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Feb 28, 2010 03:12 PM

Weigh in on recs by one of my favorite chefs?

When I found out I was going to Paris this summer, I was overwhelmed with how to choose our restaurants (before I found you amazing people!) and I asked one of my favorite US chefs what his favorites were in Paris since i like his style of food, in the Thomas Keller style of cooking

A few months later, he finally gets back to me, and I am not sure I think his suggestions are really that inspiring. HIs suggestion for the splurge was Le Meurice, but I feel better about Le Cinq and L'Astrance for our two choices. Especially since the lunch menu at Le Meurice did not look as nice as the dinner menu. Dinner seemed lovely ,but we really cannot afford dinner menus.

Anyone care to weigh in on these (3 or 4?) more casual choices?

Les Bistrots d a Cote par/ Le Flaubert
Michel Rostang 10 Rue Gustave Flaubert

Au Pied de Cochon
6 Rue Coquilliere

Les Grandes Marches
6 Place de la Bastille
Brasserie style, great food

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  1. Has the Grandes Marches reopened? I must say I haven't been by and it was never a "destination," but OK before the Opera.

    1. That's exactly the problem with the star system: successful chefs become jetsetters themselves, having the same corporate recommendations as every international guides. Le Meurice, you guessed it right, is place for jet setters. If you use the phrase "cannot afford", this place is not made for you. It's for people who don't count. The lunch deal is not a bargain for foodies but an excuse for those of them who are on a diet or have a tight schedule, and of course the corporate crowd who want to show off at vulgar cost. This is not to say that Alléno is not a very talented chef, or that they don't have one of the best waiting staffs in town, or the best pastry chef, or a literaly royal dining room. That's the least they could do.

      Both l'Astrance and Le Cinq hold more promise for a value-conscious foodie like you. I have reservations about l'Astrance lunch deal, though, as three courses is very short to get a sense of what Barbot does. If you ask me, that's also very little food. It's like a sample of l'Astrance -- so I'm not sure it's that great value. But there's no question that this is one of the major restaurants these days.

      Le Bistrot d'à Côté is an old fav of mine, and indeed it is a Rostang joint. Just like you should not expect sophistication and groundbreaking or refined food at the fancy Rostang restaurant next door, BAC delivers on hearthy, bourgeois, traditional food, with a bit of a modern twist in order not to be classified passé by the guide books. Just enough, if that.

      Au Pied de Cochon has no significant appeal, except that it's open all night. The food is not bad, but not particularly good either (I do remember a stuffed pied de cochon that wasn't bad, bread and butter were OK, etc).

      Les Grandes Marches indeed has good modernised brasserie food, with the ever present Nutella desserts, cheeseburgers and tuna tartars. It's not worth crossing town for their food, but it's a nice comfortable space, a special location, with quite decent food and wine. Totally the kind of place, and neighborhood, where one likes to linger, hang out, use the wifi, etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: souphie

        Thank you, Souphie.
        Our lunch at L'Astrance will be our first full day there, so the smaller portions will not dissuade us. We tend to measure value by our enjoyment rather than quantity of food. That leaves us room for a nice dinner that evening, too, as you mentioned in another post!