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Les Bouchons de Francois Clerc


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I ate at this restaurant during my last trip to Paris and thought it was worth a report:

Le Bouchons de Francois Clerc is located on Rue Hotel Colbert in the 5th/6th area. I think this is a small chain because the menu mentioned another location somewhere in the area of the Arc de Triomphe. This restaurant is reputed to sell their wines at little or no markup. This does not mean that they sell cheap wines. Rather, the list is stacked with the products from well known producers / chateau but at prices that are SIGNIFICANTLY less than what you see at other places. The cooking was good too.

The dining room has an exposed beam ceiling, much of the kitchen area is exposed where you can see various meats roasting on a spit. The tables have nice linnens, the service was kind of rushed but still pleasant.

From the 41 euro menu I selected a crab salad, carre d'agneau, and moelleux d'chocolat. The crab salad consisted of round mold that had been layered on the bottom with a base of slightly wilted spinach. On top of this there was a layer of tomato confit, then a generous layer of crab meat, then a big pile of fresh herbs, mostly parsley and dill in vinagrette on top of that. A parmesean wafer was served with it. This dish was quite good and rivaled some things that I have had placed before me at starred restaurants.

The carre d'agneau was perfectly cooked and had been crusted with a mustard / herb / breadcrumb mixture. This was very good too, my only complaint was that the three lamb chops were really small and cut thin so you did not get much.

For wine I ordered a demi of Chassagne Montrachet (12 euros) that paired very well with the lamb. The cheese tray was only 6 euros, and I selected three pieces of chevre in various stages of affinage along with a piece of cantal.

The moelleux d'chocolate is the individual sized chocolate cake with liquid chocolate center that I seemed to notice on just about every bistro menu I looked at during this last trip. This one was well executed with vanilla bean ice cream. I had a glass of beaumes de venise to go with it.

I think this restaurant was a great value, especially the wine list. If you visit Paris and stay in the Latin Quarter area it is well worth adding to your dining schedule.

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Back in the early 1980s, Clerc was the chef at a two-star restaurant at Maisons-Lafitte, outside Paris. He then disappeared from the scene (substance abuse?), only to return with these restaurants (there must be five or six scattered around Paris) in the mid-1990s.

Best regards,

Claude Kolm

The Fine Wine Review

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There are three Bouchons... rue de l'Hotel Colbert, rue Boccador, rue Terrace, and on the rue Arsene Houssaye, there is a Bouchon specializing in seafood..

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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There are three Bouchons... rue de l'Hotel Colbert, rue Boccador, rue Terrace, and on the rue Arsene Houssaye, there is a Bouchon specializing in seafood..

I would stay away from the seafood one. I have had a bad experience with the freshness of the fish. I have visited both of the others with good results. The wine pricing regime is one of the best in Paris for the quality of wines offered. I also have found that Taillevent has a reasonable markup on the better quality wines.

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Went to the one on rue Arsene Houssaye for lunch shortly after it originally opened. Reservation was difficult and it was packed. It was excellent at that time.A superb crabcake with Asian spices, monkfish in a kid of soup and a cherry souflee. Last year I passed by and it looked rather empty so I lunched at Stella Maris less than 50 feet away. Stella Maris had been touted to me by a concierge. Lunch there was undistinguished;a delicious whole grain petit pain was the highlight for me. I wished that the hotel, the Park Hyatt, had them at breakfast The other Bouchons de Francois Clerc in the so-called "golden triangle" is okay. Haven't been to one in the 5th.

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  • 4 years later...
There are three Bouchons... rue de l'Hotel Colbert, rue Boccador, rue Terrace, and on the rue Arsene Houssaye, there is a Bouchon specializing in seafood..

And then there was one. Update, only the rue Terrace in the 17th still cranks along. There's a story there, I just don't know it.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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The main reason to go there was the great wine prices where the mark-up seemed to be closer to retail than the typical restaurant.

Food was not memorable - best tactic was always to go with a bunch of like minded friends and work through the great wine list with the menu serving as background noise.

Perhaps the winding down in scale merely represents the reality that most restarants need a good margin on wine to survive.

Apart from Taillevent (a bit rarefied for everyday) has anybody any suggestions on other places with a similar price/quality balance on the wine list?

Edited by kerriar (log)
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