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Dec 15, 2011 05:33 AM

Roasted Chicken at Le Comptoir du Relais was en embarrassment

Le Comptoir is one of my favorite places to go in Paris. That being said, there is really no excuse for the dried out piece of shoe leather demi-poulette they served me on my most recent visit (right before Thanksgiving). Dried out, overcooked, bland. Worse than any corner rotisserie. Potatoes were good as always. Les ouefs mayonnaise superb. But, still....

Maybe it was just my bad ordering. I mean, the half-roasted chicken is just there for picky eaters right? But roasted chicken is one of my favorite foods of all time, especially in France. I know, I should have ordered the coquelette which looked amazing. I was kicking myself. And now god knows when I'll get back to Paris to order it.

Oh well. Just a warning. If you're jonesing for roasted chicken at Le Comptoir, go with the coquelette.

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  1. What a horrible experience. Yikes, I understand your reaction.
    Did you send it back? I should have.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Parigi

      I don't like the drama of sending something back because I just "don't like it." If there's a dead bug in it or if its the wrong dish, yes. But I have a "caveat emptor" attitude about these things. I guess.

    2. Roast chicken is not made to order anywhere, in my experience. Few patrons have the time or inclination to sit through the lengthy process as it is prepared from scratch. So at lunch, for example, if you want a moist roast chicken, come early. Or risk this experience. Works for us.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Oakglen

        There is a French restaurant in a far off land that does make roast chicken to order. They warn customers there is a one hour wait. It is worth it, and it has made the restaurant famous.

        1. re: RandyB

          Randy you must mean the Gordon Ramsay place in Versailles. I had a sublime chicken there, roasted in pot so very moist, very flavour some and a good crisp skin. It was a a few years ago so may no longer be as good.

          1. re: PhilD

            Actually, I meant a land a lot further away. I was thinking of Le Pichet in Seattle. They also roast their (locally grown) chickens in a pot.

            1. re: RandyB


              I live in that 'far-off land of Seattle'! Second vote to the delicious roast chicken at Le Pichet. I can easily wait the hour while it cooks eating a charcuterie plate and drinking wine and having lovely conversation. YUM!

              1. re: gingershelley

                it was a tongue in cheek comment as versailles is paris and this a french board - why mention a us restaurant?

                1. re: PhilD

                  Phil, I didn't mean to start anything lenghthy about US restos. I was replying seriously, however, to oakglen's comment "Roast chicken is not made to order anywhere, in my experience. Few patrons have the time or inclination to sit through the lengthy process as it is prepared from scratch."

                  The point is that some of us do not accept the excuse that it isn't made to order because of patrons' patience or inclination. Especially here, in France, where some people spend 3-4 hours in a restaurant.

                  1. re: RandyB

                    Anyway, I think it is a real mistake to insist on roasted chicken being made to order, since roasted chicken shouldn't be carved and served right out of the oven. It should rest for a good 20 minutes at least for perfect juiciness and tenderness. The best thing is to start putting the chickens into the oven or on the rotissoire about 1 hour before service and let them rest in a warm place. Then carve them to order and they'll be lovely. Frankly I can't think of a simpler process in a restaurant kitchen.

                    I am rather surprised that there are so few decent roasted chickens left in Paris restaurants, since as long as you have good quality chicken to begin with, roasting and serving it properly is a no-brainer. Before Nouvelle Cuisine and for some time after in modest roadside restaurants, roasted chicken used to be terrific in France. Often served with frites. Why has it become so rare and expensive while good middle-range farm-raised chickens have become so common in France? I believe that may be because modern cuisine lacks the kind of humility that is required to make this simple dish right. So the only ones still doing it can make it pass as a luxury item.

                    The roasted Landes chicken served at La Cantine du Troquet, however, is really good, not made to order, no crazy prices, just plain good old, simply roasted chicken with its jus.

          2. re: RandyB

            Rotisserie du Beaujolais used to advertise roast chicken to order, but the last time we tried it the wait was relatively short, which suggests prior preparation of some kind. Still, a quite decent restaurant for simple dishes. And the price is right.

            1. re: Oakglen

              Why have it on the menu if it is garbage? And there are ways to par cook roasted chicken and have it come out excellent. Gordon Hamersley's, for instance. Anyway, just a report.

              1. re: tamerlanenj

                I must say I have wondered why La Rôtisserie du Beaujolais has roasted chicken on the menu since it does such a terrible job of it. The only and last time I had it, it was hardly reaching office cafeteria level, and the jus was heavily diluted with tepid water. Ugh. RdB serves good côte de bœuf, nice rôtisserie to order, but flunks the roasted chicken in a mysterious way.

          3. re: Oakglen

            Few things in life are as glorious as a simple roast chicken. It's a shame that more restaurants aren't willing to cook them to order and that diners are not patient enough to wait for the treat. Rather off-topic, but like Le Pichet, Cafe Zuni in San Fransico has roast chicken made fresh.