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Jan 5, 2012 01:05 AM

L'ami Jean for groups?

Can anybody give me a steer on l'Ami Jean's policy on bookings for groups. It's for a Saturday lunch before a rugby match - would they baulk at a request for a table for 8 or 10?

I've eaten there several times but have not been conscious of any large tables - the basque connections and the sporting memorabilia on the walls probably mean it is even more popular on days of rugby internationals.

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  1. We have had 8-person parties there. 10 is probably ok.
    Don't worry about rugby days. One does not drop in there. One reserves a long time in advance.
    Once, in my experience there, a rugby team and its contingent from the Basque country chartered the entire resto for a post-game supper at midnight.
    Otherwise, the resto's Basque connection is only limited to the wall decorations, and a couple of very good bottles of Irouléguys. It is not a Basque restaurant. Not Basque cuisine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Parigi

      It does serve irouléguy and some Basque charcuterie and dishes, like veal axoa... Very delicious, too, with a purée maison.

    2. They use the area on the Seine wall near the window for really large groups, put the tables together. Saw 14 there, a rugby team once.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        We were seated by the kitchen - our fave spot. Come to think of it, we were always seated near the kitchen.

        1. re: Parigi

          Just to report back that a pre-rugby lunch for 10 was a success - we were seated along the Seine wall and a similar group were by the kitchen. Got a rousing reception from (presumably) Stephane Jego when we arrived, wrapped in rugby colours out of the freezing day. €45 menu worked for all the table - a shellfish based soup, daurade royale and piece de boeuf with the purée maison - all washed down with several bottles of Irouléguy. Two deserts - one the "incontournable riz au lait". The Basque charcuterie arrived immediately on sitting down - does anybody know where the really great butter comes from? Only disappointment of the day (but a big one) was that the match was eventually cancelled for weather reasons - bonus is that at least some of us will be back in Paris on the first Sunday in March for the re-fix. Sunday is not an opening day for l'Ami Jean so we have to search elsewhere for lunch. Parigi is right that one does not just drop in there, especially on rugby days, but the advance planning was worth it.

          1. re: kerriar

            O I wish I were there !
            The cancellation was big news in France too. Lots of fans came up from southern France and were probably as furious as you.
            Glad to know that your trip was not a total loss. Still, would have taken a lot more bottles of Irouléguy to drown the rugby sorrows.

            1. re: kerriar

              One place that has good food and is open Sunday and is nice for a group of your size is Chez Casimir has a half-buffet lunch (buffet starter). Actually I have not tried the Sunday buffet, but several hounds and I are big fans of the (everchanging) regular weekday menu.

              If ever your group comes back to France for a match that does not fall on a Sunday, two places to consider are Dans Les Landes and Le Bouclier de Bacchus.
              Both have good food, - the former has very good food, the latter has good food and excellent wines, not cheap but not outrageous. Both are rugby hangouts. Dans Les Landes even has a large flat screen TV showing the matches. The cute waiters told me that when a rugby match is on, thye always show it. Sometimes when a good football (soccer) match is on, like a Barça-Real clasico, and no rugby match is on, then they would deign to show the football match. :-)

              1. re: Parigi

                Chez Casimir sounds like exactly what we want on Sunday - and the location is ideal for getting to Stade de France.
                Hopping back to l'Ami Jean - do you know where they source the butter - Bordier?

                1. re: kerriar

                  The Big J just answered: it is not Bordier. It's a Normandy butter, with "sel en grain".

                  1. re: kerriar

                    Nice game. Esp the 2nd half.
                    Did lunch chez Casimir work out?

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Called mid-week and the earliest table available was at 3 o’clock – so obviously popular on such days. The depleted multinational bunch in green scarves (German, Irish and Italian) settled for a more routine but enjoyable and atmospheric lunch in O Beret Basque while reminiscing about the meal in CAJ. Match result was not too bad either.
                      Thanks for the heads-up for future occasions – a rugby date is presumably not a prerequisite to give them a try.