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Nov 13, 2010 08:40 AM

Classic French Dinner in the Republique/Oberkampf

Any idea where I can find some good classic french food in the 11th?

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  1. We recently (in October 2010) stayed in an apartment in this area – Oberkampf was our main metro – and we enjoyed lunches at two places were we’d like to return for dinner:

    Le Villaret, 13, rue Ternaux, tel. Metro: Parmentier. We had the 20 Euro menus, and a nice wine. (The place is of course known for its list, which was very extensive -- I had to hunt for, and found, a good Croze Hermitage at the lower end, 30 Euro.) We started with a little amuse of cauliflower soup. My wife, Mo, ordered what turned out to be one of our favorite lunch dishes of our 17-day trip: “tarte” lapin with aubergines -- properly caramelized, with nicely shredded rabbit. We would go back just to have that. I had fromage de tete (it was good, but not nearly as good as at Au Petit Marguery, 13eme – that was great), and daube de biche in a little staub (nice, but a bit too dry, as usual for that meat, in my experience). For dessert we split fromage blanc with plum compote. With coffee came home-made chocolates and macaroons.

    We also had lunch at the ("upstairs") bistro at Le Repaire de Cartouche, 8 Boul. Des Filles-du-Calvaire, tel. Metro: Filles-du-Calvaire. I was apprehensive, given poor reviews I’d read of the service, but it was OK. (The two Japanese/Americans struggling to understand the carte on the other side of the room were not treated as gently as they needed, however.) We had boules mayonnaise, an omelet with cepes, lamb shoulder, a fairly nice red Corbieres, and then split a nice clafoutis aux poires. In all it was quite good, but we agreed that when we return at night, we’ll try the restaurant side of the establishment, downstairs/ to the back street, with a slightly more interesting menu.

    Further notes: We also stopped by to see – but did not dine at: Aux deux Amis, 45 rue Oberkampf – it’s been characterized on this site as a bit of a “1970s dive bar.” We agree with that description, and did feel up (or down) to that at the time, even if the oysters are supposed to be good. Where we quite wanted to go, but did not have time, was Auberge Pyrénées Cévennes, 106, Folie-Méricourt; 75011, tel. 01 43 57 33 78. For next trip . . . . (In earlier visits to this area, we’ve been to Astier -- I’ve seen mixed/ negative reviews recently in the past few years -- and Le Chateaubriand -- which we enjoyed.)


    10 Replies
    1. re: Jake Dear

      I would most enthusiastically endorse the Cartouche but caution you on Villaret and Chateaubriand and the Auberge Pyrénées Cévennes for different reasons - the first for inconsistency (which Paquin is never guilty of, altho some folks here object to the servers' attitude), the second for extreme culinary hubris which is not everybody's cuppa and the last for a degradation of what it was once.
      Paul Bert and its oyster offshoot are not that far away as well.

      1. re: John Talbott

        No argument about L'Ammy Lewie yet?

        1. re: Busk

          "L'Ammy Lewie" No comment; I need no more hate mail.

        2. re: John Talbott

          John, re your comment about Auberge Pyrénées Cévennes, which looked good from the outside (but we could not fit in on this trip): I'm sorry to hear your opinion, and yet glad to know of it. (Tant pis; it's in Alex Lobrano's 2008 book, and sounded good from that . . . .)

          Busk, I need to save up for "L'Ammy Lewie" before I can participate in that argment; but I'll be happy to sit back and watch others . . . .

          1. re: Jake Dear

            Well when it was first taken over by the couple from Lyon I thought it was as great as before and the cassoulet and home-doctored camembert as good; with a bit of time though I was less impressed and thought the cassoulet was too watery and the camembert no more. But I respect M. Lobrano so maybe you should give it a go.

            1. re: John Talbott

              Anyway, I still like Villaret and Astier <ducks>. I like Repaire d'C and Le Pamphlet as well.

              1. re: Busk

                Yes to "Le Pamphlet." And we'll still try Pyrénées Cévennes some day (and in the meantime look forward to any other recent reports about it).

              2. re: John Talbott

                Watery cassoulet is an unforgivable thing. Associating "Lyon" and "cassoulet" is a bit of a dangerous venture anyway. I would say the same about camembert.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  Of course you're correct, as always on both counts.
                  I think they, like the folks at Les Ormes who tried to blend their offerings into the old Bellecour formula (quenelles, etc) or Bruno Doucet who kept Camdeborde's winning terrine & bread, the new kids on the block at the Pyrénées Cévennes tried to keep the best of the old Pyrénées Cévennes stuff. You know Pti, when a regular comes back for x, y or z and it's not there, they may leave.
                  My pals from the '50's still go to the old haunts (for example, Balzar, Lipp) they frequented as students, come or go chefs, owners, staff, etc.

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    >> You know Pti, when a regular comes back for x, y or z and it's not there, they may leave.

                    I know. Then what you do is learn to make cassoulet and pick a camembert if you really want them to stick around.