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Going to Paris late September. Worth trying to eat at Comptoir du Relais?

We are headed to Paris in late September 2011. Is it worthy trying to get into Comptoir du Relais? My favorite reasonably priced places are Fontaine du Mars, and Violin d'Ingres, and I really like the menu at Cafe Constant, though I have not yet eaten there. I do plan to eat there on this trip. I can't find any sort of menu online for Comptoir du Relais. Does anyone have a handle on what the food the prepare looks like? Seems like lots of mixed reviews on whether it is worth the hassle and the hype to eat there on Weeknights. Any advice? There are lots of very very expensive highly rated places to eat in Paris that do not do it for me when I look at the menu. I prefer Nouvelle cuisine to Haute Cuisine.

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  1. Le Comptoir du Relais is not Nouvelle Cuisine, it is modernized bistrot food with a slightly more elegant touch at dinner.
    I do think it is worth trying at lunch if you drop by at 12 exactly, but I don't think dinner is worth booking far ahead.

      1. As mentioned by Phil D often, lunch is no res, get there before 11:45 or after 1:30 and no line. If you are a three top, there is a perfect table they try to save for 3's, best table in house. In evening, fussier dinner with more expensive ingredients and an impossible res unless you are staying at the adjoining hotel. Eaten lunch there three or four times had not been able to get a res for dinner yet. Find the place good but not as good as his past employee's places, CLAJ and Le Regalade.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          DCM has good advice. I used to eat dinner their quite a lot (I got to know the HOH team so was able to score spare tables) and whilst it was good it isn't significantly different enough from lunch to justify the long, long wait. It should also be noted that some of the evening dishes make it to the specials blackboard (on the mirror inside).

          I suspect it is an even more tough reservation now Yves is a France Masterchef judge - try it if you can, but not one to lament if you can't as lunch gives the flavour of the place.

        2. Try Septime, Sature, Agape Substance, Passage 53, Akrame.

          1. gdmack, i had a really good lunch at Comtoir. "PhilD" - I speak broken French. I had a great veal dish with the most yummy green beans (and i'm not even a green bean fan) & there may have been another vegetable mixed in. Before going i had read a review done by a food critic/chef with pictures of food i would liked to have ordered. I think one pic was of a beef stew. I kicked myself for not seeking out how to say it in french!! I felt i got lucky with what i ordered. I saw many people orderd salads, the safe thing to order. Any food suggestions to order, sticking with veal, beef, chicken or fish (no gelatin type meat)?

            1 Reply
            1. Just had a very good lunch there with my wife, escargot were best ever for me, octopus delicious, tuna with nicoise flavors interesting, desserts just ok, food well prepared, service fast and professional, we found it a pretty good value as well, preview the a la carte menu ahead if you can as the order is so fast, you will feel rushed, not the meal we were talking about on the way home (that was Chez L'Ami Jean) but we would return.

              1. I've never had Comptoir's weeknight dinner, just their ordinary lunches and weekend dinners. If I'm in the neighborhood and it's a nonbusy time I will stop in, but not otherwise. The food is good, service is good, but for me it's not worth going out of the way for or waiting for. The weekday dinners might be a different kettle of fish (so to speak). I have a post on Agape Substance, which I highly recommend, especially if you want inventive food.

                2 Replies
                1. re: wea74

                  I agree with Nancy S--Septime, L'Agape Substance and Akrame are much better than Le Comptoir, which benefits a lot from being a favorite of Paris food writers who are friends with Yves Camdeborde. Camdeborde's food was much better when he was at La Regalade. Le Comptoir is all tourists and a lot of PR hype.

                  1. re: andaba

                    Aren't these suggestions more modern less traditional. Comptoir's claim to fame is traditional southwestern food? Thus a bit of an "apples & oranges" comparison. For me it is good albeit not a destination place - unless you can get the booked set five course dinner - which is different and was good value for what was served. I wonder how many of the detractors on the board have actually sampled that rather than the standard brasserie service?

                    Planning on visiting the wine bar on my next trip and maybe a late lunch if we stay close by

                2. Dear admack - ( considering retracting my original response). Are you from the U.S. ? If so, ask yourself, do you have $25 - 40 dollars to risk on lunch? I was just at comptoir, less than a week ago. I now consider ther restaurant a gamble, 50/50 chance it will be good. I probably won't return, as there are so many good places in Paris to enjoy.