D'Chez Eux-Paris 7
After years of dreaming about it and being kept away from the place by the very high prices, I jumped in today.
Bad, bad idea.
It started with "tomates de collection", 13.50€ for two tomatoes straight out of the fridge. They were indeed better than the supermarket tomatoes I find at Franprix in february. It's funny because I first though "wow, they have to be very confident to serve something that simple". And indeed they are. Confident that they have enough rich locals and tourists that will be fooled by the guides recommendation to pay those ridiculous amounts for very average food.
What I had was actually OK -- celeri with crab, and a shoulder of baby lamb. It was in no way worth the 75€ pp we ended up paying (with the cheapest wine available and no dessert), but I would have been happily surprised to be served that kind of food at my mother in law on a sunday. (I'm not that lucky).
My dining companion got the most revolting thing of the meal: a "cote de veau d'Hugo Desnoyer" that was simple crap, more of a T-Bone than a veal chop, burnt and dry, with a watery, also burnt juice. The taste was totally off, almost like kidney, in a bad way. The sides, braised endives and girolles, were a disgrace, remindful of my actual mother in law. Not that the frozen peas I had on the side of my lamb were anything to celebrate, mind you.
At that point we called it a meal. In fact, because we're like that, we headed to CAJ and asked Jégo if he could fix our day. He did fix us a cold snack (the kitchen was closed) that reconciled us with life and the 7th arrondissement).
This visit strangely triggered reflections about other food establishments, besides CAJ. First, part of my fascination with D'Chez Eux was one fellow food blogger's promise that it was "L'Ami Louis de la rive gauche". Now, this is only true if by l'Ami Louis you mean "overpriced tourist trap", which does not describe the real Ami Louis, but fits the meal I had at D'Chez Eux pretty well.
Then I thought about La Grille, another traditional institution that I had known in its glorious days and that has apparently not changed. Except it has, and what was good is now not good, even though it is listed the same way and looks kinda the same. So, maybe D'Chez Eux really was once awesome, or even very good, or simply worth the price. It's not hard for me to imagine how a good big cote de veau, an excellent confit de canard, a plate of jamon can be worth what they charge. Indeed I need only think of l'Ami Louis or Joséphine.
Then another bad point for Desnoyer. I believe that this veal indeed came from there, as they say. I believe it all the more since I bought a ridiculously expensive cote de veau from Desnoyer myself last week, and it was also not worth the 40€/kg I was charged, rendering water when I cooked it. It was not the crap that we were served today, but both are exemplary of what Desnoyer does now, ready to sell average quality at high prices to whomever is happy with it.
The place was almost empty, and in a way that is reassuring.
By the way, you don't have to believe me. You can check by yourself on the pictures:
While you're at it, review the pics from Chez l'Ami Jean too...