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Apr 21, 2008 05:27 AM

Chez Georges or Chez Michel for dining ??

I plan to have a nice dinner in one of the bistro when i first arrive Paris in the end of June. i currently had did some research and found out that Chez Georges (1, rue de Mail) had lots of great reviews and i plan to try out tat bistro.Chez Michel seems like not a bad choice as well since that i will have my dinner with my girlfiend so the atmosphere will be better in Chez Michel. Btw... quality of the food will always come first for me :)

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  1. I think Chez Michel wins, but they are very different: it is a bistronomique, Georges is just a bistrot.

    1. This story actually starts out fine. Anybody that has been to Paris knows that a good portion of the restaurants are closed on Mondays. Getting a table for 8 on a Monday night at Chez George and having it ready when we got there was something to get really excited about. Well it all went south from there.

      My dinner partners on this particular night were a mix of half French and half Americans who all live and work in this amazing city. They are the kind of people who eat out very often and know all sorts of restaurants in Paris.

      I myself have been to Chez George on many occasions. I have a friend who has a house across the street and have been with her several times for lunch and dinner. On one occasion I went to a dinner given by the editor of Vogue who took over the restaurant for a special night. Every time I had a wonderful meal but that has been some time now.

      My first course was a “Salade Frisee aux Lardons/euf Mollet. When it arrived I was already surprised by the presentation (the lack of bacon and a rather tiered looking egg) but my biggest surprise was yet to come. As I was picking at the few pieces of lardon that I could scavenge. I came across of all things a rather large metal SCREW. I am not the kind of person to make a scene or ask for something for free but I thought I would bring it to the attention of our waiter. Our waiter at first had an expression of shock but that was all we would get from Chez George that expression and a below average meal.

      My neighbor who is a self proclaimed “foodie” ordered the “Rognon de Veau” which if one was looking for something to chew on for a few hours to kill some time, I would suggest this. At the other end of the table someone who I know goes out every night of her life had which on the menu was called “Entrecote” but should have been “Fat with a tiny sliver of Meat”. When she was finished it looked like a suicide bomber had exploded on her plate…. A rather fat one!!

      The rest of the table had pretty unremarkable comments as well and the one thing we all agreed is that we would never go back. I could go on and on but my advice is if you are looking for a good bistro in Paris don’t go the Chez George. Try Bistro de Paris, Le Voltaire, Chez Rene and if you want a really good entrecote go to the Entrecote. I guess things would have help if there had been some sort of acknowledgement that a screw in a salad deserves more than a look but alas this is a free world and I don’t have to go back.

      2 Replies
      1. re: worldoyster

        Well, your report proves Colette's "canary in the mine" reaction to our last meal there. It's yesterday, and some yesterday's are OK,'s not no Paul McCartney.

        John Talbott

        1. re: worldoyster

          Just wanted to add that I went to Chez Georges last night and I found the meal very solid. We were three and shared the luscious rillettes d'Oie and a mustardy lentil salad to start. I then had a very respectable sole meunière. Also at the table: pavé du mail and coeur de filet, both tender and meaty (though in the past I also have made the mistake of ordering the fatty entrecôte there). For dessert, we shared profiteroles. They gave us each one, on our own individual little plate (though the standard order is usually two). I ate too much rich food, drank too much rich wine, but the meal was lovely, very classic and solid.

        2. I didn't find Che Michel to be all that wonderful. I found the food disppointing and trying too hard to be "unique". The free winkles were very nice, but our mains were disappointing. Not bad, but not great eaither. Dessert choices were uninspiring too, but maybe that's just the night we went. We had better food at almost every other bistro we went to.

          1. So what happened jsheng?
            Georges is under new management; was it good?
            Michel, was it as disappointing as Colette maintains?
            Tell all.

            21 Replies
            1. re: John Talbott

              Chez Michel came up with a disappointing meal a few nights ago. A tartare of St Jacques with oysters lacked any zing, bound together with a light mayonaisse style dressing, with little of more intense which you would expect here - nothing really wrong with ingredients but end result was rather flat. Colvert duck with figs was not bad. Riz au lait was of boarding school quality, just plain awful - do these guys ever eat anywhere else in Paris e.g., chez l'ami jean?

              Place was full on a holiday Monday night - nearly all foreigners like ourselves - but with an overall air of "we don't really have to try too hard since we're in all the guide books". Going for the extra charge items pushes up the cost of dinner - but that would be ok if the prix/qualite delivered.

              John's canary should have been listened to.

              1. re: kerriar

                Unfortunately, Chez Michel started its descent years ago. It was great in the late 1990s, but is not the same now.

                1. re: kerriar

                  "John's canary should have been listened to."

                  Man that's what living with a woman for 50 years does to you - you learn, slowly, but you do learn. She has a s-detector that picks up the problems - vide La Famille, Villaret, Chez Michel, etc., etc.

                  I listen.

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    I'm somewhat confused. I thought John's canary sensed the deterioration of Chez Georges, not Chez Michel. Is Chez Michel no longer what it used to be? We had an absolutely love meal there in May 2009. Standout dishes included morels cooked simply but divinely with cream and eggs, and a beef cheeks pot a feu that melted in our mouths. Plus the Paris Brest, although not particularly ground breaking, was truly satisfying and delicious. Has it gone downhill since our last visit, or did we just experience an unusually good meal?

                    1. re: Ingrid Ingrid

                      "I'm somewhat confused. I thought John's canary sensed the deterioration of Chez Georges, not Chez Michel. Is Chez Michel no longer what it used to be?"
                      My canary, called Colette, my precious wife of 50 years, has had problems for a long time at Chez Michel (not me I must add), and she ate with me at Chez Georges last week was it? and loved the "delicious fricasee of rabbit with girolles and five small potatoes (but thought that) "the portion of potatoes was excessive - another case of too much food......[however, that the] thick-cut tarte tatin and some creme fraiche....was fine.

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        John - I'm sorry. I meant no disrespect by referring to your wife as your canary. I was trying to be funny, and just came off daft. Thanks very much for the follow up on Chez Michel and Chez Georges (and for all the invaluable information on this board).

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          Will these "too much food" women (and men) shut up already? They've been more than enough listened to. There's not enough food for me in most restaurants now, and I blame them, Even Chez Denise is only a shadow of its former self. Just because you guys are not very vital (or ogresque) does not mean the rest of us has to suffer. Just leave in your plate what you don't eat. Call an ogre next to you if really the thought of an unfinished plate is unmanageable. Man, can you believe I actually can leave Le Cinq or l'Arpege unstuffed now? And don't get me started on the Astrances of this world,

                          1. re: souphie

                            I hardly see why people occasionally complaining about "too much food" would be the cause for smaller portions in restaurants. Cost-cutting comes to mind first, and these days few restaurants are immune from that.
                            Besides, there is such a thing as too much food on a plate. It is not so common as not enough food but it does exist.

                            1. re: souphie

                              I agree with Souphie, but don't agree with Souphie. There are times when I want to be "stuffed", and time's when it doesn't happen, but the meal is still memorable.

                              Infact the foods that have the strongest memories for me are ones that were served in small quantities, or more often are sampled from other peoples plates - I still have have the indedible memory of a spoonful of pike quenelles in crayfish sauce that I was too conservative to order, but that my sister let me try just one small mouthfull from her plate 25 years ago. I think food's like wine in this way: though drinking too much can be enjoyable, you remember the wines that knock your socks off rather than the ones that get you drunk.

                              You can't really compare the two chefs, but my memories of a meal at Bernard L'Oiseau are obscured by the memory of feeling "stuffed" afterwards, whereas I can remember almost every from mouthful from a meal at l'Astrance where I left with my appetite sated, but without feeling like I was going to explode.

                              1. re: vielleanglaise

                                There is, by the way, a strange phenomenon that has to do with food balance and, I believe, with cooking skills and sensibility. Hard to explain but sometimes when you've got a lot of food on a plate it was cooked in such a way that you never feel heavy afterwards. On the other hand I have often felt unbearably heavy after some high-end meals with little food on plates. 100 grams served at Pierre Gagnaire can actually leave you with a deeper sense of fullness (not necessarily satiety) than 300 grams of tripes à la mode de Caen in a real-deal Norman auberge.

                                1. re: vielleanglaise

                                  I agree and disagree and agree with everyone. :-)

                                  I never diet, yet I do not consider overeating a pleasure. It is pain. Yes one could leave food on one's plate and I do.

                                  Love, love the word ogresque.
                                  While I do not get the pleasure of overeating, I do dig ogresque vibes, and in a recent dinner with fellow CHs, I did actively encourage everyone to mess up the napkin, pick up their lamb chop with their fingers like Henry the 8th, in short, be ogreque.
                                  Rumor has it that a fellow CH absent that night - and Soup's infant son fight over bones. Soup and I nearly did. Upon the last rib of the carré d'agneau, Soup made the mistake of asking who would share it with him. I told him to keep the meat part and give me the bone. Broke me heart to see his eyes - with undisguised lust - glued to the bone as it made its way from his plate to mine. His tears mingled with his saliva.

                                  Btw, Soup, Ptit, I always wondered about this: is it acceptable to use one's fingers à table in a restaurant? I remember Soup, DCM and I picked up our food with our hands and licked our fingers chez L'Ami Jean, but that was like chez Soup. In other restos when I used my fingers, I sort of got bad vibes.

                                  Except of course with asperges.

                                  1. re: Parigi

                                    Use your fingers when you have to, wherever you are. Even more so in a restaurant and let no one give you bad vibes — you're paying. Knowing you, I am sure you do it with utter distinction, so gnaw away. I wouldn't give the same advice to a bad-mannered Obélix type who would hold his whole roasted wild boar with both hands.

                                    1. re: Ptipois

                                      They serve whole roasted boars? Where? Where?

                                      1. re: souphie

                                        Next time you meet Obélix, you should ask him. Do not confuse Gérard Depardieu with him, he'd simply send you to La Fontaine Gaillon.

                                      2. re: Ptipois

                                        I believe, also, that there is a difference between ignorance and ignore-ance, i.e., when one winks at ettiquete and proceeds to enjoy his meal to the fullest.

                                        I love crusty bread dipped in red wine and often dunk a small piece while dining out. And just as often a diner at another table will catch my eye at that time, smile and nod.

                                      3. re: Parigi

                                        l do not fight with Loic over bones, that is the advantage of being a larger adult, l just take them

                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                          The next bone is going to be fought over by Loic, DCM and yours truly, who claws.

                                          1. re: Parigi

                                            Others have tried much to their eventual chagrin, do not f*** with a bone when l am around.

                            2. re: kerriar

                              "we don't really have to try too hard since we're in all the guide books"

                              Very definitely our experience. The only person in the room getting any service was one larger-than-life tourist who exuded the probablity of a large tip.

                              The food was disappointing. Not even the rice pudding sent us out smiling.

                              1. re: mangeur

                                Is this in regard to Chez Georges or Chez Michel?