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Traditional Bistros in Paris -- 2009


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Can anyone provide some price information on L'Ami Jean, and tell me whether reservations would be a must?

Certainly reserve. Price depends on whether you have an aperitif, choose tap or bottled water, what wine you choose or forego, have coffee or not. I would allow $40 - $50 per person with none of the above.

eGullet member #80.

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Which Chez George and what's wrong with it?

Chez Georges on the rue du Mail in the 2nd.

Francois Simon, on his blog today lauds Georges, rue de Mail near the place des Victoires where he’s been coming for 20 year but warns that the Breton chef, Alain, will soon be retiring, so hurry up if you want to go.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Which Chez George and what's wrong with it?

Chez Georges on the rue du Mail in the 2nd.

Francois Simon, on his blog today lauds Georges, rue de Mail near the place des Victoires where he’s been coming for 20 year but warns that the Breton chef, Alain, will soon be retiring, so hurry up if you want to go.

This is short and definitely sweet. I recently ate two nights in a row at Au Bon Accueil. I had the Pigeon both nights. the only mistake I made was not to have pigeon for my first course and my second course. That dish is worth commuting for. They have a short but appropriate wine list. It is very fairly priced too. I would like to tell you just how good it was. I had dinner reservations at Joel Rubichon's Attelier for the second night. I called and cancelled them to have the pigeon again. The first time that I had it was a year earlier and each time has been equally great. Go and you WILL ENJOY. :biggrin:

" Food and Wine Fanatic"

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Au Bon Accueil is also probably my favorite restaurant right now, and the pigeon is indeed awesome, as are the sweetbreads, the sole, and many other courses. But I don't think it qualifies as a traditional bistrot. It's pretty much a bistronomique.

Okay, I'll ask:

What's the difference between a traditional bistrot and a bistronomique, s'il vous plait?

And which one costs more?

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Au Bon Accueil is also probably my favorite restaurant right now, and the pigeon is indeed awesome, as are the sweetbreads, the sole, and many other courses. But I don't think it qualifies as a traditional bistrot. It's pretty much a bistronomique.

Okay, I'll ask:

What's the difference between a traditional bistrot and a bistronomique, s'il vous plait?

And which one costs more?

A traditional bistro serves "traditional" food traditionally (no I am not being smart), whilst a bistronnomique would have a high powered chef in the kitchen cooking very focussed, quality food, in some they push boundaries, in others they focus on getting the best on the plate. A traditional bistro may still have great food, a nice ambiance etc. but it may not be completely food centric.

IIRC the bistronomeque movement comes from a number of chefs who turned their backs on the traditional Michelin approach (decor, service etc.) to go back to the roots of good cooking and putting the best on the plate for a reasonable price in quite a simple setting. Pioneers in the movement would be people like Christian Constant (various), Yves Camdeborde (Le Comptoir) and Stephane Jego (Chez l'Ami Jean). But there is also a new wave with people like Guillaume Delage (Jadis) and Daniel Rose (Spring).

As with any categorisation the lines between restaurants blur but I think this definition gives the right positioning, although the enfant terribles who turned their back on the traditional Michelin standards now find that Michelin has changed and they are getting stars and awards for their food in less grand surroundings.

Which costs more? You get cheap and expensive in both categories.

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The concept of the bistronomique is to have fine dining ingredients and techniques in a casual setting. As PhilD says, it originates with chefs trained in palaces and top restaurants (most notably Les Ambassadeurs under Constant, who trained Camdeborde, Jégo, Fréchon, Piège, etc.) who decided indeed to break the mould of fine dining while almost not renouncing the good things they learnt -- the precise cooking, handling of ingredients etc. Most bistronomiques are not particularly innovative, as evidenced by the examples PhilD listed.

Traditional, as the name says, is traditional -- the food can be wonderful but its basics will not be fine dining. There might be big plates of fries on the side, terines served as hors d'oeuvre that you spread on bread, etc. That's where you're most likely to find bistrot classics such as cassoulet, escargots, pied de cochon, steak frites, ile flottante, etc.

I also agree with PhilD that all categorisations are blurred. Young innovative chefs, or enfants terribles -- Inaki Aitziparte at Le Chateaubriand chief among them-- can be considered a third category of "bistrots".

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