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Frenchie reservation??!!

cinemagrrl Mar 5, 2010 11:42 AM

After reading the boards and finally honing our list of places to enjoy, we are desperate to get into Frenchie. I called to make a reservation and got a recorded message in French. I speak horrible french and do not understand the message. I think the gentleman is giving me information to make a reservation. Does anyone know how to make reservations at Frenchie? Please help us. We're trying to get in March 23rd or 25. Thanks bunches in advance!

  1. Parigi Mar 5, 2010 11:56 AM

    They only answer their phone when they are there, during the meal times. I know, it's insane.
    Therefore I suggest you call Paris time between noon and 3pm, and between 7pm and 11pm, preferably noon->1pm and 7pm->8pm, when they are preparing for the meals but before the diners arrive.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Parigi
      PhilD Mar 5, 2010 12:54 PM

      Parigi - you realise they don't open until 8:00 in the evenings?

    2. PhilD Mar 5, 2010 11:59 AM

      You need to ring just before or after they open for service, so around 12:00 or 8:00 (Paris time). If you ring too early there is no-one there (or they are cooking) if you ring too late they are serving.

      You have left it quite late, you may find lunch easier on the 25th (they don't open for lunch on Tuesday).

      1. John Talbott Mar 5, 2010 12:13 PM

        Yes, but this answer will not please you.
        You either set your phone on robo call 10 AM - 3 PM and 6 PM - 11 PM Paris time or you drift by when you arrive and walk in and reserve for today, tmrw, etc - this is truly a one man show - vide Bob Dylan with a guitar, harmonica and singing as well.
        It's the beauty and frustration of the place.
        But please, much as I like Gregory Marchand and his cooking, as I did that at Spring, Afaria, Regalade, Bigarrade, Comptoir, Le Troquet, l'Astrance, etc in their glory - and L'Ami Louis in 1968 - which have all been impossible to get into - this too shall pass.
        Don't pass up the new places - Le 122, Le Marcab, Rech with Max, le Concert de Cuisine, P'tit Caillou, Chez Grenouille, l'Agrume, etc, etc. just because the NYT and WashPost haven't figured out the Earth moves.

        John Talbott

        13 Replies
        1. re: John Talbott
          cinemagrrl Mar 5, 2010 12:23 PM

          Thanks everyone for your responses.

          John, we are definitely not passing up new places. Your suggestions on the thread have been essential to our decision making process. I was so happy to find your top ten list on your blog, hence why we want to get into Frenchie. I'll give it shot the next couple of days. If we don't get it, our replacement is Rech for dinner instead of lunch.

          1. re: cinemagrrl
            John Talbott Mar 5, 2010 12:27 PM

            Oh gosh I have a new list since January, you are the first to see it, will post on JT Paris tmrw:
            Top Ten+ of the New Year 2010
            7.0 Le Concert de Cuisine & Chez La Vieille Adrienne
            6.8 Le P’tit Caillou
            6.5 L’Agrume
            6.4 Chez Grenouille
            5.8 Bouchons & Assiette, Le Restaurant & Petits Plats
            5.5 La Gazzetta (new menu)
            5.4 Flottes O.Trement
            5.2 Le Percolateur

          2. re: John Talbott
            PhilD Mar 5, 2010 12:58 PM

            John - the problem with ringing before service is that there is no-one to answer the phone. The phone is in the bar, and the chef can't get out of the kitchen to reach the bar. The waiter (yes singular) is either not there yet or outside the restaurant getting wines from the cellar.

            1. re: PhilD
              Parigi Mar 5, 2010 02:53 PM

              "the problem with ringing before service is that there is no-one to answer the phone"

              That's why I suggested that the poster try calling at the start of service: noon->1pm; 7->8pm Paris time.

              1. re: Parigi
                PhilD Mar 5, 2010 04:06 PM

                But they don't start until 8:00pm

                1. re: PhilD
                  Parigi Mar 6, 2010 03:46 AM

                  The waitstaff and kitchen don't start shift at 8pm, arriving at the same time as the diners. They are there at least an hour before the start of meal time, and that's the best time to call. I always call between 7pm - 7:30pm Paris time.
                  And during meal time, why not? They do answer the phone then, but be prepared for the phone to ring a bit.

                  1. re: Parigi
                    PhilD Mar 6, 2010 11:38 AM

                    Don't disagree the FOH are on duty before they open, and obviously the chef is also there.

                    But in my experience they are often not physically near he phone until service starts at 8:00. I stood outside a watched because we were early so could see that the phone was ignored by the kitchen and the waiter spent a lot of time going backwards and forwards to the cellar which is outside the restaurant along a side passage.

                    Obviously you could be lucky before service starts.

                    1. re: PhilD
                      cinemagrrl Mar 6, 2010 12:35 PM

                      Tried again today. This time after calling twice and trying to decipher the machine message, I enlisted a french speaking friend. She called and also had a tough time figuring out the times to make a reservation (Tues and Fridays? 11:20-1:20 etc). She had to call back a second time to confirm the times and got a live person. They are booked through April 20th, well after our trip. Oh well...

                      1. re: cinemagrrl
                        John Talbott Mar 6, 2010 09:07 PM

                        A friend of mine got in the other day by walking in at end of lunch service.

                        1. re: John Talbott
                          cinemagrrl Mar 7, 2010 07:02 AM

                          We were hoping for a dinner reservation. However, we will swing by early in the week in hopes of scoring a table for lunch. Thanks for all your help.

                          1. re: cinemagrrl
                            PhilD Mar 7, 2010 11:28 AM

                            Remember it isn't open for lunch on Monday and Tuesday.

                          2. re: John Talbott
                            forestcollins Mar 16, 2010 03:21 AM

                            John: that's been my experience. I have no luck when i try and call for reservations, but better luck if I stop in and ask very nicely and offer to be on a waiting list.

                            i'm currently trying to make lunch reservations for someone for tomorrow...I know there is no way I'd get a dinner reservation for tomorrow...but anyone have a general feel on how the lunch reservations, i.e.: any chance of getting lunch booking for the next day & PhilD: are you sure they're closed for lunch on Tuesdays?....(just want to confirm so I'm not trying to call all lunch time today to no avail!)

                            1. re: forestcollins
                              PhilD Mar 16, 2010 01:01 PM

                              Their web site says open from Tuesday dinner (ouvert du mardi soir au samadi soir) to Saturday dinner: http://www.frenchie-restaurant.com/

            2. mangeur Mar 16, 2010 02:13 PM

              One more reminder that Frenchie's original acclaim was for value, not for mind boggling food. Yes, we enjoyed our meals there, but no more than those at a handful of other places. And, yes, we tried to get in for an upcoming visit but when we couldn't, another address quickly filled its slot with no regrets on our part.

              11 Replies
              1. re: mangeur
                John Talbott Mar 16, 2010 03:37 PM

                "Yes, we enjoyed our meals there, but no more than those at a handful of other places." Couldn't agree more; I love Frenchie but as I said upthread, it's one of several terrific places these days, just has more buzz.

                1. re: John Talbott
                  mangeur Mar 16, 2010 03:43 PM

                  Of course, you agree, John. I was merely reiterating your previous caveats. ;)

                  1. re: mangeur
                    John Talbott Mar 16, 2010 04:53 PM

                    The trouble is, and this is the germ of another thread, "hot" places of the moment (Spring, Frenchie, Bigarrade, Regalade, Astrance, etc etc etc) get reps on websites and it's as if no other places matter. We know why certain places (for example, Darroze, Citrus Etoile) do - the old-fashioned way ($/PR/hype), but the website way creates traffic that is more excessive, And as you said, I believe, only 5 years ago, that's why some places are kept in pectorum. Mao was right once - "let a hundred [or as it's misquoted thousand] flowers bloom."

                    1. re: John Talbott
                      hychka Mar 16, 2010 05:15 PM

                      Reading the chowhound france thread daily, I often think that posters only wish to be in the cool places. What's really good, what's really a value, what's really new, what's really close to what we want to do all seem to be second third or even of no thought. OTOH maybe I'm getting old.

                      1. re: hychka
                        Laidback Mar 16, 2010 06:05 PM


                        May I suggest that before you get much older you post a top 10 of "What's really good, what's really a value, what's really new, what's really close to what we want to do" as I am definitely 2 decades past cool.

                        My top 10 would be so passé,,, from Taillevent to Café Qui Parle

                        1. re: hychka
                          mangeur Mar 16, 2010 06:06 PM

                          (Chucklying as I type) How true. While we insist on secret houses where we will encounter no Anglo speaker. No, you're not old. Sage, perhaps, but not old.

                        2. re: John Talbott
                          Parigi Apr 1, 2010 01:03 PM

                          'Mao was right once - "let a hundred [or as it's misquoted thousand] flowers bloom." '

                          A food-related yet transcendentally off-topic question:
                          How did "thousand year old eggs" become "oeufs de cent ans"? 900 years went missing.
                          (The term in Chinese is "skin eggs" 皮蛋, no chronology given…)

                          1. re: Parigi
                            John Talbott Apr 1, 2010 01:35 PM

                            "A food-related yet transcendentally off-topic question:
                            How did "thousand year old eggs" become "oeufs de cent ans"? 900 years went missing.
                            (The term in Chinese is "skin eggs" 皮蛋, no chronology given…)"
                            With your DNA, I'd expect you can come up with a plausible answer, non?
                            In the US and China, last times I saw a menu, it was "thousand year old eggs."
                            Isn't there, in France, some pot that's supposed to have been kept cooking for a hundred years? Can't find it here or on other, now-limping, websites.

                            1. re: John Talbott
                              Parigi Apr 1, 2010 02:23 PM

                              La Marmite Perpétuelle?

                    2. re: mangeur
                      PhilD Mar 16, 2010 06:37 PM

                      I disagree. Yes, Frenchie is good value, but it is also very well executed food with some interesting twists, probably the best food of our last visit. I am very happy to have tried it and would have been disapointed to have missed it (although how can you miss what you don't know). Will it be on the list next time? Maybe not, but equally Spring etc were not either.

                      1. re: PhilD
                        mangeur Mar 16, 2010 06:42 PM

                        You make a good point, Phil. It is interesting how our reservation preferences ebb and flow. How this visit's "absolute must " becomes a "well, perhaps" in a year or so. And somehow we are never badly fed.

                    3. s
                      spybarnes Mar 31, 2010 07:04 PM

                      Hopefully this isn't too silly of a question, but are you able to make a reservation at a restaurant like Frenchie without being able to speak French? My girlfriend is conversant, but I am putting this trip together as a surprise to her (engagement). Thank you for your advice in advance.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: spybarnes
                        shortstop Mar 31, 2010 08:06 PM

                        Not a silly question at all. It should not be a problem, most places have someone available who speaks English. However, IMHO, it is polite to ask whether anyone speaks English in French --> Parlez-vous anglais s'il vous plaît, pronounced: Par-lay voo an-glay see-voo-play? At that point, either they will converse with you in English, even if only minimally, or you know you need to find someone who speaks French to call for you. :)

                        Also, if you are staying in a hotel with a concierge desk, you could ask them to reserve for you.

                        1. re: spybarnes
                          John Talbott Mar 31, 2010 11:42 PM

                          Gregory Marchand himself speaks English well having worked with/for Jamie Oliver.

                          1. re: John Talbott
                            lapengia Apr 6, 2010 01:25 PM

                            So one should ring up and say "Alright geezer, wanna come round your gaff for a nosh wiv a few mates, giza table, willya? Lovely jubbly!" in Jamie-ese?

                          2. re: spybarnes
                            gatsby340 Apr 1, 2010 07:12 PM

                            Just made a reservation at Frenchie two weeks ago. I don't speak French, but I think it's respectful to initiate a conversation in French, so prepared a little script where I said in French, "I'd like to make a dinner reservation, however, I do not speak French...do you speak English?" I've done this for reservations at 5 different places. Other than a couple congenial chuckles at my probably terrible pronunciation it has worked fine. They've all responded "of course we can speak in English," and everything went fine with making the reservation from there.

                            1. re: gatsby340
                              John Talbott Apr 2, 2010 01:22 AM

                              Well done, if one puts oneself in a supplicant position, in a resto, bank or department store, things go amazingly smoothly, even if you continue to speak like a vache espagnole.

                              1. re: John Talbott
                                spybarnes Apr 2, 2010 09:27 AM


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