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Chez Jean in the 9th


Laidback
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Three of us recently visited "Jean", fka "Chez Jean" in the 9th and found it interesting. We ordered the 7 or 8 course menu degustation for €78. This is the place for foam seeking, envelope pushing afficionados. My take was that the raw materials were of high quality, but the chef perhaps has crossed the line between cutting edge and silly. For example , an emulsion of crab sprinkled with...Rice Krispies, which the server called corn flakes, then after being gently corrected by the loveliest and Frenchiest of our trio, changed to riz soufflé...still Rice Krispies?

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Example #2: a dessert of puréed tomatoes and strawberries topped with...popcorn. My photo wasn't any more satisfactory than this combination, so I didn't include it.

What did work in my opinion, was the beautifully prepared cod, lightly foamed and accompanied with a chocolate wasabi sauce and a dollop of boudin noir...excellent, even though our server insisted on calling it sword fish.

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The meat course was a deliciously spiced, tender 8-hour pork.

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White asparagus was served with an abundance of foam which one was allowed to admire before being topped with a fried egg.

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Another successful dish was de-boned frog legs copiously foamed with menthe and served over an avocado sauce.

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Rice Krispies must be "in" this Spring as our 3rd dessert was just that, covered with chocolate...it would have been better with the marshmallow to hold it together but then there may have been a copyright problem with the Rice Krispie Treats people.

The service was most cordial if perhaps a little mis-informed and prone to the occasional error...I asked our server his opinion as to a bottle of Chateau Tour Marbuzet for our main red wine and he suggested a bottle of Fougeres instead and it was fine, probably an improvement over what I was going to order, but he still charged us for the Marbuzet, but did not charge for our large bottle of Chateldon or one of our glasses of white. He offered our guest a tour of the kitchen to meet Chef Bordier, which was a nice touch.

My overall take is that the chef admires Pascal Barbot but doesn't quite get the subtleties involved in unusual combinations yet, although the esteemed Michelin Red awarded him a star this year...could they have missed out on the popcorn and Rice Krispies? I would love to hear someone else's critique...Ptipois, Gastrominator, Carlsbad, fresh_a ???

Edited by Laidback (log)
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  • 6 months later...

Any recent experiences with Chez Jean in the Rue St Lazare? It got a so-so mention on eGullet a few years ago but since then hardly a whisper. It does crop up from time to time in the conversations of branchés Parisiens.

It apparently needs reservation a week or two in advance and I'm reluctant to take a chance on the wrong restaurant for a one-night pre-Christmas trip to Paris with the woman who shares my life.

(By the way, she wants to try Gerard Depardieu's place - about which I can only claim total ignorance.)

Edited by kerriar (log)
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Any recent experiences with Chez Jean in the Rue St Lazare? It got a so-so mention on eGullet a few years ago but since then hardly a whisper. It does crop up from time to time in the conversations of branchés Parisiens.
My experience is not recent and I stopped going because I thought he was bumping the prices up too much; but I believe both Felice and Ptipois have had quite recent very positive experiences and posts about it and on that alone I'm tempted to retry.
(By the way, she wants to try Gerard Depardieu's place - about which I can only claim total ignorance.)
Which one A la Fontaine Gaillon or l’Ecaille de la Fontaine? Love the latter just before lunch at Drouant which makes me about the only person on the French Forum who still goes there.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I had lunch alone there on Thursday, and walked past it twice on Wed. night. Both times it was busy but not full, so you should be able to get in.

Prices are very high, but it's a beautiful place with a rather innovative menu, modern but not aggressively so. The combinations of ingredients were daring but worked. I had the Bugs et Bunny lapin terrine with tetragone (a chunky, somewhat livery and loose-textured pate with greens mixed in and dusted with coffee) for 19 euros. The rouget was better (18 euros). The seared fillet was served on yogurt layered with basil leaves and chives, covered with a crisp potato gallette with a dab of caviar, and sauced with a combination of pumpkin and bell pepper. Somehow, they managed to get the balance just right. The Pelerin de Compostelle was 5 small scallops skewered on a chopstick and grilled with sea salt and sesame (35 euros). It was served with a flan made of the scallop coral, covered with a dice of jerusalem artichoke and apple and an unexpected burst of citrus flavor.

I think the best deal would be to choose the tasting menu option. You choose either 5 or 7 courses of anything on the menu for 65 or 85 euros. I think the restaurant would be perfect pre-Christmas, romantic but not cloying.

Most of the wine list is in the 25-45 range, except the Hermitages of Jean Louise Chave. :raz:

Edited by Culinista (log)
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I think I'll try the place, just for the utter silliness of the dish names. "Bugs and Bunny terrine de lapin", wow! And "Le Pèlerin de Compostelle" for 5 small skewered scallops, surely there is some creativity at work there (the 35 euro part is very creative too in a not-so-funny sort of way though).

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I am a little biased when it comes to Chez Jean because I spent several Saturdays last year attending a cooking class they was offering . We were normally a small group and the Benoit Bordier, the chef, is adorable. Each class was based around a theme, with one week being shellfish, another game and when Christmas came around we made foie gras several ways. The classes were mostly demonstration but we did get to try a few things and then all sat down and ate each course paired with a glass of wine. Each class was only 40€ so it was a pretty great deal as well. They called me a few weeks ago for a make-up class we had missed in the spring but I don’t know if he is continuing this year.

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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I think I'll try the place, just for the utter silliness of the dish names. "Bugs and Bunny terrine de lapin", wow! And "Le Pèlerin de Compostelle" for 5 small skewered scallops, surely there is some creativity at work there (the 35 euro part is very creative too in a not-so-funny sort of way though).

Ah, the names were hilarious. "Star Academy," "Hiver Froid et Coeur Chaud," and "L'Infant Divin" (lamb shoulder with eggplant and corn-juniper ketchup). I was more swayed by the names than the actual dishes, so I had to order the Pelerin just because I walked to Compostelle once.

I think the real force behind the restaurant is in the front of the house, M. Frederique.

I would be very curious to know what you think. I felt that it was really a traditional restaurant at heart with a mad flair, or maybe it's the other way around...

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  • 5 months later...

Exactly one year ago Ms. Laidback, Felice and I visited Chez Jean which had just won a Michelin star; you can read my review here. After this month's visit things seem more star worthy; the room is the same, very pleasant decor with high ceilings, a lovely bar and comfortable seating, the service very warm and personable directed by the patron, M.Guidoni (who speaks very good English) as you would expect from a 20 yr. Taillevent veteran, the wine list is extensive, with a few bargains and a wide selection available by the glass. The dishes still have cheeky names, e.g., Barbier de Seville(Blanc de barbue), Pigs in Space(Cochons de l'espace). In order to best compare we ordered the same 5 course menu surprise for €65. I am most happy to report that the chef has restricted his attempts at humour in the naming of the dishes as we saw no gratuitous, or otherwise, use of Rice Krispies, corn flakes, popcorn or catsup this visit. Dishes were inventive; ravioli of chevre and tapenade with seasonal veggies, argan oil and passion fruit. My photo fails to clearly show the ravioli, but they were delicious hiding under the veggies:

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Next was a tartar of rouget with verveine, chopped shallots, lime and a fried egg on top:

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A perfect little slice of lamb loin was next, don't blame the cook for the rareness as this was as I ordered it:

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The 2 desserts were simple but intensely delicious, coffee dacquoise, chocolate Ganache, praline and raspberries with sorbet:

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My esteem for the chef is up a notch from a year ago; he appears to have found the fine line between inventiveness and silliness. We didn't find a single misstep this trip.

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