has left Agape Substance but I am not surprised. I had lunch with him and a group of people at Le Grenouilliere at the end of September and I could see that he wasn’t happy. 6 weeks later, when I heard he was leaving the restaurant, I wasn’t all that surprised. I went to visit him after the announcement and he was in great spirits. Though he would not tell me what his plans are, I got the sense from him that something is in the works. As far as the quality of his cooking, I have collected 17 reviews of his restaurant over the past year which is an astonishing number of reviews for me to collect for a new restaurant. All 17 people who reviewed it recommended the restaurant.

  5. Hi Paul,

    I don’t have any ill-will toward the restaurant, and I think your characterization of my “big effort” to bring them down is overblown.

    I’m not suggesting that Toutain’s departure should spell doom for Agapé Substance. Plenty of other well-loved restaurants (L’Office, Au Passage) have managed recent chef changes without any negative fallout. Of course, in both of those cases, the chefs left on very good terms with management and worked to ensure a seamless transition.

    The suddenness of Toutain’s departure and the subsequent exodus of most of the remaining kitchen staff made me search out recent online reviews and the opinion of anyone who has dined there recently. This diner feedback was not positive, so I mentioned it in a comment. If anyone has any other feedback to add to the mix, positive or negative, we would welcome that, too. We’re just trying to piece together what’s happening over there, in the interest of helping our readers decide whether it’s worth spending their time and money (129-239€ per person at dinner) to visit Agapé Substance at this particular time.

    Best wishes,

  6. Dear All:

    I appreciate this blog being a place for Meg and her fellow staff to report information that they have from good sources. Few if any sites in Paris offer this service (for free no less!). I also like that this blog allows for readers to voice their opinions about a particular restaurant. I am, however, uncomfortable with those writing in who feel the need to “shoot the messenger.” Such animosity and negativity is unwarranted.

    It is quite possible that David has officially left. I am uncertain. If so, it is a shame. (The “management” of Agape needs to go public ASAP.) David is a great chef, and the delicious & imaginative food he produced along with attention to detail and the sincere warmth he showed to his customers (me and my friends I sent from NYC) was a real treat.

    Let’s simply wish David, his wife, Thai, and their son, Aiden, the best of luck in 2013 and onward.


  7. Hi, i got surprise to see the big effort that Meg is making in trying to show how bad things are lately at Agape.., your comment in the way : a friend of a friend of my brother husband tolf me that…,and a link to another blog with a really ugly post about the restaurant, i didnt expect this from you Meg Zimbeck, for my point of view theres two options; or you tell everithing you know or you dont, but to pump up this rumors??? without having a experience on your own?
    To Henning Von Kalm, your comment is a clear example of what this business has become, you had a good service and good food UNTIL other people tell you that the one that was suppose to give you glamour as well as good food was not there, THEN the good experience is not there anymore. Some people just need to be told what is good and why.
    Sorry for the bitter comment, but is the way i see it, because i trust (still) in the information published in this blog. Anyway thank you for having the possibility to post comments.

  8. Had one of the worst meals of my life there in last summer 2011. Worst case of the Emperor has no clothes in my dining career. Not surprised to learn that the problem in the kitchen was not my imagination…

  9. Horrible news! Our lunch there last year was one of the best experiences and meal we have had in the world.

    And we went there thanks to this fabulous site’s recommendation.

  10. Hi Sigrid – my understanding is that the split was not at all amicable and that Toutain will not be coming back.

    I’ve spoken to a few visitors who dined there last week and they had no idea that Toutain had left the restaurant. The sentiment seemed to be that it was “fine, but…” and that they would not have spent such a sum had they known.

    I then saw this scathing review of a meal on December 22, long after Toutain had departed: “I have never had a worse meal in my life… a tearful 500 Euro for two including the decent, if inconsistent, blind wine tasting. Shameful.”

  11. I was there in 2011 (December) and again a two weeks ago. While the food is good (not great) but the woman who greets and serves the plates is a really piece of work. I wished the overall experience was as memorable as 2011.

  12. We dined at the restaurant last night. Enjoyed the food and service (although very french) but did not realize that we did not get the real deal. Quite a disappointment I have to say.

  13. This is a tragedy!

    What about the rumours that Toutain is just going to NY for a few days/weeks and will come back afterwards?

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