Jacques Cagna OR Michel Rostang?
I'll be going to Paris early next year and I'm looking for a nice Michelin-star restaurant that serves rather traditional French food. I've narrowed down my choices to two: Jacques Cagna and Michel Rostang. I know they are both roasters and known for their sauces. However, that's all about I know of them. I was hoping you guys can help me choose between the two, or at least enlighten me a bit more about their cooking styles.
Also, I'd appreciate it if someone can point me to some of the city's best-value bistros. Not the popular neo-bistros or bistronomique establishments. I was hoping to go a little more old-school. Chez Denise? Astier? Hopefully, nothing more than 30 EUR, if you please.
Thanks so much for your help! Looking forward to hearing from y'all!
Rostang. Rostang is more generous, more festive, has food that is at least as good as Cagna. Cagna does old-style cooking in nouvelle cuisine portions, which in my opinion makes no sense. Howevere, if you like historical Paris buildings, no one beats Cagna for that.
Bistrots: 30e for what? Not for a three-course meal with drinks? If so, Le P'tit Bougnat, 118 bd de Courcelles works. But you don't have access to the famous places at that price (save Chartier).
Rostang, without a doubt. Cagna has an edge for the exceptional setting, one of the oldest buildings of Paris. But Cagna's style is very similar to Rostang, only less good, and with much smaller portions.
It's not that I always favour big portions. Well, I do, but that's not the point. The point is that there is an adequation between the style and the portions. The Rostang, Bocuse styles are enjoyed as eating, not tasting. A quenelle is not designed tasting, as something that creates an aesthetic, moving experience for you. Conversely, if you look at Keller's food (which I just did), or l'Astrance's, it would not be very enjoyable as real courses -- every bite counts for a food that requires your undivided attention.
I think I would have to go for Le Grand Pan for best value. Astier would be good value if it was still good. Au Dernier Métro, too, would seem to me to fit the description. I hope Dr. T will chime in as he knows a lot on that topic.
Rostang has a lunch menu for 95€. It offers a decent selection (including lamb chops and his signature quenelles) and includes Champagne, wine, and coffee. I found out about it thanks to Souphie and another poster here, and it was so good in May that we made reservations for October as we left. Just be aware that it's not on the menu and you must request it.