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Oct 19, 2009 06:51 AM

Paris to lose its Racines - Pierre Jancou will sell on Friday

Sad news for all of you who have loved Pierre Jancou's wine bar - he's selling Racines on Friday. He'll be moving to la Drôme (southeastern France) with his family.

The gorgeous space inside the Passage des Panoramas (the city's oldest covered passage) will continue to operate with a new captain (David from Café Moderne) at the helm.

I wrote a little bit about it here:

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  1. I live not far from it, in the 9th. The passage des P is one of my fave daily walks. And Racines is always packed. Amazing that he is selling. But the lure of the Drome is considerable, certes. The Drome is like 0pre-Peter Mayles Provence…

    1. Is it really a loss?

      The food was OK but quite expensive. On my visit the lunch menu was limited, I don't mind a short menu but it lacked variety. Then the duck was overcooked, the cheese option was parmesan au natural (a cheese I like, but it needs something with it), and they ran out of dessert, only to find one after I remonstrated with them (I think it was destined for the staff lunch).

      We were also served a badly "corked" bottle of wine, which was changed with the comment "it will be OK this evening", I pity the recipients who may know no better. However, after reading Meg's article I see this was my mistake; I questioned the teacher and was taught a lesson....!

      2 Replies
      1. re: PhilD

        As my mother used to say to my sister and I when arguing over a moot point - you're both right. When my favorite charming ex-co-host Felice and I were joined by there by the indefatigable Ptipois, she ordered a rare "pure chenin pétillant from the Loire, by Jean-Pierre Robinot" and it was surely different and the meal surely pricey.

        John Talbott

        1. re: John Talbott

          I have always enjoyed Racines but also disagree with Jancou's bullying ways with others.
          Eating out in a restaurant is always about my dining companion(s) and my wanting to spend a nice evening with them, and the food should ideally facilitate it. It is not about Jancou, not about any chef, and certainly not about going to a restaurant that looks like a restaurant but is really a school in which we have to "be humble" before the Sensei. Call me old-fashioned, I think I'll stick with the concept of enjoyment and pleasure when dining out.

      2. Sounds very typical of the star system we live in. The guy starts with an attractive, modern concept and a reasonable set of skills, becomes all the hype, can leave after two years.

        5 Replies
        1. re: souphie

          Yah but Jean Chauvel is still soldiering on in Les Perreux/etc after a decade and Eric Frechon stuck it out in the 19th for at least that long before cashing it in. Two years I guess is too brief but after 10 years, one deserves to be able to move.

          1. re: John Talbott

            I understand what the two of you are saying, but I don't feel that a chef owes his clients any tenure beyond loving to come to work every day. When he no longer has that zeal and joy, he's best doing something else somewhere else.

            Let's also consider the possibility that Jancou realized that his concept was based on a faulty premise: that he could sell the greater dining public on wines that are more intellectually interesting and environmentally sustainable than they are accessible and classically delicious.

            1. re: John Talbott

              From what I've heard, M. Jancou simply wasn't getting to see enough of his family and his new venture in la Drôme will allow him to spend more time with them. Can't really argue with that.

              I always had a fantastic time at Racines. After showing initial enthusiasm for the place we were rewarded with complimentary glasses of wine, desserts, and lashings of charm! This is no way cancels out the bad experiences of others, but I'll miss that restaurant a lot.

              1. re: chochotte

                I'm with chochotte - I've heard so many bad reports that I know there has to be some truth to them. But I always had a blast.

                I'll be going back on Monday to try the "new" Racines - which still has chef Sven and most of the same staff on board. Will be sure to report back!