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Au Bon Accueil


mdibiaso
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I just called to make a dinner reservation at Au Bon Accueil and asked in my very poor French a table with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I think the answer back was there was no such tables or that the only tables with view were on the sides walk for drinks only. Does any of this make sense to anyone who has been there?

Edited by mdibiaso (log)
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Yes, it makes perfect sense. You can see the Eiffel Tower from the street, but not from inside the restaurant. I can see how, in the summer months, they might put a few tables just outside the entrance for folks to enjoy a pre- or post-dinner drink.

However, don't let this dissuade you from booking a table and eating there -- it's a delightful restaurant with excellent food and service. We were there for dinner last winter and enjoyed it tremendously.

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Last time I was there, people were dining in the small outside tables, which do have a view of the tower above buildings on the street. Even if you don't get the view while dining, you can enjoy it as you come and go, and the food is very good.

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Marc,

Au Bon Accueil is good and they certainly serve food to outside tables and since it is the side street, sitting there is quite fun.

The food is good half notch below Regalade and Chez Michel level. I actually liked one single dish at Clos des Gourmets, which is on Avenue Rapp and very very close to Au Bon Accueil, that is "tete de cochon croustillante" ,more interesting and more in tune with the cuisine bourgeoise that one expects at the bistrots.

Looks like you are planning a trip to Paris!

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Yes, I was not planning to be in Paris for a while but when I heard Lucas Carton would be changing direction I both needed to get back for one last meal and to bring my daughter with me for her first 3 star meal. We only have two nights and have to think about our daughter, only 7 and rather picky, for all the other meals. Had heard that Au Bon Accueil was good for kids and had a view that would keep her occupied while we ate. That's why we chose it. We will be there from July 5th thru 7th. Could not make it for the 9th for the last night Lucas Carton is open unfortunately. But that may be for the best since that will probably be too late a night for my 7 year old.

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Had heard that Au Bon Accueil was good for kids and had a view that would keep her occupied while we ate. That's why we chose it. 

Well, certainly she can play on the sidewalk but it's narrow and with tables in the summer not great (not like the Bd St-Germain outside the Bistrot Cote Mer where kids can jump rope, cavort, etc.; but don't go there now).

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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  • 1 month later...

Went to Au Bon Accueil while in Paris with my wife and 7 year old daughter. We sat outside so our daughter could see the Eiffel Tower while eating but it turned out to be a bad decision as it got cold and rainy during the meal and by then our table inside had been given to someone else.

Country bread and sausage was served first. I had a grilled mackerel starter that was good but somewhat bland and then a very nice sea bass. Remember that our daughter had an extremely good suckling pig. Desserts, chocolate for the ladies, peach for me we also light and fresh. In general all the dishes were light and fresh. My wife and I had a present menu for about 35 euro for 3 courses. My daugther ordered from the ala carte as she is a little picky and her main and dessert ran about 40 Euro. Reasonable prices all around.

Only complaint is service from one member of the staff (unfortunately he seemed to be the senior member). We asked if our daughter could have some raw veggies, carrots or cucumbers, with her meat instead of the normal sides. He just blew us of with that old French shoulder shrug saying if it is not on the menu we could not have it. Now I know if he wanted to try to help he could have gone to the kitchen and asked what raw veggies they had, but he just did not want to help, even though it was for a little 7 year old girl. This despite suggestions that this place would be good for kids.

So the food is good and well prices if you order the preset menu. Portions are somewhat small and all the dishes we had were light in style (ie no heavy sauces) but you feel comfortably fed by the end of the meal. But do not take kids if you think you will have any special requests.

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But do not take kids if you think you will have any special requests.

I’m not really surprised by your waiter’s response as special requests are much more unusual in Paris that they would be in the States. In the US special requests are fairly common and for many reasons are usually accommodated, even if the kitchen throws a fit when they come in—which they often do. The waiters, knowing they are working for a tip, will do everything in their power to ensure the customer gets their request, even if it means battling with cranky line cooks, because it means more money in their pocket. In France there is not this incentive and I’m sure for various other reasons, it’s just not done that much. From my experience working in a restaurant in Paris, I’ve noticed that people here generally order what’s on the menu, they don’t ask for sauce on the side, and they don’t ask for the sauce that’s normally meant to go on the duck, to be put on their chicken, etc, etc. Probably, because they wouldn’t get it even if they did. It’s just not done. Of course, there are exceptions and people do make the occasional special request, but there’s no guarantee that it will be granted and people know that and accept it. The regular who’s been going to the same café for xx years, can ask for whatever they want, because they’ve built up a relationship with the staff and every one knows them. A first time customer will not get this service, but if you go back a few times, you will.

I know it seems like a simple thing for the waiter to just go and get some raw vegetables from the walk-in in the kitchen, but depending on how busy it is, you might get your head torn off. In my experience in restaurants, the less interaction the waiter has with the kitchen, the better. :smile:

I’m sure people who have worked in kitchens could give a little more insight.

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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I think that no matter where you are ..no matter what country..you must remember..as a restaurant..cafe..or personal chef...the customer has chosen you..you have not chosen the customer..accomodation..going the extra bit is what matters..make the experience wonderful..no matter how small or large

IN FOOD, CHEF LYNN FROM ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS FOODS CAFE AND CATERING

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But do not take kids if you think you will have any special requests.

I’m not really surprised by your waiter’s response as special requests are much more unusual in Paris that they would be in the States. In the US special requests are fairly common and for many reasons are usually accommodated, even if the kitchen throws a fit when they come in—which they often do. The waiters, knowing they are working for a tip, will do everything in their power to ensure the customer gets their request, even if it means battling with cranky line cooks, because it means more money in their pocket. In France there is not this incentive and I’m sure for various other reasons, it’s just not done that much. From my experience working in a restaurant in Paris, I’ve noticed that people here generally order what’s on the menu, they don’t ask for sauce on the side, and they don’t ask for the sauce that’s normally meant to go on the duck, to be put on their chicken, etc, etc. Probably, because they wouldn’t get it even if they did. It’s just not done. Of course, there are exceptions and people do make the occasional special request, but there’s no guarantee that it will be granted and people know that and accept it. The regular who’s been going to the same café for xx years, can ask for whatever they want, because they’ve built up a relationship with the staff and every one knows them. A first time customer will not get this service, but if you go back a few times, you will.

I know it seems like a simple thing for the waiter to just go and get some raw vegetables from the walk-in in the kitchen, but depending on how busy it is, you might get your head torn off. In my experience in restaurants, the less interaction the waiter has with the kitchen, the better. :smile:

I’m sure people who have worked in kitchens could give a little more insight.

An excellent explanation.This is specially true if you're a one time visitor.In starred restaurants special requests are usually accomodated.

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Not sure I buy this explanation. We had arrived very early and made the request as soon as we ordered. At this point there was max 2-3 other tables that were seated. So there was no pressure on the kitchen. And the attitude was not sorry we can't do it, it was down right rude "how dare you ask". I have been to several places in Paris, both starred and not and this was the first time I had seen such rude service in many years.

For an example of how well a starred restaurant handled the request click on the link below. The next night we were at Lucas Carton, and asked for the raw carrots and cukes in the middle of the meal as we had more courses than our daugther and she was still hungry after her main. The restaurant was full at the time and the kitchen was probably swamped. But they still brought out the work of art you will see in the picture, and there was no charge.

There is no reason the waiter at Au Bon Accueil could not have gone in the kitchen as ask for a couple of slices of cucumber. I am convinced that if I had asked the young lady who was also serving she would have at least tried. And again, I had been told that Au Bon Accueil was a good place to go with small children who are picky eaters. And it may well be, but NOT if served by this guy.

Link to picture. picture of raw veggies from Lucas Carton.

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. . . .  The next night we were at Lucas Carton, and asked for the raw carrots and cukes in the middle of the meal as we had more courses than our daugther and she was still hungry after her main. The restaurant was full at the time and the kitchen was probably swamped. But they still brought out the work of art you will see in the picture, and there was no charge.

There is no reason the waiter at Au Bon Accueil could not have gone in the kitchen as ask for a couple of slices of cucumber. . . . .

I was struck reading this thread by how often people have told me they're intimidated by fancy restaurants as if they were some sort of club with a secret membership. It's the three star restaurants that generally bend over backwards to make the diner feel at home and comfortable. They take it upon themselves to understand not only international customs, but the customs of the many countries from which their diners hail in an effort to make diners comfortable. It's the mom and pop restos of foreign countries that are the real private clubs and where you are expected to know the local rules and customs. Pierre's post reinforces Felice's comments.

Eating in bistros probably better prepares one to enjoy a four or five fork and spoon restaurant, but the opposite may not be true. It's also worth noting that the number of kitchen staff in a restaurant such as Lucas Carton is far greater in proportion to the number of diners than it is at a place like Au Bon Accueil where there's undoubtedly few people standing around and less open counter space. Mostly I suspect, it's largely a matter of custom.

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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Why is everyone trying to make excuses for this guy. Everywhere in the world there are good servers and bad servers. This guy was just plain bad and rude. And he was the first I have encountered in Paris in many years. Yes, we were first time visitors, but he should have mistaken us for American tourists that WILL leave good tips for good service. And judging by all his smiling at the end of the meal when he brought the bill he probably did and was hoping then to "earn" that extra money. Well he did not get it of course.

It was not the fact that we did not get vegetables that is the problem. It was the attitude he gave us as reaction to the question. Even my 7 year old daughter caught on to how rude he was and wanted to leave. A nice smile and a "of course I will check" lie and then coming back without asking anyone and saying "I am so sorry but the kitchen is too busy" would have solved the problem.

I am not trying to make any judgement on French service here. In fact my experience is that service in France is quite good and often more genuine than in the US. I am just warning people that may want to take smaller children to Au Bon Accueil, because they have seen it recommended as child friendly, that there is one server that does not have any consideration of small children. And that could well ruin your experience.

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Why is everyone trying to make excuses for this guy. Everywhere in the world there are good servers and bad servers.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make excuses for this waiter. Of course there is bad service in France, as there is everywhere in the world. I was just trying to explain in a more general sense that special requests are often denied in France (unless of course you have an allergy or something) and why. That said, I do think that people will often make more of an exception for children.

In any case I think these cultural differences are important for people to know because if they don't they might end up thinking that the service is poor or rude and not appreciate that it's different. So, I wanted to make a general commentary on this issue.

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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