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Le Clos des Gourmets


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It's always hard for me to swallow that a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower is going to be both cheap and good. Last night we journeyed over to the shadow and glow of the Tower and worked our way through the fanny packs and camera bags to Le Clos des Gourmets on Avenue Rapp. The restaurant opens onto the street, has tall ceilings and pale yellow walls. The silverware is heavy, the glassware is tall and clean and the tables all set with pastel chargers over gleaming white tablecloths.

The menu is 35€ for three courses, has at least 8 selections for each course with an emphasis on seasonal. There were also daily specials for entree, plat and dessert. My one gripe was that many items had up charges of at least 8€ which notches up the bill pretty quickly. That being said, the plus charge items were actually worth it. One up charge appetizer was white asparagus and sauteed morels in a citrus creme sauce. When morels are still 99 euros a kilo at the market, I can deal with a 9 euro up charge.

I started with a poached egg over brandade and white asparagus foam. The egg was cooked perfectly, slowly oozing warm yolk over the slightly salty brandade and sweet asparagus foam. Two toasted slices of bread accompanied. My dinner (on the waiters recommendation) was a Tete de Veau, fork tender, crispy and full of garlic and thyme served over a whipped mash potato and tasty veal demi, this might have been one of the best things I have put in my mouth this month. I ended with citrus sorbet, and fennel confit. Dark strips of fennel, slightly firm with the spice of cloves and cinnamon, all delicious.

This place ranks up there with the best meals I have had in Paris. Given how many people were in the restaurant and the number of turns on tables, I am guessing I am not the only one who feels this way. I can't wait to journey back.

"When planning big social gatherings at our home, I wait until the last minute to tell my wife. I figure she is going to worry either way, so I let her worry for two days rather than two weeks."
-EW
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I am pleased to hear that Close des Gourmets is going strong. My family and I had a fine meal there a couple of springs ago, in addition to the food we found the service friendly and gracious. We had failed to grasp how formal the restaurant was and -- though not in t-shirts and sneakers were a bit under-dressed. I'm not sure I've ever felt quite so much like a clueless tourist as I did when the tableau of linen tablecloths, understated decor and well-dressed Parisians hit me full force. Nonetheless, they put us at ease within minutes and, despite my bad French blue jeans (I did have a jacket on, maybe that saved me), took excellent care of us all night. Maybe they specialize in heads :laugh: -- my tete de couchon was wonderful.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I am pleased to hear that Close des Gourmets is going strong.

I too am delighted it's still good. I stopped going a few years ago, I don't know quite why but it sounds great still.

I echo John.I have been there at least 6 times in the past (Its in my neighborhood),but stopped going there because one has so many options in Paris.

Incidentally ,on my last visit i had a long conversation with mr Chirac's chef,who was dining there and said that he loves the place .

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Funny the number of ex-regulars that place has!

We stopped going because we thought the ambiance was a bit starched and the service had become sketchy, bordering on the brusque. Did you find the staff to be friendly on your visit?

Clotilde.

We stopped going (roughly 5 years ago) because 'Madame' (FOH) was so manic that she had the waitstaff completely stressed and often close to tears. They tried to do their jobs, but she was constantly directing their activity unnecessarily. My husband finally refused to return. A shame, because we had enjoyed some quite interesting and delicious food for several years.

eGullet member #80.

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It's always hard for me to swallow that a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower is going to be both cheap and good.

Let me return to this by retorting (is that a word?, or a neologism..., whatever) - within sight of the TE one has the Constant Empire, Bon Accueil + Les Anges and not too far away 144 Petrossian. Pas mal. (Not to mention the Ducasse/Sodexho take-over of the Altitude 95 + Jules Verne.)

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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It's always hard for me to swallow that a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower is going to be both cheap and good.

Let me return to this by retorting (is that a word?, or a neologism..., whatever) - within sight of the TE one has the Constant Empire, Bon Accueil + Les Anges and not too far away 144 Petrossian. Pas mal. (Not to mention the Ducasse/Sodexho take-over of the Altitude 95 + Jules Verne.)

The sad thing, John, is that I don't think any of us went for the location. It was for food that was of the moment. I have no idea what it is like now, although I read above that they continue to serve the spiced fennel confit/lemon sorbet and, at my time, chiffonade of basil,quite an interesting dessert in those days.

eGullet member #80.

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The sad thing, John, is that I don't think any of us went for the location.  It was for food that was of the moment.

No question. But to be able to both eat well and shop at Marie-Anne Cantin, Androuet, Millet, Poujauran, Bacchus, Chaudun, etc., was/is a treat.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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The sad thing, John, is that I don't think any of us went for the location.  It was for food that was of the moment.

No question. But to be able to both eat well and shop at Marie-Anne Cantin, Androuet, Millet, Poujauran, Bacchus, Chaudun, etc., was/is a treat.

John, your points are inarguable from my perspective. I stayed seasonally in that neighborhood for several years and even with its American saturation quotient and apartment cost escalation I still find myself wandering back to the places you mention. We started going to Clos des Gourmets regularly a few years back and after our 1st visit when Mme. Pitrois explained a few finer points of restaurant etiquette,such as showing up on time, she gradually seemed to repress her dictatorial tendancies and actually smiled a few times and called me by name on subsequent visits. To me this restaurant is right at the top of the candidates for best rapport quality/price. As you know Arnaud Pitrois trained with Guy Savoy and is also one of the legions of young chefs with a Constant background. It has been about 2 years since we changed neighborhoods, but this thread has motivated me to call and reserve a table again; why should I let a bus or metro change get between me and and old favorite.

Speaking of the Constant constellation of chefs, what has become of Didier Varnier of the now defunct Au C'Amelot?

Edited by Laidback (log)
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Funny the number of ex-regulars that place has!

We stopped going because we thought the ambiance was a bit starched and the service had become sketchy, bordering on the brusque. Did you find the staff to be friendly on your visit?

Clotilde.

CD,

I thought the service was great. We had the older male waiter who was very cordial. My parents were visiting from Boston, he picked up on their accent and found two menus in English for them. When they were ordering he gave them a mini French lesson, smiling and being congratulatory at their progress along the way. All of this while the restaurant was completely full. The other waiter, the older woman, seemed a bit chilly but I couldn't say for sure since we didn't have her. I had read that the woman used to do all the serving and her husband all the cooking. If this was true, it seems like they have added the older waiter and another younger guy who was simply in charge of replacing silver, water, wine and busing tables. I think the added staff is clearly funded by the up charges throughout the menu. I think the Fois my mother ordered was a 9.50 euro up charge to the bill. Also the wine prices start at 28 euro.

"When planning big social gatherings at our home, I wait until the last minute to tell my wife. I figure she is going to worry either way, so I let her worry for two days rather than two weeks."
-EW
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