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Paris restaurants with good value?

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I will try to make it to Le Clos des Gourmets next week when I'm in Paris. Thanks! (not trying to rub it in)

Hal

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My mate just reminded me that we were first recommended to Le Clos Des Gourmets by oakglen. In the hurly-burly of Paris, we had so many places to try: overkill. But credit where it's due, and thank you oakglen, as well as loufood.

One cannot have too much information. eGullet's members were a wonderful resource for us.

I should mention that our New Years Eve meal was at a truly amazing 1-star in Perigueux, if anyone's interested, quite likely the bargain of the year at €130 each. But Le Clos is simply amazing, and unless you must have truffles and foie gras and Breton lobster and venison filet mignon, it is a must - the best bargain in France, while it lasts. As I said, I'm confident it will get its star this year, and the inevitable price inflation will happen. So we advise going now; it won't get cheaper.

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would you please post the address/arrondisement and phone number of Le Clos des Gourmets? Sounds like I have to file this info for the next time I'm in Paris.

Merci!

Roz

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I was looking it up for myself, so here's a link to the page for Le Clos des Gourmets on the Cityvox site that has all the necessary details.


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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Just returned from Les Clos from a tasty dinner with my boyfriend tonight. I was suprised to see that the Avacado Mille Feuille was already sold out by the time we ate dessert a few minutes before 9PM! I guess that if you have your heart set on that dessert, you had better arrive at the restaurant on the early side.


Edited by Freckles (log)

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By the way, what was the great 1-star restaurant in Perigaux, please, Byrdhouse?

We had decided to find a provincial one-star restaurant for New Years Eve, hoping we could get away with under €150 each. We found Chateau des Reynats (really the large house of a 19th Century Périgueux landowner, who built it in the faux-chateau style, large but not "chateau-large," with 6 luxury suites on the second floor. Most of the ground floor - social rooms, dining, library, study - has been turned into restaurant seating), which has a former stable that houses modern rooms at €77/night. They were charging €130 for the evening, which was within our budget.

The meal was one of the 3 stunning ones we had on our trip, and one of the most luxurious we've had anywhere. The chef is a stocky, working-class type, whose appearance belies his artistry. Of course, not every meal is going to be at quite such a level, with expense almost thrown to the winds in making un beau geste.

I'm not sure this forum is the place for a blow-by-blow description of the event, but since I wrote it in my journal (and have shared it with friends) here it is.

New Year's Eve 2003/4 at Chateau des Reynats, Restaurant L'Oison, Chancelade (outside Périgueux)

This restaurant (the word means gosling) was our second 1-star meal in France. (The first was by happenstance, and not by any standard our idea of what Michelin's Guide Rouge ought to award a star.)

This was a brilliantly conceived and executed menu, easily worthy of comparison with the best San Francisco restaurants like The Ritz, The Fifth Floor, and Fleur de Lys. Many dishes defied description with a cornucopia of strata and complexity.

Three tiny seafood "amuses-bouches" - served on toasts - began the meal:

Medallion of galantine scallop around monkfish foie gras, topped with a tiny piping of crayfish mousse.

Salmon and gravlax tartare with salmon caviar and dill.

A tangle of crab and julienne asparagus salad

The soup was served in a miniature bowl that punctuated the intensity of flavors. Think cream-of-mushroom from reconstituted cêpes, with bits of boletus edulus (King Bolete), topped with a lightly whipped truffle cream. So potent that the small portion was exactly right.

Two ¾-inch slabs of rare goose foie gras, topped and separated by crisp sweet crepes, the whole wrapped in paper-thin slices of sauteed potato. Simple, intense, creative, allowing the rich foie gras to shine instead of complicating it with other flavors. However, the plate was decorated with reductions of balsamic vinegar and winter squash.

The fish course was another lavish luxury item - half a Breton (Brittany) lobster - literally, split down the middle. It was poached in fumet, and the large tail meat filet was wrapped in a "chemise" of sauteed zucchini, then covered with a gratin of Reggiano Parmesan, crisped under a salamander. The two pieces of claw meat were placed on top, then finally the intact shell, complete with eye and antenna, a striking presentation. The whole was on a seafood emulsion, reduced with creme frâiche. As remarkable as this dish was, it did not for us seem to unify all its constituent elements.

The palate-cleansing ice was a Sauternes/grapefruit granité, flecked with tiny bits of lavender leaf. Not a good idea. It unnecessarily complicated the delicate flavor and left an unpleasant medicinal aftertaste.

The chef was back on track with the "viande," a perfect inch-thick filet of venison, with wine reduction, quince chutney, and a little cone of potato puree, laced with black truffles (we were in Perigord), and studded with almond flakes. The meat, which was "bleu" (or very rare) without our having to request it, was sinfully tender, like deer sashimi, and each bite, combining a bit of venison, sauce, chutney, and truffled potato, was heaven. The balance of multiple flavors and textures was magical. There was nothing to be said; we simply looked at each other and glowed.

The cheeses were three local chèvres. While we are converts to goat cheese (particularly two wonderful local Humboldt County varieties, Midnight Moon and Capricious), we don't care much for chèvre, the chalkiest and most "goaty" of styles. The French, of course, adore it. These three, served with a bright red "confit" of fresh fig, were exceptional. Two were tiny whole patés, and the third was a teeny cone of "baby chevre," as sweet and delicate a cheese as could be imagined. We were pretty full at this point, and shared one plate, saving the other to eat for breakfast. We were later to find the cone of baby chevre at Marie-Anne Cantin, across the street from our Paris hotel.

A plate of sweetmeats arrived next: coffee creme, caramelized hazelnut, a maraschino faux-mascarpone, and a rum-tinged essence of midnight-dark chocolate. To call these miniature creations "candy" is like calling Le Tour Eiffel a flagpole.

The official "New Year's Dessert" was quite curious: a parfait glass filled with spiral froths of egg and cream - a kind of eggnog-lite, with a dollop of tangerine sorbet on the bottom. It was flecked with the same lavender we hated in the granité, but here it worked! Who knows? And after a long and sumptuous meal, it was an inspired choice.

With the meal we'd chosen two relatively inexpensive wines, Montravel blanc Moulin Caresse and Domaine de la Métairie, if one can call €40 and 35 "inexpensive." Neither was very good, tending toward immature and alcoholic. This we found to be overwhelmingly the case in otherwise distinguished French restaurants: despite what we've read in the New York Times, good wines sell for €80 and up; consequently we only had one memorable wine in 12 days (a Morgon 2000 Beaujolais). The rest of the time, €20 to €45, we had wine that was inferior to almost any California wine costing $25.

That practice, we think is a major error, and a disservice to the French wine industry. As a result of pricing so inflated relative to the quality of the product, we are now motivated to avoid French wines. Moreover, it is something no California restaurant of quality would allow to happen. Rest assured, if you choose a $28 bottle at The French Laundry (and they do exist), you will get a delightful wine that the sommelier found, possibly a Washington or Oregon vintage that was a good buy, which they passed on to their guests. Wine people find such bargains because they taste a lot of wine. The French practice of putting inferior wines on the carte we think unworthy. "Punishing" your patrons for not having a bundle to spend on wine is stupid. But what can I say? They all do it.

It was midnight. We'd been there since 7:50 (we'd postponed our arrival so as not to appear too gauche, we failed: we were still the first ones in the dining room, with the entire staff of 6 hovering over us). Somehow we expected champagne and...well, whatever we imagined the French do. Nothing happened, though, and we were too sated to pay attention to the little mignardises.

With the small quibbles I've mentioned, it was spectacular. It was by a factor of 3 our most expensive meal in France. And well worth it as a culinary experience.


Edited by byrdhouse (log)

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Thanks for the interesting review.

Chateau des Reynats and its Restaurant L'Oison is one that I have been reading about for a couple of years now. It is frequently mentioned as a dining-room to watch, ie, that it consistently serves food above its one-star rating. I'm not sure, but I think that Mrs. B mentioned it in this forum within the year.


eGullet member #80.

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Chateau des Reynats and its Restaurant L'Oison is one that I have been reading about for a couple of years now. It is frequently mentioned as a dining-room to watch, ie, that it consistently serves food above its one-star rating. I'm not sure, but I think that Mrs. B mentioned it in this forum within the year.

It was mentioned in the Restaurants in Dordogne thread. It was a reference to Leslie Brenner's article on the area in the March 2003 issue of Travel and Liesure


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I'm glad to see that someone with more expertise than I shares my opinion. :biggrin::wink:


Michael aka "Pan

 

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About the NYT article - L'Ambassade a good value? Yeah, right. I guess the aligot's worth the show - for tourists.
Pan Posted on Jan 27 2004, 02:00 AM

  I'm glad to see that someone with more expertise than I shares my opinion.   

Good to know.

:smile:

Jamie


See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,

Is notwithstanding up.

Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene ii

biowebsite

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my husband and i spent a week in paris during december and we found a wonderful bistro-La coude fou. cheap, good food, and very friendly. the menu was varied and the food was fresh. the only downside was the heavy pall of smoke that hung over the place. we ate pate de canard aux figues, salmon, ostrich with potatos and egglplant and rabbit in a port wine sauce(several plats for several diners). one of the starters was a delicious lentil soup served in a "boule". the desserts were okay, but what can you expect for a meal with a pichet of cheap wine for 113 euros for two. also recommend au bascou- a basque restaurant. friendly service and good food. the meal here with wine came to 156 euros, but we did have sone kirs beforehand. another place we liked was the atelier maitre albert. much more pricey and now that it was reviewed in the int'l herald trib it might be flooded with americans. after a week in pairs we could say that we never had a bad meal and we didn't break the bank.:biggrin:

have fun!

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I think I've already commented favorably on both Chez Michel and C'Amelot. Le Pre Verre was on my list of places to check out on our October 2003 trip, along with two or three times as many places as we would have lunches and dinners. We didn't get there, but a very trusted source had written " Le Pre-Verre - a very simple new-style bistro in the 5th - a sweet place for a lunch" in response to a request for information about new places in Paris.

We had a wonderful late lunch at Le Pre Verre on a Saturday at the end of November. A small and carefully selected menu is chalked on blackboards. Great selection of reasonably priced wines by the glass. Very cosmopolitan crowd (table of six ladies who lunch involved in a deep discussion of kids' and friends' love lives, next to two young couples who were recovering from a night in the clubs, etc.). Only negative is sparse service.

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... but what can you expect for a meal with a pichet of cheap wine for 113 euros for two.

In spite of the poor exchange rate, (from my point of view, not a European's) Paris seems to excel in offereing notable meals at this price. I don't know of places in NY where I can eat so well for the price. It helps these days to have done some research before hand however. the bad meals are there to be had, or avoided if you can. I suspect you did your homework and tried new places with a careful eye.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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113 Euros for dinner and wine for two? I expect you can get pretty decent dinner. Most of the places listed above have about a 30 Euro per person three course menu - 60 Euros - that leaves 53 Euros for wine. That's pretty sweet for a pichet.

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110 euros - Aux Lyonnais. Could have been less if we took the prix fixe, but we went for two entrees and two plats from the carte and one dessert (tarte aux praline rouge and ile flottant) plus a bottle of water and a decent Brouilly.

91.30 euros - Fish. Again two starters, two mains, one dessert and a half bottle of water, a 50 cl. carafe of Macon Blanc and a Calvados.

October 2003 prices.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Bux --

Were those lunch or dinner prices at Aux Lyonnais and Fish? I'd love to try Aux Lyonnais, based on a review of the restaurant on Chocolate and Zucchini .

We're planning a trip to Paris for a long weekend in February and are trying to line up our lunches/dinners. I'm afraid it's probably too alte to get a table at Astrance, but I've booked a late Saturday lunch at Violon d'Ingres and am looking at Petite Pointoise, Au Bon Acceuil, Close des Gorumets, Aux Lyonnais as other possibilities.

Can't wait!

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Bushey,

Those were dinner prices. I suspect lunch is the same price. If price is a concern, you might want to know what was on the 28 euro Menu du Jour

  • platter of Lyonnaise charcuterie -or- hash of white cabbage with soft boiled egg (mollet) and confit of duck
  • crayfish quenelle -or- calves' liver with parsley and thinly sliced pan fried potatoes
  • fresh cheese -or- Chocolat Viennois with vanilla ice cream

I had the calves' liver from the a la carte menu and it was superb. It was also the least expensive item on the menu at 18 euros. I was actually a bit disappointed by the carte because I had my heart set on tripe and particularly on that Lyonnaise specialty tablier de sapeur which got an excellent mention in a review I had read. It's a short menu and it changes--five entrees, six plats, two cheese selections and four dessert choices. I love calves liver and had recently been very disappointed, as usual, when I ordered it in NY. This was perhaps the best I had ever had. I started to explain to the waiter how I wanted it prepared, when he cut me off saying "rosé. I nodded and replied "oui, c'est ça." The thick slab of liver was excellently cooked just on the red side of pink in the center and it was really a wonderful example of what liver can be. I could have easily had either of the two prix fixe entrees, but I had my heart set on the tarte et île flottante aux pralines roses for dessert anyway and the potted porcelet shin with foie gras sounded too interesting to pass. Mrs. B had the cèpes veloute with blond chicken liver royale and the sauteed pork chop with cranberry beans. The pork chop was very good and the soup was exceptional. I'm not really a fan of praline rouge, but Louisa told me the tartes are actually made in the Plaza Athenee kitchen and suggested they were worth trying. The île flottante was excellent and a treat after the more industrial versions one often finds in restaurants and the tarte was the best use of praline rouge I have yet to taste. It's a bit too sweet and far too red for my taste in general, but I rather enjoyed the result here.

The special of the day was a cocotte of cèpes and foie gras at 26 euros--the highest price on the carte.

Our bottle of Brouilly ran 31 euros. I don't recall it as being at the bottom of the list either. 46 cl. carafe from Mazy-Chambertin (Domaine Tortochot 2001) was probably a good deal at 42 euros. It was also available at 14 euros a 15 cl. glass.

The restaurant is crowded with little space between tables for privacy or for service and the waiters are overworked as one might expect in a bistro of this sort, but the waiters are patient and friendly and I felt our service got even better and a bit warmer as the waiter undersood we knew what we were ordering and were enjoying our food very much. I suspect we weren't atypical diners. We heard quite a bit of English spoken, with accents from both sides of the pond, at the tables around us, but most of the anglophones seemed either quite at home in a Parisian bistro or in the tow of a French host.

It's a pity about l'Astrance, but you're not going to be able to hit all the highlights of Parisian restaurants in three or four days anyway and it's somewhat of a blessing that your choices are limited by factors beyond your control. Our dilemma, when traveling or even when dining out at home, is not where to eat, but which restaurants to elimanate from the short list.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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.....it's somewhat of a blessing that your choices are limited by factors beyond your control. Our dilemma, when traveling or even when dining out at home, is not where to eat, but which restaurants to elimanate from the short list.

Bux, thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Yes, I find the same dilemma when planning meals on a short trip. So thanks to Louisa for clarifying about Astrance.

Our task is made more daunting by the weekend line-up of Fri/Sat/Sun. I need a spreadsheet to keep track of which places are open when. And inevitably I run into the problem of being a rather small person with interest in food and wine that far outmeasures by ability to eat and drink :~). Plus, I like to balance heavier, richer meals with lighter fare, if possible.

Can anyone recommend a place to get really good roast chicken and frites (along the lines of L'Ami Louis with a lighter tab)?

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And inevitably I run into the problem of being a rather small person with interest in food and wine that far outmeasures by ability to eat and drink :~).  Plus, I like to balance heavier, richer meals with lighter fare, if possible.

You're talking to someone who has ruined one of his trips to France as well as what might potentially have been his finest meal ever, by eating too much excellent but heavy food too early and too often on a trip, although it might be said we made proper use of Andre Daguin's talents by eating as much fois gras and just plain gras de canard at his Hotel de France in a few days, the year he retired. I pace myself as carefully as I can now. It's rare that I'll eat a three course lunch, if dinner is important that night. By the same token, dinner is a snack or tapas, if I've had a big lunch.

I'm trying to remember where I last had good pommes frites in Paris. I'm not sure, but it may have been years ago at Vaudeville, the Flo brasserie. They came with either the steak or the andouillette. I can't remember whose order they garnished. Although a good chicken is a wonderful dish in France, I don't remember ordering roast chicken in Paris. Perhaps Benoit or Chez Georges. Both are less expensive that l'Ami Louis.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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My beau and I went to L'Epi Dupin tonight and I know it's a favourite with many of you, but we were quite disappointed. The price was right -- 30 Euros for a 3-course meal -- but we found the food mediocre.

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Problem is, I always think I am pacing myself only to find out later I was wrong.....That being said, I already know we'll forego dinner the day we have a late lunch at Violon d'Ingres and maybe just have a late evening glass of wine and snack or an omelette.

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