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Paris Restaurants


Carlsbad
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For two weeks in July, I'm considering:

Dinner:

Taillevent

l’Astrance

Le Violin d'Ingres

Au Bon Accueil

Les Ormes

La Braisiere

Dominique Bouchet

L’ Angle de Faubourg

Aux Lyonnais

Le Troquet

Mon Vieil Ami

Thierry Burlot

Le Clos Des Gourmets

Le Pamphlet

La Cerisaie

Chez Michel

Le Repaire de Cartouche

Lunch:

Le Café Press

Avant Gout

Café Constant

Le Pre Verre

L'Ourcine

Le Cosi (Corsican)

L’Abadache

L’Entredgeu

Fish, la Boissonnerie

Les Fables de la Fontaine

Cinq Mars

Other fading dinner possibilities:

La Table de Lucullas

La Bastide Odéon

Les Allobroges

L’Ami Jean

Pinxo

Obviously, I need some further narrowing of the list. I would appreciate any comments, pro or con, on any of these. If there are better choices, please let me that as well. Thanks.

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For two weeks in July, I'm considering:

Wow. And Pierre45 says I was on a marathon. Great list; I'm enthusiastic about almost all except ones I comment on). I do have some very personal responses below, I'm sure not shared by all:

Dinner:

l’Astrance (I've soured on their pushing the envelope too much; let us know if you think I'm too stodgy)

Au Bon Accueil (consistently just fine)

Les Ormes (price/quality issue since relocating)

La Braisiere (I had a very disappointing meal there despite the NYT's endorsement

Dominique Bouchet (I love him)

L’ Angle de Faubourg (? price/quality)

Aux Lyonnais (I had 1/3 meals off there)

Thierry Burlot (now priced sensibly)

Le Pamphlet (off meal there too, 1 of 2)

La Cerisaie (simply wonderful, consistent, charming)

Lunch:

Le Café Press (never been but menu/ardoise not exciting)

Avant Gout (gotten a bit more expensive but tables now not so jammed together)

Les Fables de la Fontaine (1 of 4 off)

Cinq Mars (best new place of the Spring)

Other fading dinner possibilities:

La Table de Lucullus (Nicholas Vagnon will probably be installed at his new Ile de Yeu resto by then and will William Ledeuil of Ze Kitchen Galerie have taken over?; who knows?)

La Bastide Odéon (why fading, it's pretty consistent)

L’Ami Jean (not for me, faded out)

Pinxo (I like it)

I'd add Ze Kitchen Galerie even though folks say you can get this food in NY or LA. Also Maison du Jardin, Temps Au Temps, La Grande Rue and for Sunday lunch, the Brasserie Lorraine, which since its takeover/refurbishing is great.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I continue to wonder if John and I have such different tastes or it's just chance that's left us with differing opinions on a number of restaurants. I've had two meals at l'Astrance. One shortly after it opened that was very avant garde and excellent as well as strikingly interesting. The other was last fall and it seems no more than contemporary on the evolutionary scale. It was a lovely meal in an almost old fashioned way, at least by comparison to the first meal. We, Mrs. B and myself, both thought one course -- the monkfish -- needed more sauce. I was however, enthralled by the quality of the cooking seen in that dish simply because I had been served a woefully overcooked monkfish in Lyon a few days earlier. My impression is that there's a lot of talent in a very small kitchen there.

We've had two meals at Aux Lyonnais. The first was among the most impressive meals I've had at a restaurant in its price range. It was among my most satisfying meals at any price, not just in Paris. Caught between fearing it couldn't be repeated, especially after the stories I'd heard about its decline after a change in chefs, and wanting to share my pleasure with some people who share my love of food, we took a party of five to eat there last fall. I ordered virtually the same main course and have to say that the potatoes accompanying my calves liver were not of the same impeccable quality and crispness. That was as close to a complaint as the five of us could muster. There were two culinary professionals among us, both have cooked at a four star French restaurant in NY. The boudin noir, out of a tin and bearing the name of one of the most respected names in Basque cuisine, brought raves. No one could remember having had better. I suspect the chances of finding a better meal in Paris at this price are very low.

The two culinary professionals, one of them French born, both ate in L'Ami Jean and spoke highly of their meal afterwards. I've not been there myself. We were busy that night and didn't join them. There's no accounting for taste, restaurants have good and bad days and no restaurant stays consistent over time -- they tend to get better or worse -- but I have great respect for the culinary opinions of these two as I do for John's opinions.

My visit to Pinxo was disappointing. We found indifferent food. Most dishes just seemed to lack a real spark of interest or care in conception, preparation or presentation.

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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Carlsbad,

What a great list, you must do quite a bit of research. In the last 2 years I have been to 27 of the places on your list and they are all good to excellent, however it is hard to compare places like Taillevent, which to me has remained remarkably consistent through the years of chef changes, to a tiny husband/wife spot like the charming little La Cerisaie. Astrance remains exceptional even though the prices have nearly doubled since their opening. My biggest complaint was with the universally(other than Patricia Wells) loved Dominique Bouchet. He was constantly schmoozing the ladies instead of seeing that my wife's filet which she ordered saignant was not served well done, and his wine reduction sauce completely overpowered the tender gigot d'agneau. Don't let me steer you away from DB, it was probably a bad day, and the quality of the ingredients was 1st class, but I felt that the execution was lacking. The pommes purée was almost as good as at Au Bon Accueil, which is consistently good for the price. We followed Les Ormes from the bowels of the 16th to the ex-Bellecour location; the 1st time was right after the move and the service was disastrous, but the culinary magic was still evident enough to warrant a return a couple of weeks ago; the service was much improved but still had a wrinkle or two to iron out but there is little question that there is talent in the kitchen. I just got around to trying Aux Lyonnais and was prepared to turn up my nose at yet another Ducasse commercial enterprise but the three of us were all very pleased with the quality/rapport.

Congratulations on doing your home work; please let us know your opinions afterward.

Edited by Laidback (log)
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I would caution you to research summer closures. Many restaurants close in July instead of August, or parts of each month.

(A little self-interest: if you do come up with a list with dates of closures, it would be lovely of you to post your findings here. :wub: )

eGullet member #80.

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I continue to wonder if John and I have such different tastes or it's just chance that's left us with differing opinions on a number of restaurants.

A tough question to answer. Maybe both. But as is the case reading movie or restaurant critics, (for me anyway), it's as useful to know with whom you disagree as much as agree.

I think I have less tolerance these days for folks trying to push the culinary envelope (recent examples are l'Astrance, La Famille and Lucullus, esp when they go too far, eg Vagnon's lieu that is so slightly warmed you'd mistake it for sashimi; which I love but would rather not be surprised by).

There are big arguments raging now that seem to be playing themselves out in the "Generation C" newsletter Omnivore as to whether this new breed constitutes the equivalent of the crowd that produced nouvelle cuisine or the stimulus will come from Spain (you know who), Asia, etc.

The contrary to my intolerance for the envelope-pushers is my refound love for places that know how to do the old stuff well, and here I'd cite Le Cerisaie, Cinq Mars and Au Bon Acceuil not to omit Constant's places and culinary children.

Finally, I do suspect that I hit off days at Au Lyonnais and Fables of Fontaine, which happens. My argument would be; if you can find places that are never off, why not patronize them? as well as the fact that with 5 new places opening a week, there's plenty of new territory out there and new chefs to be discovered.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Thank you John, Bux and Laidback for the feedback. And yes, Laidback, I've spent hours on this list. :wacko: Margaret, you bring up a good point. I have researched as well as I can the closing dates of these places. My list has closings dates for those places that are not open for part of my trip, as well as addresses, metros, phone and fax numbers, prices, and closing days. I'm happy to send it to anyone who wants it. Just send me a message.

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My two measly cents, since I have only eaten in a few of the places mentioned, is that Chez Michel and Taillevent were probably my two favorite dinners when we were in Paris last holiday season. Obviously very different in food, price, service and atmosphere, but both are at the top of their game. If you go to Chez Michel - which we surely will next time we visit - they have amazing smoked salmon that they layered in a tiny crock with purple potatoes, thinly sliced carrots, raw red onion, fresh dill and of course olive oil. It was incredible, as was the rabbit (I think...) rillette. The portions were pretty big and we made ourselves eat every bite it was so damn good.

Taillevent, well, what can I say. Even with the burden of my high expectations, it did not disappoint.

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