Monday, 21 July 2008

A Quick Paris Post

This will need to be filled out more, but I've just been asked for Paris recc's for the second time in a week (must be the season), so I'm posting a quick list. As you know, I foreswore haute cuisine after back-to-back unmemorable meals at Alain Ducasse New York and Per Se a few years ago.

This resolve is particularly underscored by the quality of the bistrots in Paris led by such haute-trained, but local-focused chefs as Yves Camdebord who made his fame (and led the local cuisine shift) at his own La Regalade (49 av Jean-Moulin, 14 th, Tel: 01 45 45 68 58) for many years starting in 1991 on the back of local, traditional cuisine of the highest order. It's a bit off the beaten path in the 14th, but it's worth the trek, even though Camdeborde sold it several years ago. Every meal starts with a huge terrine of house made pork pate passed to your table with cornichons and bread as a welcoming gesture of hospitality. The food is delicious and very reasonable.

Camdeborde sold La Regalade to buy the Hotel Relais Saint Germain, a very centrally located and charming hotel just off the main shopping drag in St. Germain du Pres where I spent the weekend after my wedding. Fear not, as Camdebord did not convert entirely to a hotelier, but opened the bustling Le Comptoir du Relais (9, Carrefour de l’Odeon, +33 (0)1 44 27 07 97) - an even tinier eatery fronting the hotel and spilling out onto the tiny carrefour du L'Odeon a triangular plaza in St. Germain du Pres. Camdeborde continues to create fantastic, traditional local food. His hospitality this time manifests itself in the complimentary cheese tray - enormous in size and selection - that makes the rounds after your meal. A normal menu during the week at lunch and on weekends, and a 5 course, no-choices prix fixe on weeknights. Reservations for dinner are a must and are difficult to come by unless you book far in advance, or are a guest at the Hotel. Another special by-product of staying at the Hotel is breakfast for guests only in Le Comptoir.

Le Reminet (3 Rue des Grands Degr├ęs , Paris +33 (0)1 44070424) is also a fantastic tiny little place on a small alley just off the Seine across from Notre Dame. It has an excellent wine list, a great cellar in which you can dine, and a very cozy ambience. It has the advantage of being open Sundays and Mondays, and the disadvantage of not being air-conditioned, which one hot June night was unbearable even by the open front French Doors. That said, its stellar food and very reasonable prices make it a staple stop for me in Paris.

L' Os au Moelle (3 rue Vasco-de-Gama, Phone: 01-45-57-27-27 ) vaguely near the Eiffel Tower is another fantastic bargain, which has been more than discovered by American and Japanese tourists. Chef Thierry Faucher nonetheless continues to please with a multi-course prix-fixe and an excellent wine list. Reservations, again, are essential.

There are others (L'Epi Dupin, Violin D'Ingres - which is admittedly more haute and expensive, to name a couple) that I'll expand upon later.