Les Cocottes de Constant: at the bottom of all my Paris meals, ever.
We had an early dinner there late last week. Courteous and engaging staff when we started, but all that disappeared when 45 minutes later, the place completely filled up with more people standing up and waiting for seats. My wife had the soup, which was one of the special of the day. It was good, but nothing that I would call extraordinary. The pate and salad dish (based on Constant’s recipe when he was an apprentice) was so ordinary that it was just plain boring.
As I told my wife then, I was confused with the groupings of the courses in the menu and which was never explained to us. Are these tapas-portions? Bigger than tapas? What are cocottes? Anyway, I figured that the more expensive ones would be the entrees. Our entrees were, again, nothing to write home about. One was the special of the day, which looked like a lamb stew with potato gratin which is just as I described it: lamb stew with potato gratin. The other entree was a very small, yet very tough Veal steak that was served in a small metal cauldron like a small island in a white (cream-based) soup and vegetables. At a price of Euro 28, this dish really sucked, and even if the very, very tough meat was tenderized, the overall flavor of grilled veal in a soup was just not working.
I definitely won’t be back nor would I recommend this place. It appears to be a place that has seen better days early in its life, but is just bringing clients (I would estimate at least half to be just like me … tourists) based on the popularity of Constant’s name.
Our Paris trip was almost just an afterthought, as a wind-down 2 night trip, after spending 2 weeks in Italy. Contrary to earlier trips, we made no dinner plans this time and just went where we can get a table without advanced reservations. I wished I had read up and heeded some earlier comments here instead of wasting a dinner in the gastronomic capital of the world.
What was it that you were expecting?
More importantly, who had told you what you should expect?
Unfortunately, it sounds like you were pretty grievously misled by someone...for good or bad, les Cocottes has always made its statement of being about simple foods, well-prepared.
I don't know how else a Euro 28 3-inch-by-2-inch veal steak can be that tough, served in a deep small cauldron, no steak knife provided, and really didn't work with the soup that it was sitting on, be well-prepared. The pate with salad that he made during his apprenticeship was something that MANY unheard of bistros doe here in NYC can do as well or better.
I'm sorry if you feel differently, but the restaurant, just as most of the recent posters here about Les Cocottes posted, just doesn't measure up to above average.
I used to really like this place but our last visit, in September, was very disappointing. I too thought the 28E meals would be more like plats, and the less expensive things would be like (French) entrees. So I got the shrimp and my 28E meal had 4 shrimp. 4. Yikes. I am always impressed by the professionalism of Parisian waiters but here, this time, they either forgot or ignored our requests for more wine, coffee after lunch, etc. With Cafe Constant next door and so good, every time, and reasonably priced (even if there is a line now!), I don't see wanting to visit Les Cocottes again.
We've had to remove a number of posts from this discussion and ask everyone to remember that we're a discussion site, where all opinions are welcome. If you have personal opinions or experiences with Les Cocottes de Constant to share, you're welcome to do so here. If you have questions that can be asked in a respectful manner, you're welcome to ask them. However, posts which have no function other than to critique another poster's review or opinion will be removed.
I haven't been in the France board in a while so I am not familiar with recent reviews of Les Cocottes. My quick impression is that they have been less than positive. But my visit in June was good. I arrived shortly after they opened for lunch and the restaurant only got busy as I was leaving. I though the service was great. Very friendly and willing to discuss the food and preparations. My negatives were that I felt like the restaurant was built to sell books and Stauber pots. And although my dish was good, it was not great but I blame myself since I ordered a fairly simple dish that would not challenge a kitchen or my taste buds. Did I think it was worth the price? Actually I do considering the location and the price of this type of meal in Paris. I definitely was not wowed but at the same time did not feel ripped off or negative in any meaningful way. It was also certainly not the worst meal I have had in Paris. That distinction belongs to a meal at Quick which my french wife insisted I had to try at least once for no other reason than its ubiquity across France.