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The economy and French restaurants: 2008-9


Dave Hatfield
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John, why stop the elevation at priesthood?  Let's go all the way and make them divinities.

I'm using priesthood as a generic term meaning an enlightened elite from whom knowledge and/or taste flow outward. In cuisine as in art, such a status is sometimes imposed on them by their followers rather than claimed by the practitioners themselves. [cf. Life of Brian :biggrin: ]

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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.... The argument that because one’s favorite restaurant is full every day means that the crisis is not a meaningful factor vis a vis dining out doesn’t strike me as meaningful-- not when your favorite restaurant is trimming its choices and offering you mostly a lot of starches, vegetables, various types of filets and cheap cuts of meat.

Robert, this is the very opposite of what we experienced earlier this month. Yes, the restaurants we visited were full and turned away enough custom to fill the rooms once again. But rather than fewer and poorer choices and inferior cuts we found that the current slump at the three star level has brought the price of superior product to a level that allows the mid-range kitchen to scoop up and offer outstanding value: examples, coquilles St. Jacques among the best we have ever tasted, baby lamb whose age is counted in days rather than months. In contrast to some half dozen years of being disappointed at new addresses, we enjoyed dining rooms (that have been discussed on this forum) that were unselfconscious, plates well-conceived and delicious.

eGullet member #80.

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Margaret, I'll see first-hand what's what next month. I had in mind the restaurants that offer cheap prix-fixe set menus as well as what I see happening in New York. Yet, it is good to hear your findings since it supports my thesis that gastronomic travel these days is no longer best for the quest for the cuisine of chefs, but for time-tested traditional dishes made with impeccable ingredients by those who learned them young and never stopped practicing them.

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  • 1 month later...

Francois Simon posted a video on his blog showing a resto that I couldn't identify, completely empty, saying it's sad. It looked a bit (in the dark) like Les Bouchons ex-Francois Clerc, now Le Restaurant de Philippe et Jean Pierre, 7, rue du Boccador in the 8th, 01.47.23.57.80, which is open Saturday night, but I wasn't sure.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Francois Simon posted a video on his blog showing a resto that I couldn't identify, completely empty, saying it's sad.  It looked a bit (in the dark) like Les Bouchons ex-Francois Clerc, now Le Restaurant de Philippe et Jean Pierre, 7, rue du Boccador in the 8th, 01.47.23.57.80, which is open Saturday night, but I wasn't sure.

Well, I wouldn't know about that, but they use the same crockery as Stella Maris.

:)

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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Wednesday, I had lunch with my friend at Mon Vieil Ami (Île Saint Louis). We arrived at 12:30 pm with reservation, I was surprised that the restaurant was still empty at 1:30pm. In fact, the whole lunch time, there were only 3 clients (including us)! I asked the waiter if it was due to the crisis, his reply was, it was always quite calm during the weekdays, but very full at night or weekend. But it's very hard to believe this, when they are situated in such a touristic area and in the centre of Paris.

The food is still very good. Sad to see there are more staff in the kitchen than in the salle...

FYI, they have a special lunch formulaire at 15 euros (only available on weekdays) and set menu with 3 courses at 42 euros.

Edited by naf (log)
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But it's very hard to believe this, when they are situated in such a touristic area and in the centre of Paris.

I would have thought that was quite logical, most tourists are interested in seeing the sights and cheap food (look at the cafes around Notre Dame) thus it will only be a small informed minority like us who head for the food first. There also are aren't that many significant businesses/offices in that area so I assume the "local" business lunch trade is quite thin.

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Francois Simon posted a video on his blog showing a resto that I couldn't identify, completely empty, saying it's sad.  It looked a bit (in the dark) like Les Bouchons ex-Francois Clerc, now Le Restaurant de Philippe et Jean Pierre, 7, rue du Boccador in the 8th, 01.47.23.57.80, which is open Saturday night, but I wasn't sure.

I encountered a similar experience today at a place I really like - Le Gaigne. Ouch, I hope these places survive given their great food.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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