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Josephine Chez Dumonet Report

I just returned from a week-long trip to Paris, where my most anticipated dinner reservation was at Josephine Chez Dumonet. I had read so many wonderful reviews about both the food and the service that I was sure that I would have a wonderful, if not at least good, experience. How wrong I was.

When we arrived, very few tables were taken. They were not overcrowded. Shortly after seating us, we were given a menu, a glass of white wine, and an amuse. OK, no problem so far. Unfortunately, after that, we sat. And we sat. And we sat. This went on for over 30 minutes. Finally, I asked if they happened to have a wine menu. Well, I got a crumpled, stained list (that was missing many of the prices), and less than five minutes later our waiter wanted to take our order. We quickly picked a wine and ordered food and two bottles (smallish, which is all he said they had) of water. When the waiter returned, he brought an opened bottle of the wrong wine. After another 15 minutes, he brought the correct one.

Finally, the meal started. We had our starters, which were all tasty. We finished the water, and were never offered any more water, or had a chance to order it. After another long wait, during which we were throughly ignored, our plats came. Again, very tasty. Unfortunately, no one would look at us. No one ever checked to see if we might like to order more wine or water. There were four of us, and we certainly would have ordered another bottle of wine and more water. I have never been ignored like I was in this restaurant. All four of us were amazed that the service was as bad as it was.

After we were finished with our plats, we just sat there. And sat there. And sat there. You get the picture: same as we did earlier in the evening. Only this time, we had no food, no water, and no wine. I had ordered the cheese for dessert at the same time that I ordered dinner, but it never came. Finally, we asked for the check. Clearly, they did not care to have us there so that we could buy more of their food and wine. As soon as I asked for the check, the waiter disappeared and returned with the cheese. I told him that in no way did I want to stay any longer for this bad service. Strangely, he seemed confused that we were unhappy about being ignored.

In all, it took us over 2 1/2 hours to have two courses, some water, and one bottle of wine among four people I've had five days to think now, and I cannot remember ever being ignored by the servers at any restaurant like I was by the ones at JCD. It wasn't like I never tried to make eye contact or didn't try to get their attention. They simple would not look at us. All this for only $300.

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  1. Just to be sure, did you or any of your group speak French, at least at the restaurant level (the most important proficiency level =) )

    Even so, disappointing for sure. Not a great value place.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cary

      Hmmm, JCD was on our list for Sept. but now I am having second thoughts. Nobody should be treated at a restaurant with such indifference and is JCD, now that it knows it has the world's foodies hooked, perhaps starting to rest on it's laurels. You don't mention much about the food. An important consideration after all. Did it meet your expectations?

    2. One detail strikes me as I read your report: did you just "sit there" all that time, not trying to get the waiters' attention? Were you really ignored or just not asking for things?

      1. Yes, I speak passable French and so does my husband. As for the "sit there", I was just describing what we were doing, as in not eating or drinking. I tried to make eye contact a number of times, and when we did get their attention and asked for something like a wine menu, the actual wine, etc., the waiters were quite dismissive. I eat in restaurants frequently, and have been to plenty of places in Paris, and nothing like this has ever happened.

        The food was, in fact, good. I had the terrine and the boeuf bourgignon, others had herring, seabass, duck confit. While the food was good, in no way was it worth the poor service. The waiters did as close to nothing as they could. While we were in Paris, we also ate at Le Comptoir, Chez l'Ami Jean, Le Dauphin, Petit Zinc, La Rotonde, and Chez Denise. NO place was quite like JCD. We will never, ever try it again.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ParisKat

          Your report is giving me second thoughts too.

          I don't tend to be too concerned about service except for wanting my wine with my food or the food that I ordered delivered hot, etc. I really care about having wine and water. The "too friendly" waiters in the USA tend to perplex me.

          Bummer. I already have a reservation there for dinner in a little over a week.
          What about your other meals? Any standouts?

        2. Last time there l was with a 'friend of the restaurant' and service was OK, certainly not gushy and certainly not fun, very slow and proper. regardless, the foie gras warrants a return.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            This is, perhaps, the most telling of the posts on this thread.

            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              If the food is that good I'm happy to have less than excellent service.
              As long as they bring me wine and water :)

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                If it is as good as you say, and the duck confit as good as others say, they can sit me on the floor so long as they keep my water glass full. :-)

                http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                1. re: uhockey

                  Good luck getting that water glass filled.

                  1. re: ParisKat

                    It's better to do it yourself. Get up and grab some water.

                    1. re: souphie

                      My dad (US) and his two cousins (French and Belgian) are all ~70 years old, and always pulling stuff like that in restaurants. You can't stop them with rudeness or bad service, or they'll clown you, and it just gets worse when they're together....

              2. As for standouts, Chez l'Ami Jean and Le Comptoir were the best for us. At Chez l'Ami Jean we had sauccison sec, turbot (lovely), potatoes puree, and the famous riz pudding. At Le Comptoir, I had duxelles with jambon and a yummy daube. Both places had excellent service and excellent food. We've eaten at both a number of times and this has always been our experience.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ParisKat

                  I didn't get the impression that the service there was particularly affectionate, although not rude, i.e. nothing like your experience.

                2. I went here on Friday after lots of research and a friend's recommendation. We were in early, at 7.50pm and were told immediately upon seating that there were two sittings and we'd need to be gone by 9.30. However, after I joked about this the waiter backtracked a bit and told us to eat tranquillement. As other threads have pointed out - the wine list was a bit odd - ridiculously overpriced wines (at €1000+) and then some more at around 30-50. No half bottles. We were served the glass of wine aperitif without being asked, and charged for it. It wasn't expensive, but still... I ordered one soufflé to share with my husband, and the waiter said "I'll bring two". And walked off fast before I could clarify. As the OP says - the food was all good. We all had the prawn starters, then I had duck confit, another in our party had the boeuf bourgignon and another the sea bass. The duck confit was as good as I'd read about, although some of the skin was a bit soggy. I thought the potatoes were a bit dry, but my husband liked them.
                  The two soufflés arrived - and at €18 each, a bit of a disappointment. The cheese plate was good value but NONE of the staff could identify the 6 cheeses! Unbelievable! We asked two waiters, and neither of them knew. Amazing. (Really good value cheese plate by the way - enough for 6 people and I think €12.)
                  When we ordered the wine, by the glass as only two of us were drinking, we were pretty much coerced into taking the house wine, which was just ok.
                  We found the service to be haphazard at best, with cutlery literally being flung on the table, (not always the right amount of cutlery either!), and long gaps between serving the cheese and the soufflé.
                  However, having said all that, they were all really friendly. We had carafes of water which were replenished without asking. To begin with there were no French people at all in the restaurant, but by the time we left at around 9.45 there were many, and the atmosphere was lively and fun.
                  So, would I go again? Probably not. The food was good, the place itself is gorgeous - so typically French with fab light fittings etc. But it wasn't *amazing* for the money (€227 for 4 with little alcohol). I know there are better places. But I wouldn't dissuade people from going either, because if you are a bit firmer and insist on your choices, are prepared to wait, and accept that the service is quirky, then the food and experience is worth it. Not outstanding, but good.

                  1. Thank you for the report.
                    I had been meaning to start, actually, a couple of threads, one on the kind of time-machine eateries (the kind of food and setting and service frozen in time, in France, like Le Quincy and Aux Fins Gourmets in Paris, and one on the kind of restos that are so good that they are worth the humiliation.
                    First of all, I am lazy and have not got around to them although I should, following the example of Mangeur who had started greatly helpful threads.
                    But really, I can't think of any place whose food is so good that it is worth being humiliated. Would love to hear others' opinions on this...

                    35 Replies
                    1. re: Parigi

                      "I can't think of any place whose food is so good that it is worth being humiliated." I don't think so. But I enjoy the agressive banter that can take place in cafés and bistros. It's like a game. The waitress at place I go for coffee and sometimes breakfast routinely yells at me...And I yell back.

                      At another establishment, the owner regularly questions my sexuality, expresses interest in getting to know my spouse in ways I shouldn't be comfortable with, and puts into doubt my involvement in the conception of my offspring....I eat there 3 or 4 times a week.

                      1. re: vielleanglaise

                        "I enjoy the agressive banter that can take place in cafés and bistros. It's like a game. The waitress at place I go for coffee and sometimes breakfast routinely yells at me...And I yell back."

                        The last time I was chez L'Ami Jean, a Friday nigiht, joint was jumpin, and Stéphane Jégo was in Gordon Fucking Ramsey mode. After dinner we went up to say farewell while he was still screaming and clapping his hands to get the waiters (and the whole room's) attention. Between screams of "ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ !!! MARIO ET PERSONNE D'AUTRE !!!", he turned to kiss my hand in a way that is downright Hapsburgian. I was first afraid he'd bite my hand, then I was thrilled.

                        "At another establishment, the owner regularly questions my sexuality, expresses interest in getting to know my spouse in ways I shouldn't be comfortable with,"

                        Now I am too, Vieilleanglaise... (and with the utmost respect for your spouse).

                        I have the same relationship with Weird Vegetable Lady of the Anvers market. She abuses me and I am faithful to her.

                        1. re: Parigi

                          I love all the banter that occurred while I was sleeping. I have a feeling that the service issue might bother my other half.

                          I'd really want my duck confit to be crispy and I am not that "into" soufflé ... hmmm

                          I did make my reservation for the "late seating" so maybe that will make a difference

                      2. re: Parigi

                        We're booked for JCD in about two weeks time - sandwiched between Spring and Frenchie, deliberately. My french is pretty much non existent, and my partner's is not much better. I am not expecting to be treated particularly well and in fact, while the standard of service is normally quite important to us, we have decided - in this, our first trip to Paris - to 'roll with the punches' and take a broader view of what might appear to be bad treatment. To us, it will be simply part of the whole Paris experience... we will be delighted to be treated well and Parigi, yes, I do not want t be ACTIVELY humiliated - and we won't sit still for that, but a little Parisian arrogance or indifference, pfft! So JCD will remain on my list and I shall report back!!

                        BTW, I am not implying that all Parisians are rude and arrogant - I am just going on what people I know who have either visited regularly or lived there have said. And we will be on our very best behaviour, with our bad French, because I do think that good begets good. At least, I'm hoping that it does!

                        1. re: PixieM

                          This seems like a case of being a "foreigner" in a Parisian restaurant. Some restaurants in Paris are rude/colder to non-regulars, especially to tourists, but often warm up. When they do warm up, I actually prefer this attitude to the frequently gushing but kind of fake service in New York, for example. The American tipping culture must change the dynamic too. Still, I won't rush to go to JCD in the near future, which does seem to have an almost surreal mixture of food/service/decor/location/fanciness that could easily go awry.

                          Other restaurants in Paris accept having a lot of foreigners eating there and the last time we went CAJ felt like a theme park FOR foreigners (all eating the set menu). Quite possibly a problem for any Parisian restaurant that gets raved about in Gourmet. CAJ were at least grateful for the business but to the extent that the waiters seemed to be hamming it up while being tacitly rude. No doubt this isn't always the case at CAJ, though.

                          (Similarly, we went to Trattoria Monti in Rome, a disappointing experience summed up by hearing three separate tables talk about Frank Bruni's New York TImes 36 hours in Rome piece that featured it).

                          1. re: johannabanana

                            One word about the "weird" wine list. Weird because it is printed on A4 paper, stapled and stained with sauce? It is actually one of the greatest wine lists in Paris (and one of the most anecdotically famous).

                            It is organized in a very idiosyncratic way and specializes in Bordeaux wines. Now the red Bordeaux are rather expensive (though they have a little house Saint-Emilion which is reasonably priced and very good), the Sauternes and Barsacs (some of them really aged) are dirt cheap. That is because the chef wants to promote his beloved Sauternes as table wines, not just foie gras and desserts wines, and the low prices are supposed to encourage people to order them with everything. And he's darn right.

                            IMO that is the sanest wine list policy that I know of in Paris :-)

                            1. re: Ptipois

                              This is a cross post from my other thread. I just though it belonged here too. Ptipois see the note about the wine at the bottom of the report.

                              Chez Josephine Dumonet:
                              First things first, we were not seated by the kitchen :)
                              We ate at 9:30pm - no rush - etc
                              Seriously, it was beautiful in Paris and they had tables outside and we chose to eat there next to two other tables of "regulars". I knew they were regulars because of the way they interacted with the waiters and the kitchen staff as they left towards the end of the evening. Also, the young couple next to us engaged us in conversation for a while, it was very interesting, they definitely eat there regularly.
                              Second: the service was perfectly acceptable but not "fine dining" service don't expect that here and you won't be disappointed. I would describe it as very haphazard but extremely accommodating. They came to take our order and we weren't ready so they came back. Our wine and water glasses were always filled, our courses came out to the table in appropriate spacing/timing.
                              Third: the food was delicious. Had a demi-portion of the foie gras to share to start, a canard confit and a demi-portion of the boeuf bourguignon as mains. I have to say that the sauce for the boeuf was phenomenal - really the best I've ever had. The confit was really good but not "the best" per se. I thought the potatoes with the duck were yummy but don't see why everyone raves about them specifically. French man next to us ordered the cepes filled with foie and the pigeon which also looked fantastic. I did think the meal over all was delicious and I would go back in a heartbeat.

                              Only cons: we didn't get desert it was late and they didn't really take our desert order before the meal. They were perfectly willing to stay to cook us a desert (20 minutes) but we were full and tired as it was after midnight so we didn't really care.

                              A note about the wine - this is for Ptipois as per your advice on the thread, I tried to order a demi-bottle of an old Barzac !983, but they were "out". They gave me a 1983 Sauternes priced at a higher price point for the same price as a substitute. The only issue I had is that the bottle was already open when they brought it to the table, the label "fell off" in the bucket of ice water pretty quickly, and it made me suspicious. If it is undeserved I apologize to the restaurant. I grew up in a household where my father was always soaking bottles of wine in the bathroom sinks to remove the labels and paste them in a book with his comments. I've never seen a label fall off so quickly in cold water, even on an old bottle. I am truly not knowledgeable enough to compare the taste to other Sauternes I've had before but as I said I decided not to let it ruin my meal. It just wasn't very expensive. Whatever it was that I drank was very different than what I would have had at home in the USA. It did go with the rest of my meal (duck confit) beautifully.

                              I know others would be up in arms. It just didn't bother me other than for tasting purposes as I was curious. The meal with great food, great atmosphere, and the demi-bottle of whatever it was plus 2 or 3 glasses of red for my boyfriend cost under 120 Euros for the two of us.

                              If you go please go with realistic expectations. This is not "3 star fine dining" experience but a completely different type of meal. If you need "perfection" this restaurant is not for you. If you are willing to be surprised and stay relaxed despite minor "bumps" it is a unique experience. We had a wonderful evening and would absolutely go back.

                              One funny aside, I did use the bathroom just as the two Amreicans at the "bathroom table" were asking the waiters what cheeses were on their cheese plate. Just as discussed in the the other thread the waiters had no clue. It was funny and made me giggle. It just isn't that kind of restaurant. My family member sits down with his staff before service and explains all the nuances of the day's menu, this is NOT that kind of place. Doesn't mean it isn't good, just it is what it is.

                              And if you don't want to be rushed and don't want to eat with Americans don't go at 7:30pm.

                              1. re: gowest

                                I saw the note on the wine label and opened bottle. I replied to it in the other thread. Thanks for pointing it out.
                                Drinking a very aged sauternes with a meal is a totally different experience from drinking a young sauternes with dessert. What was that bottle? They have a 1983 Lafaurie-Peyraguey, was it the one?
                                Aged sauternes is excellent with everything duck, including duck confit.

                                1. re: Ptipois

                                  I saved the label - fished it out of the bucket and stuck it in my guide book :)
                                  1983 Chateau La Tour Blanche 1er Cru Classe
                                  It was almost double the price of the Barzac. Now I'm curious to try one of those too. You just don't see a big variety and scope of these wines in NYC. I will call around to some of the Boloud/Jean Georges restaurants and see what they have on the desert menu. If they have any I will try to run by one of them to have a glass at the bar and see if it seems like a similar taste experience.

                                  The reason I was a tiny bit suspicious is that I wasn't sure it tasted "different" enough. I supposedly have a pretty refined palate (according to others in the business) just not a lot of knowledge for what it is worth. When you say totally different in exactly what way? That was the part that I wasn't sure I was experiencing but it is possible that I just needed a young wine next to it for comparison. I thought it was good, but in general I like "sweeter" wines. Have always been a huge fan of Rieslings, etc. Can't stand any wine that tastes like I am sucking on a plank of wood.

                                  Loved all the whites I was offered in Paris. I found them in general to be "sweeter and less dry" than whites American's normally serve which was a huge bonus for me.

                                  1. re: gowest

                                    Yes, and the label from Château-la-Tour-Blanche is indeed something to hold on to. On of the weirdest wine labels ever. With the mysterious "Donation Osiris" mention which I can explain later.

                                    It is a Premier Cru classé and one of the most aromatic Sauternes. When young it is incredibly fragrant and one of the sugariest wines of the appellation, like Château-Filhot.

                                    American whites (with some notable exceptions, like a California viognier I've tasted) are known to be more or less woody, which accounts for some dryness. Wood conceals sugar even when it is present. Some French dry white wines with less wood will display a more delicate equilibrium between sugar and acidity, which is why they may appear sweeter while not being actually so.

                                    What I mean by "totally different" is that in Sauternes and Barsacs (and for one thing other liquorous like Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Loupiac, Monbazillac, etc.), the residual sugar will be very noticeable when the wine is young. When it is aged, the sugar is still there but the aromatic tones take over: leather, dried fruit, almonds, spices, cedarwood, tobacco, etc. So what you get is a moderately sweet sensation with plenty of dry aromatic notes playing the main part.

                                    I have never tasted an aged La Tour Blanche but I am curious to know what such an opulent wine could yield after almost 30 years of aging.

                                    1. re: gowest

                                      <1983 Chateau La Tour Blanche 1er Cru Classe>

                                      Oh my! Not sure why I haven't seen this part of this thread before, but... WOW! did you get a treat! I ahven't had the 83 La Tour Blanche, but I have enjoyed a couple of later vintages. Really special. The kind of wine where you tip the glass upside down so the very last drops can trickle down your throat.

                            2. re: PixieM

                              We are pretty much in your same situation, really heard alot of great things and want to go there, hopefully it is good we have the early seating on a Monday (8pm), so hopefully that is a slower day for them and service will be good as far as them rushing us

                              we speak almost no french - hopefully trying to communicate will work out ok, if not we gave it a go - service is important to us, we are expecting a bit of an affront from what we have read, hopefully by being nice and smiling they have no choice but to take good care of us - very interested to hear your report back

                              1. re: Dapuma

                                As long as your menu French is decent, and you know what you want, there should never be a problem even if the staff does not speak French. Start with a shared portion of the foie gras with an older sweet wine and you will have a great time.

                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                  deluca: luckily i know how to say foie gras in french :)

                                  generally in the us foie gras (at least in my area) is cooked and served with sauternes - however i have not had it cold, so what kind of wines would you recommend that wont break the bank, i generally prefer a less sweet wine than sauternes - i am assuming with the beef bourgienese and duck confit a pinot/burgundy would get the job done nicely? - Probably a better question to ask in another month when it is close to time to leave if their wine list changes often...

                                  as far as differences - frenchie / l ami jean / chez dumonet the tipping is included in the price - is that accurate - or is it only included when specficially noted...

                                  i have frommers paris but i dont think that addresses eqiquette much...but i may have missed a section in there on it, i will go back and check and look online at a few things

                                  I wont get aggravated if someone doesnt smile, just if they dont acknowledge me, but even then we are go getters if i cannot get water served ill go snag it :)

                                  1. re: Dapuma

                                    With foie gras at Chez Dumonet, pick any aged* Sauternes or Barsac (they do have half-bottles too), or just try this:
                                    "Donnez-nous un vin qui aille bien avec le foie gras."
                                    That should do the job.
                                    If it's a full bottle, and there is some left, and you order côte de veau or pigeon, anything that isn't beef - try drinking it alongside the other dishes too.

                                    * Aged is important: after about 10 years the sugary sensation recedes (though the sugar is still there) and the dried fruit, tea, spicy, earthy notes come forward. That's when the liquor wines are best for foie gras.

                                    1. re: Dapuma

                                      From your earlier postings, I read that you would be on your honeymoon and that it seemed as though this would be your first trip to France.

                                      So my suggestion about reading a bit on French culture was made so that you wouldn't have misunderstandings needlessly.

                                      I did a quick google and think these three posts have some pretty good information:

                                      http://hipparis.com/2011/01/20/paris-...

                                      http://www.bonjourparis.com/story/din...

                                      http://www.paris-walking-tours.com/pa...

                                      I hope you have a great trip!

                                  2. re: Dapuma

                                    Dapuma,

                                    US versions of being nice and smiling are no guarantee to being taken good care of in a restaurant in France. My best advice to you is first of all, to really observe the interactions going on around you.

                                    Generally speaking, a lot of French people in public situations really don't smile that much. There is a lot of politeness going on that really passes by a person who doesn't pick up on what is happening, and misunderstands non-smiling faces for rudeness.

                                    My next bit of advice is to buy or borrow a book on French culture/etiquette. There are a bunch out there, some quite short. They will give you more insight on the differences in norms in France and the US.

                                    After reading ParisKat's and EatDrinkLyon's experiences at JCD, I hope more people will report on their recent experiences there.

                                    1. re: souvenir

                                      I am not of the opinion that most service problems are cultural issues.

                                      It's possible, yes, but Parisians also have problems with restaurant owners/staff/management who are not 'sympa.'

                                      It sounds to me like no amount of cultural awareness would have helped out the OP.

                                      1. re: Steve

                                        Steve, I wasn't replying to the OP. I think in her situation, she understood what was going on and received poor service. And with additional reports emerging, it sounds as though JCD is currently a place more for regulars than one-time visitors.

                                        You've misunderstood what I said to Dapuma. I was specifically responding to his comment about being nice and smiling, as if that would make the difference in service he received on his honeymoon in France. You and I can agree to disagree if you think that understanding how service normally works in France is unimportant information to a visitor.

                                        1. re: souvenir

                                          I completely agree with you that It can be very important to have a basic understanding of the differences between eating out in France and elsewhere.

                                          Your point is well taken, and I apologize for seeming harsh.

                                          I was trying to add to your comment that becoming culturally aware will not shield you from some bad behavior on the part of restaurant staff who are not all that 'sympa' to begin with.

                                          1. re: Steve

                                            Steve- thank you for the follow up, and I do agree with your last comment.

                                            For me, I've experienced more of that kind of restaurant service outside of France in places where being a server is not taken as seriously as a profession.

                                  3. re: PixieM

                                    Relax. Nobody will "actively humiliate you" at JCD. You can leave your boxing gloves in your hotel room.

                                    1. re: Ptipois

                                      "You can leave your boxing gloves in your hotel room."

                                      Even better, leave all those preconceived ideas at home and travel without them.

                                      1. re: Parigi

                                        Not sure if these last two comments were directed at me, but they're a bit harsh anyway. I picked up the word "humiliation" from your post Parigi and I was actually not being combative but I thought I was attempting to relay what was my (general) idea of what things (might) be like in Paris - not from guide books but from people who have travelled there....and that we were willing to be open to a wide range of behaviours....pretty culturally aware, I would have thought? I am planning on enjoying myself, whatever the experience (good, bad or indifferent) because that's what travel is about to me...the whole gamut. I'm hugely excited about eating great food and trying to live (a little bit) like a local for 10 days in my apartment.

                                        1. re: PixieM

                                          "Active humiliation" were your words, and my comment was not directed at you in particular but it was expressing my state of amazement regarding a frequent concern of would-be or future visitors to Paris, who believe that they are going to some kind of untamed jungle with some of the natives (especially the black-and-white-clad ones, holding trays and a napkin on their arm) showing their teeth and getting ready to pounce on their victims.

                                          Really, service in Paris can be brisk (it is preferred that way, a bit in the way that the quick gestures and assertive behavior of a sushi chef are expected to reflect the freshness of the fish), at times there is bad service, but I am yet to see waiters who really mean to hurt or humiliate people. As if they hadn't anything better to do.

                                          1. re: Ptipois

                                            Especially since Americans tip much better than locals; where is the leverage in that? Loud Anglos do tend to be seated in areas that are considered insulting (by the loo or kitchen), but then we did that too, right here in the USA. And our repeat customers always got the best tables and most experienced wait staff. It's just good business.

                                        2. re: Parigi

                                          I've been to Paris numerous times (although not in about 10 years) and have NEVER had a problem with attitude from anybody anywhere.

                                          I speak NO French! (Italian and Spanish but not French!)
                                          Well ... maybe not entirely true I can say "I want" up to the number 6.
                                          I can ask if you have a small chocolate cake or if you are feeling better (long story)

                                          It seems to me from further discussion that one has to "know" their way around this menu a little bit.
                                          I love foie gras terrine and I adore sauternes so I will keep my reservation and I'm sure it will be ok. I will ignore the waiters just like I do at Peter Luger's :)

                                          1. re: gowest

                                            Peter Luger waiters they are not.

                                        3. re: Ptipois

                                          Agreed, I would enter JCD expecting a decent reception. I'm not sure how to perceive "active humiliation" would feel but I'm sure that, like art, I'll know it when I see it.

                                          I would order as much food as I think we would enjoy, which would probably be a shared entree , 2 half orders of different mains, and probably no dessert. If the wine list seemed short in terms of our target areas and price point, I would ask for the waiter's best suggestions that fall within our preferences.

                                          We might well veer from this plan, but we would enter with one.

                                          1. re: mangeur

                                            There are just a couple of waiters at Josephine's and they sort of run around and banter with the customers, many who seem to be regulars. My husband speaks French, but even my very broken menu French was enough to be understood. We felt like we were in the middle of a wonderful party and the second time we went (a year later!) we were greeted by the same waiters with kisses and "You're Back...it was your anniversary!!!" Maybe my husband gave them a great tip....but more than likely they remembered how delighted we were with the meal and how I clapped when they brought the souffle to me. A meal there is an entire evening affair. The table is yours for the night and with an 8:30 reservation we don't expect to be out until 11:30. The duck confit and souffle are amazing. Our meal at Le Cinq was probably the best of our life. But Josphine's is the place that we'll keep going back to whenever we can.

                                            1. re: DaisyM

                                              Yes! You describe exactly what I would expect. And/or what we have experienced at similar dining rooms.

                                              1. re: mangeur

                                                Daisy and Mangeur:

                                                You describe exactly what you would expect and love at a place like JCD. The warnth and tradition would be addictive.

                                                But, JCD definitely does not deliver on that dream. The service is too chaotic to earn the loyalty of it's customers. The food is solid but too routine to earn devotion.

                                                Time to move on to multiple better places in Paris.

                                                1. re: cortez

                                                  Cortez, that's my feeling too. Chaotic is a good word to describe the service.
                                                  These boards are all about trying to help others by reporting on our experiences, which are subjective. ParisKat and myself went very recently, and seem to have had *similar* experiences. I want to reiterate that our service was 100% friendly - we got zero attitude - but I'd phoned twice to change the reservation and I speak enough French to get by, so perhaps that helped.

                                                  With regard to the wine list - that's also subjective! I would respectfully disagree by saying it's not the 'sanest' or greatest but it depends what you're looking for. I certainly don't have a problem with it being printed on A4. (!) But there was nothing in the middle ground price wise. You had your expensive Bordeaux (€1000+) and then your cheap(er) wines. The wine we were coerced into taking was the house red, and it wasn't great. I'm not a wine expert by any stretch but I live in the Rhone Valley and in France I'm used to seeing a more varied list - either concise and varied; short and specialised or at the other end of the scale very very long - but this was something else altogether. Nothing wrong with it though - just a perception of ours, and not what we were looking for.

                                                  As I said in my original post higher up - I would still recommend it to people, I just personally wouldn't go back when there are more places to try. Oh, and DaisyM, the table isn't yours for the night - or at least it isn't on a Friday night. I'd recommend checking at time of booking to make sure you're not booted out! :)

                                                  1. re: EatDrinkLyon

                                                    I can only tell you that the 3 times we were there our reservations were for 8:30 PM and we didn't get out til at least 11:30. I never saw any tables turn over. Everyone seemed to be there for the evening and many people came after we had been seated. And I never saw anyone waiting for a table. That was our experiences. I'm not sure why we would have been given "special" treatment as we are clearly not French. I also realize that everyone perceives things differently and has different expectations. I just love it there and when we were planning our trip to Israel last spring, we specifically stopped on the way back in Paris for 3 nights for the purpose of going back to Josephine's. And the same waiters greeted us like long lost friends. But forget that part....the chateaubriand with bernaise and those potatoes were exactly as delicious as the year before.

                                                    No doubt you'll feel like an absolute king if you dine at Le Cinq. And if you can afford it, you'll never forget the experience. But Josephine's does it for us. We'll be back again, G-d willing in two years.

                                                    I'll also say that across the board everyone we had any dealings with in Paris was very polite and we felt very at ease. The attitude that many Americans believe is present in Paris was just not found by us.

                                                    1. re: EatDrinkLyon

                                                      I believe that we were there on the same night (last Friday). As for the table being available for the entire night, we were told upon arrival that they wanted us out of there by 9:30 for the second seating.

                                      2. ...this whole thread has made me pretty excited to check it out for myself.

                                        http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: uhockey

                                          I just found this on youtube. It gives a feel of the place. The first time we ate there, my husband asked our waiter to take a photo of us. (It was our anniversary). Instead, he made my husband take a picture of him and our other waiter. That's the kind of place it is.
                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfFlmn...

                                        2. We speak no French and are clearly Anglos, but we had great service, great food, and a great time here in February. Maybe we were lucky, but by the look of the crowded dining room (with locals), we were probably not just lucky.

                                          1. We were at JCD for the first time on Thursday evening. We had been offered one of 2 seatings (a custom that has become more & more common in Paris, unfortunately) and chose 7:30p. The first couple (2 Americans) to be accommodated refused to be seated in the back room (by the kitchen & toilettes), but when we were asked if we minded being seated there, we said 'no'. First of all, they asked instead of just foisting a table on us. Second the other 2 rooms appeared to be mostly larger tables or banquettes, while the back room would allow us to have more elbow room and sit by ourselves (in chairs). Sometime around 8pm, another American couple strode in, and strongly objected to being seated at a table in the back room, with comments such as: "After all, our reservation was made one whole month in advance!" followed by "The concierge at the Crillon took care of it for us" (as if that alone made them important). They considered leaving (but would probably have not found a suitable replacement restaurant), asked if they could eat at "the bar" ,got up a few times during the meal to check out other empty 2-tops. The staff, reminding them that they had arrived at least 30 minutes late and therefore had no other table options - & that whatever empty table they saw (now at 8:30) was reserved for the 9:30 seating - tried their best to remain polite & accommodating.

                                            We, on the other hand, probably appeared to be at the other end of the entitled-American-spectrum, and everyone was friendly & efficient , while the chef cheerfully made his rounds to check up on the various diners. However, I suspect things are much calmer for the 9:30 seating, as the waiters seemed very conscious of the time constraints in trying to get everyone finished before the next group arrived. Still, we did not feel rushed and had a comfortable 2 hours to enjoy our meal.

                                            As for the food, it was delicious. We shared the foie gras plat principal as an appetizer, then I had the whole wild duck (it was a small one) & my husband had the stuffed cabbage. For dessert we shared the huge millefeuille - it was light & fabulous. With wine I think we paid around €145. Would definitely go back.

                                            15 Replies
                                            1. re: boredough

                                              I'm glad you had a great dinner. It is such a small place that it is kind of sad that anyone would make a big deal over where they were seated. I'm sorry to hear that there are two seatings now. We were last there in June and that wasn't the case. But as long as the food and atmosphere remains the same....can't wait to go back!

                                              1. re: DaisyM

                                                Daisy and Bore,

                                                I'm glad you could work through any service issues and could have a great time. My wife and I were there 3 weeks ago and could not. We silently accepted the toilet/kitchen table. That would have been ok if the service was professional and the food excellent. Neither was true.

                                                The wine list was full of the big name wines without prices, indicating to us that the list was for show only. The actual wine inventory was meager. Wine was delivered post the fois gras starter. Service was chaotic throughout the meal. Food was fine but just ok.

                                                My impatience with JCD builds from any notion that only impatient, aggressive Americans eager to impress have a problem with the place. To the contrary, I believe JCD is coasting on past reviews and older recommendations from overly deferential visitors to Paris. With so many wonderful places in Paris with superior food and excellent service, it is a wonder to me that JCD retains the customer loyaty it has among visitors to France.

                                                1. re: cortez

                                                  It is very strange that a restaurant should swing so radically from good/acceptable to poor service. One wonders what is going on.... Wouldn't it be nice if the chef or staff read Chowhound?
                                                  OTOH, I just noticed I had confused our meal with another, in that there was no stuffed cabbage on the menu (that was at Quincy) - my husband had the pigeon "millefeulle", which he loved.

                                              2. re: boredough

                                                Sounds just like the place I used to frequent - good to here.

                                                1. re: boredough

                                                  We sat at those tables in the back and they were just fine, as you said. The kitchen was not irritating -- it was nice to peek in there, actually. And the toilets were just fine -- no odor or noise that would ruin a meal. It was perfectly pleasant. I think some people are so eager to achieve perfection in every meal that they just get in the way of themselves.

                                                  1. re: glutton

                                                    I always prefer a table with a view into the kitchen.
                                                    At l'Ami Jean I always ask for a table in the back, where spit rains on us when Jégo yells. Just kidding. But indeed our ears hurt once or twice.
                                                    (Besides, sometimes we go with a perveyor-diner who has to go in the kitchen to give advice or a chicken.)
                                                    And the counter seats facing the kitchen at Spring and Saturne are always the most sought after.

                                                    1. re: Parigi

                                                      Two of the most excellent seatings I got in Paris were Jean-Francois Peiege and Michel Rostang, both directly facing a wide open kitchen. Le Bigarrade was also awesome in that way.

                                                      http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                                                      1. re: uhockey

                                                        Can you tell me how was your meal at JFP?

                                                        1. re: mrsjoujou

                                                          It was probably my 4th favorite food of the trip - behind Gagnaire, L'Arpege, and LeDoyen. Better than Le Pre-Catalan, Le Cinq, Rostang, L'Astrance, and Savoy - plus it was damned bargain at $115EU. The service is not up to snuff - young and somewhat disinterested, IMO, but the food is wonderful and the atmosphere quite unique compared to the others.

                                                          http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                                                          1. re: mrsjoujou

                                                            If I recall correctly, I remember that you were on the wait-list. I'm interested in going to JFP in July, and was curious about the logistics. Many thanks and I look forward to you most excellent reports.

                                                            1. re: Nancy S.

                                                              I was #1 on the wait list - got in without difficulty and am extremely glad for the fact. I was very fortunate to have a great pair of persons helping me with all my reservations.

                                                              To avoid further derailment of this topic from Chez Dumonet, however, I will note that we ate there and although it was, IMO, a bit overpriced for the quality (at least compared to Regalade, Chateaubriand, and L'Ami Jean) it was still a good meal. I disagree that their duck confit is the best I've had though - L'AOC's was much better.

                                                              http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                                                              1. re: uhockey

                                                                how far in advance does JFP take reservations ? i have seen 1 month 2 weeks and 1 week as the timeline

                                                                the pictures of that place look very cool, it is good to hear the food is solid, sounds like it would be worth checking out if we could get reso's

                                                                1. re: Dapuma

                                                                  wow! this thread is insane. I have been to Chez Dumonet three times in the past year, and never made a reservation more than a week in advance (i walked in and made it). I speak oly a smidgen of french, and yes - only a few waiters who run the place, yes a limited menu but....we were treated better and better each time. wine was poured free, it became a party atmosphere, the duck confit, the tartare, the souffle...it is a wonderful grand place. urge you to check it out or give it another chance.
                                                                  btw - I found it through david lebovitz, to whom i am a devoted follower.
                                                                  http://www.davidlebovitz.com/

                                                                  1. re: knh

                                                                    i stuck with the reservation but i pushed it back to 930

                                                                    will do the beef bourgenises and duck confit foie gras and souffle

                                                                    1. re: Dapuma

                                                                      excellent! I recommend a half portion of the bouef bourg. it's enough! i hope you are one of those who have a wonderful time - please tell us all about it when you return

                                                  2. Last May my husband and I arrived for our reservation at JCD about 15 minutes before they opened and we were physcially shooed away and told to return in 15 minutes. We were then seated in the doorway literally wedged in halfway on the sidewalk and halfway in the restaurant. We should have asserted ourselves as the restaurant had no other diners. The food was delicious although the Boeuf bourgignon was so gelatinous my fork stood straight up in it. Halfway through dinner a large limousine arrived unloading a large group who were hailed and greeted warmly by every waitstaff. They undoubtedly were celebrities or politicians and they were ushered to the back room. It was a verrrrry long time before anyone removed themselves from that back room to check on us. I cannot recommend JCD nor will I visit there next month on our return to Paris

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: MarySteveChicago

                                                      Had never tried JCD on my yearly visits to Paris. Walked in the Tues. before Easter w/o reservation at 1PM. Seated at second table from window in bar room. An elderly gentleman was in the window seat, turned out to be his first visit to JCD also. I was brought a drink and an amuse bouche of asparagus soup. Service was courteous and attentive. Had the 1/2 portions of foie gras, beef bourgignon and a 1/2 bottle of Chinon. Finshed with the Grand Marnier souffle. A couple of french businessmen were seated next to me, one person beyond them so there were five in the front room, back room which was empty on arrival filled up about 1/2 way, two of the sidewalk tables were occupied. Service was excellent--courteous and attentive. One of the waiters engaged the elderly gentleman and I in a long conversation. He had ? for an entree, the omelet with truffles for a plat and the souffle. Food was excellent. Will return.

                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                    2. Had one night to share a dinner with my son, who was off the next day to Geneva. Too bad we chose Josephine "Chez Dumonet". I thought the appetizers were OK--a reasonable pate de campagne, and some acceptable foie gras, which we ended up ordering quite a bit of on our trip since it has recently been banned in California. But the presentation of the foie gras consisted of two slabs unaccompanied by anything else, so hardly something to get real excited about in a restaurant. More disappointing were the main courses. Both my wife and I ordered the duck confit, which arrived also with no accompanying sauce, a problem given the largely tasteless character of the meat. More of a problem was my son's boeuf bourguignon, a smoky, at least partly burned preparation of fatty meat. As someone who has made a number of boeuf bourguignon at home, I can say this was one of the worst I have experienced. The boeuf was really the final straw in my mind (I was more forgiving of the other courses), although my wife was less than complimentary about any of it.

                                                      What else? Difficult even to get some water on the table (it took two tries), and then no glasses to drink it from (we had to "borrow" wine glasses from a nearby table). And the wine list? Their vaunted wine list mostly did not exist (they claimed they had sold much of it earlier in the summer or year). They were featuring for 65 Euros a very rustic, harshly flavored tannic monster of a Cru Bourgeois that could not have sold anywhere for more than about 15 Euros (I would personally not pay that for it). We tasted this monster and passed in favor an acceptable if still overpriced Santenay.

                                                      Needless to say, we bailed on the dessert, sorry that we could not show my son a good meal on his one night in Paris. What a difference between this place and what followed, where we had superb meals (Le Comptoir du Relais, Cocottes du Constant, and Willi's Wine Bar). Night and day, as they say...

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: CSteefel

                                                        What do you think foie gras should be accompanied with?

                                                        1. re: Ptipois

                                                          A bare white plate, IMHO.

                                                          1. re: Ptipois

                                                            I have no particular problem with the bare white plate, but my wife at least prefers something like a fruit compote to go with it. This is what we had elsewhere in Paris. The unadorned slab of foie gras seemed to go with the other elements of the dinner (fill a glass and place it on the table with no water glasses)...

                                                            1. re: CSteefel

                                                              IMHO, the fois gras at CJD is one of my favorites in the city. All l need is a bottle of a lovely old sweet wine and l am very happy.

                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                ...yeah, if you like terrines and torchons theirs is pretty tough to top - particularly when your co-diner has them bust out some 1983 Chateau Terfort Ste Croix du Mont.

                                                                http://endoedibles.com

                                                              2. re: CSteefel

                                                                It doesn't sound like you dined at the same Josephine Chez Dumonet that I did. We had a wonderful hunk of foie gras, and my boeuf bourguignon was one of the best I've ever had outside of my own.... That meal stands out in my memory, and I am looking forward to returning in October for another!

                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                  Maybe they had an off night, who knows? Could the regular chef have been on vacation??

                                                                2. re: CSteefel

                                                                  So you had the foie gras pate not the freshly cooked foie that is the better dish here. With the pate often all you need is a little salt, jams and confits get in the way of the flavour. It is wise to remember it is a fairly basic old fashioned restaurant. IMO solid traditional food well cooked - so maybe a mismatch of expectations?

                                                            2. An interesting take... http://gastronomyblog.com/2012/07/20/...

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: mangeur

                                                                thanks Mangeur, that was my very experience at CJD several years ago...glad to see it in light of this post.

                                                                1. re: mangeur

                                                                  My exact experience as well.

                                                                  1. re: mangeur

                                                                    That's very much how I remember it as well.

                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                      We must all have gone to the JcD in a parallel universe: good food, too much of it, warm service. Oh, surprise! I had foie gras with foie gras.

                                                                      1. re: Parigi

                                                                        I think that visitors often arrive with notions of the cuisine of the host country (tarted up croque monsieur, duck confit with fruit sauces, garnished foie gras) that may or may not be close to the classic.

                                                                        I remember ordering sweetbreads at Paut Bert, misinterpreting the word "pomme" . It came not with apple or potato but "entier", a whole gland shaped like an apple, bigger than my fist, perfectly cooked, which meant crusted but almost throbbing inside. The only nod to garnish was a pot of mustard plopped on the table, which I considered too strong an accompaniment for such gentle meat. This was about as classic as it gets. It was an educating evening. Very rich, very educating.

                                                                        1. re: mangeur

                                                                          Good point mangeur about the preconceived notions of what should be there, although one does see the comment above that you provided the link to that normally one does find some accompaniment to foie gras.

                                                                          That said, I do not personally look for a "classic" experience so much as a fine culinary experience. So in this respect, I compare with previous dinners in the USA and in the Netherlands, where I was just before Paris. Even without those, however, I could not fail but to compare with the other dining experiences in Paris. In fact, I had the sense that Chez Dumonet was playing on their claim to provide a "classic" experience to the August tourists who showed up there. Resting on some faded laurels, IMO...

                                                                  2. I don't understand why someone cannot have had a bad experience at JCD. I have eaten there 3 times in the past and I can understand how that can happen. All they did were to report their unhappy experiences and they seemed to have hit the 'nerves' of some of the regulars on this board. If this board welcomes honest negative feedback as well and positives, posters should not be make to feel that they have stepped on a sacre cow.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: PBSF

                                                                      I don't think anyone was doing that, PBSF. Merely relating that our experiences happily were not like CSteefel's. I absolutely know that glitches sometimes occur. The chef is on vacation and the dishwasher is in charge, or some such.... This board certainly welcomes negative feedback. We were just mentioning that is not the usual modus of the restaurant.

                                                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                        I agree, I love boeuf bourguignon at Chez Dumonet. It is textbook bourguignon really.

                                                                        Yes it is smoky, confit, ultracooked to the point of being almost burned and a little fatty, but that is how good bourguignon should be, even though very few people still make it that way anymore.

                                                                        Also, no sauce is usually served with duck confit. Just sautéed pommes sarladaises and a sprinkling of chopped raw garlic and parsley. If one must, a green salad. But sauce would be very superfluous.

                                                                        And no, there is "usually" no accompaniment to foie gras except toasted bread and a good wine — of course one may add accompaniments like chutneys, compotes, wine jellies, etc., but they're by no means canonical.

                                                                        It is of course possible that Chez Dumonet was experiencing an off day but they couldn't possibly have screwed everything in a meal. The OP's description rather seems to indicate, according to my experience of the place, that everything was allright.

                                                                        1. re: Ptipois

                                                                          I am glad you like such "classical" dishes--apparently they have tuned their cuisine to you and others with similar taste. And I suppose it is also classical to serve a crappy Bordeaux for 65 Euros? I will stick with the nouveau chefs then in the future, as well as my own boeuf bourguignon at home...

                                                                          1. re: Ptipois

                                                                            Here is my poor photo from 2008 of the boeuf bourguignon I was served at Chez Dumonet. I make no pretense of being a fine gueule but I ate it all; Ms. L. considers me more glouton than gourmand.

                                                                             
                                                                            1. re: Laidback

                                                                              My son's favorite food is boeuf bourguignon, and he could not finish his...

                                                                              1. re: CSteefel

                                                                                I think what I have been trying to say is that each of us has a visual/palate memory of boeuf bourguignon among other classics. They are part of our histories. But our histories will be different from those cooking in any given restaurant. We should face it: there are as many boeuf Bourguignons and cassoulets as there have been French cooks! It stands to reason that when we order something from our mental repertory, there is a huge chance that it will differ from our expectation, and from restaurant to restaurant. Or at least I have found this to be so.

                                                                                So who's right? They're all right. Just different. That's the nice thing about standards. There are so many of them.

                                                                          2. re: CSteefel

                                                                            CSS,

                                                                            Remain strong, despite the "piling on" by several of the posters in this thread.

                                                                            I had several terrific lunches in years past at JCD. Then, on my last visit to Paris, we toptimistically tried dinner with wonderful anticipation. In short, it was lousy service (we had the dreaded table squeezed between the open door kitchen and mostly open door toilet) combined with indifferent food paired with a ridiculously short and overpriced wine list. Yet, defenders of JCD act like you have attacked a national icon when you dare to criticize the place.

                                                                            I understand the nostalgia for JCD at its best. I don't understand rejection of legitimate criticisms born of terrible service, indifferent cooking and sub par wine.

                                                                            Thanks for sticking to your guns!

                                                                            1. re: cortez

                                                                              Hi Hounds, sorry to interrupt the chow talk, but we'd like to remind everyone that diverse opinions are what make these boards most valuable. Everyone has different tastes, experiences and expectations. We don't expect everyone to agree, but we do expect everyone to disagree in a friendly way. In this light, critiques of the food are fine, but direct or indirect critiques of other posters isn't ok; we're not here to judge others. Please agree to disagree, and move on to the next delicious bite of chow.

                                                                          3. I have eaten twice at Chez Dumonet in the last year. Our experience was entirely different from the one reported. The food was excellent both times and the service was unusually attentive for a Paris restaurant. The waiters we had were very helpful in helping us decide on the amount of food to order. For example, he told us that the pate would be enough for our party of 4 and it was perfect. He also helped select the appropriate side dishes and recommended the souffles be ordered for two which was perfect.

                                                                            In each visit, once with two friends, once with our son, we had great food and superb service.

                                                                            I am sure the reporter above had a bad experience and I am not defending the restaurant, but it was nothing like our experience either time. It is our go to place in Paris for Beouf Bourguignon -- I even ordered a full order when dining with my husband and son because they wanted to order other things and also sample the house specialty. The pot served three generously and they also enjoyed their duck and steak.

                                                                            1. My sisters and I wanted a true French bistro meal and everything we read pointed us to JCD, but I was nervous given the mixed comments.

                                                                              We had a fantastic meal with no issues. We ordered what everyone suggested - foie, duck, beef and souffle - and were so happy with the meal (despite an issue with what to do with the grand marnier for the souffle ...). I think going for lunch helped because it was not crowded. Will definitely go again!

                                                                              More about our meal and photos here: http://nguyeningfinds.wordpress.com/2...

                                                                              1. Went to JCD first week in November for lunch after spending a month in the southwest (as a point of reference; planning on large report over christmas holidays for the whole trip). Had the pate, duck confit, beef bourguignon and souffle. The pate was very nice and compared well to what we had in other parts of France. In contrast, the confit was a bit disappointing given our experiences in small restaurants and ferme auberges in the Gers, Lot and Dordogne. It was crispy but lacking in depth of flavor. The beef bourguignon was outstanding. Black and crusty on the outside, smoky, not too fatty. Easily finished the full portion. Potatoes (substited for noodles in the beef and accompanying the duck) were very good. A side order haricot vert sauteed in butter and garlic was excellent The grand marnier souffle was unremarkable and probably our biggest disappointment. It seemed to lack a firm enough consistency and turned somewhat soupy (we didn't pour in the shot of grand marinier).

                                                                                Service was great. Seated in front room table promptly. Friendly waiters and staff. Pacing was typical for a french lunch. We were nervous about portion sizes and weren't going to order entrees. The waiter very tactfully suggested the demi order of the pate and we were glad we got it.

                                                                                We would absolutely return, hoping to try other less canonical dishes (canonical for CH).

                                                                                1. at lunch last week, there was talk of a new manager starting just that week. apparently some reservations had been lost during this handover. i wonder if something has gone on there?

                                                                                  went twice for lunch last january and had terrific service. went last week and got one of the newer waiters (not the mainstay guy) and service was a bit nutty. made it work, and the food was still awesome but you could tell something was a bit off.

                                                                                  try the mille-feuille too, if you're over the souffle or not in the mood. it's terrific

                                                                                  1. Was there last week for lunch and was wonderful as always. Only noticed same staff, no one new. Maybe different at dinner.

                                                                                    1. We have JCD on our list for our trip to Paris next week. Any recent experiences worth sharing?

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                        In Jessica's current Paris thread, she has two reviews from her two visits in the past 2 weeks. They liked it so much they went back again!

                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                          We're going back in a few weeks. I was sorry to hear that "No-No" isn't working there anymore. But I can't wait to dine there again.

                                                                                      2. Thanks Kat.

                                                                                        I appreciate your frankness and willingness to challenge the strong presumption on this board that JCD is an outstanding and worthwhile restaurant. Two years ago, I posted my severe disappointment with this place and felt like I had insulted royalty.

                                                                                        Without question, JCD has its fans and loyalists. Its decor and retro menu invite a nostalgia for home made French food. For me, however, it's a caricature of what Parisian restaurants were or were supposed to be for adoring foreign tourists. Today, it's incredibly poor service, ridiculous wine list and worse wine service, and gargantuan portions of yesterday's food make it a "no go" destination during a visit to Paris.

                                                                                        Thanks again.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: cortez

                                                                                          every place has its off days. when you've been in business as long as Josephine has, that's a given. I wonder did you notice the review on which you just now commented was written two whole years ago. Maybe even about the time of your disappointment.

                                                                                          Could it be they have solved whatever problems vexed them in April of 2005? It's not the favorite place of so many hounds for nothing.