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Jul 17, 2012 12:09 PM

Help me fill in the blank for 1 meal

After studying Chowhound for months and months and (what I thought to be) careful planning, I was informed by the conceirge yesterday that one of the places I had reserved was closed on Saturdays and they went ahead and reserved it for Friday.

This is what my schedule looks like:

Arrive Friday, Sept 7
Friday: Josephine Chez Dumonet
Saturday: OPEN - this is where I need help.
Sunday: Lunch at Le Cinq
Monday: Le Comptoir for dinner
Tuesday: Spring for dinner
Wednesday: Frenchie
Thursday: Chez L'Ami Jean
Friday: Lunch at Le Grand Vefour.

For Saturday the 8th, I was thinking I would try to do dinner some place that is not too expensive and is within walking distance from Relais St. Germain. Walking distance to me is a mile or 2. I am not overly concerned with the type of cuisine that is served. I have seen Fish la Boissonnerie mentioned here as well as L'Ambassade d'Auvergne. I thought I read that Fish lost it's chef and that place is sort of in flux at the moment. Does anyone recommend either of those two restaurants for 2 people or would you do something else? Thanks again for all of the guidance whether you have directly given me recommendations or indirectly by responding to others posts. This place has a wealth of information!

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    1. re: Parigi

      After all the time I have spent on Chowhound, I have not seen either of the restaurants you mentioned come up. After looking into them, they both look great. Would you go to either of those before L'Ambassade d'Auvergne or Fish?

      1. re: naughtyb

        Btw, your lineup is looking very good.

        "Would you go to either of those before L'Ambassade d'Auvergne or Fish?"
        Absolutely. And Brasserie Fernand and Le Machon d'Henri, both on rue Guisarde, both decent neighborhood bistros, before those 2.

        1. re: Parigi

          Thanks so much Parigi. I really appreciate all the advice.

          1. re: naughtyb

            Looks like a great line up of some very serious eating! Looking forward to your report back!

            I've read numerous excellent reports of Terroir Parisien.

    2. Fish did lose Matt Ong to his start up Albion last September but I understood the new chef started back in Feb so the kitchen should be stable. I understood he was the sous from Darroze. Not heard any recent reports since he came on board. Any updates?

      1 Reply
      1. re: PhilD

        >> I understood he was the sous from Darroze.

        That is not exactly good news and could help to explain the depressing lunch I had at Fish soon after he took over.

      2. Ok, last question on this subject. I studied and studied and studied last night to the point where my wife said, "Just pick a damn place and be done with it". She counts on me to do all the work and is thankful when we are on vacation that we are having such great meals but it is not by chance that this occurs. If it were up to her, she would have just picked the restaurants in 5 minutes by looking at Zagats or something similar.
        My question is Terroir Parisien, Le Machon d'Henri, or Les Papilles? I have read so many good things about Les Papilles, it is close in proximity to the hotel, cheap(ish), and there is no choice, which is good for people who are not great at speaking French. I did look at Terroir Parisien and Le Marchon d'Henri and they both looked like something we would like as well. What is the consensus? Thanks again.

        12 Replies
        1. re: naughtyb

          My ranking would be
          0. Your wife may have a point.
          1. Terroir Parisien
          2. Le Machon d'Henri
          3. Les Papilles. (why ranked last? Heavy food. Corkage fee that keeps rising. Easing into the overrated status.)
          4. Your wife may have a point.

          1. re: naughtyb

            We had a very disappointing experience at Fish in May. I'd definitely avoid it. (We used to be fans.)

            1. re: naughtyb

              Oranges, cantaloupes and quinces.

              TP and LP are rather well understood on this board, But you should understand that LMd'H is a tiny, neighborhood albeit tourist visited bistrot with a long menu that covers most bases, very classic dishes and undistinguished cooking. It is the typical old style bistrot filled with neighborhood regulars and totally agog tourists. We take non-foodie friends there and they love it. 7 hour lamb is always good as is beef with carrots, sausage and potatoes, lamb chops. I love it for Sunday nights and for a smiling good time if not for the food.

              1. re: naughtyb

                Like Parigi, I also think your wife may have a point. I believe travelling, which includes food travelling, should include a little uncertainty which leaves room for discovery. Sometimes, I like not knowing what is going to happen to me. I wonder why so few people who write to this board seem to understand the positive power of entering unknown places with a certain dose of abandon.

                But that is me, not you. I perfectly understand also that when you're travelling to France which is, according to most, a food destination, your time is precious and you don't want to miss a good experience. You expect the most from all your experiences. That is normal, but it may blur the perspective on the very places you're going to visit.

                The Internet has transformed eating out radically. Because everybody is chatting continuously about the merits of such and such a place, there is now a lot of overemphasis and overexpectation on plenty of restaurants that are after all nothing but neighborhood joints, while the plain truth is that all of them are good, none of them are worth flying 10 hours for, but while you're here it's time to enjoy them, and each one of them has its virtues.

                Thus Terroir Parisien is good, so is Le Mâchon d'Henri, so is Les Papilles, so there's no point in saying which one is better. More interesting is to know what style they offer: Terroir Parisien is a sophisticated, yet earthy, exercise on age-old Parisian recipes based on products from the "vegetable belt" around the city; it is also moderate in price. I like it a lot. Le Mâchon d'Henri is a sort of bouchon, Lyonnais-inspired cooking with nice, generous and simple traditional fare (I love their calf's liver with potato gratin), and Les Papilles is more a cave à manger, with hearty, copious dishes and lovely wines. Whatever you'll pick, you'll be happy.

                Not a consensus but helpful I hope.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  Thank you for writing so eloquently on a different perspective regarding to food traveling. There was similar post recently on the Italy board. Paris is filled with so many good eating places yet who would have ever known as every visitor seems to gravitate to the few 'greatest hits".

                  1. re: PBSF

                    Coincidentally, there was a poster by the name of "Buzzy2" who claims that Paris is devoid of any good, affordable restaurants. I would disagree with that assessment completely but it seems that it is nearly impossible to do NO research and stumble into consecutive nights of fantastic meals from different restaurants.

                    1. re: naughtyb

                      "it is nearly impossible to do NO research and stumble into consecutive nights of fantastic meals from different restaurants."
                      True. With no research, one could eat badly even in Barcelona, even in San Sebastian, even in Hong Kong.

                      1. re: naughtyb

                        In the same way that ten chimpanzees on ten typewriters are unlikely to come up with "War and Peace".

                    2. re: Ptipois

                      I agreed with Parigi. My wife MAY have a point. However, I believe that I have left plenty of room for uncertainty every day that we are there. I have only planned one meal per day. Granted the meals I have planned aren't just light snacks but I have left plenty of time throughout our vacation for spontaneity.

                      As you said, my time in Paris IS precious. I want to go to the best places that I can to maximize my time there. I do love the thrill of entering a place without any expectations, having only happened upon them and leaving feeling totally fulfilled but in my opinion, that is something better left to home town locations rather than vacations that are 5 years in the making.

                      Lastly, if you noticed the question, it wasn't about which restaurant is worth flying 10 hours for but what is a good restaurant within walking distance of my hotel. I have already done the heavy lifting with the other ones that have been chosen. It seems that either LMH or TP will fit the bill. Thanks for the insight on that front.

                      1. re: naughtyb

                        This is not to belittle your list; the places you've chosen serve some of the best food in Paris. As for the heavy lifting, if one just takes a straw poll on this Chowhound board, one would come up with the same list (save Le Grand Vefour); about 8 years ago, Le Comptoir was the equivalent of Frenchie when it came to reservation). The list is the 'Zagat' of Chowhound Paris.

                        1. re: PBSF

                          First off, Le Comptoir is just as difficult a reservation today as Frenchie.

                          Second, the heavy lifting comes from months of research on sites like this. I don't just take any one person's word on the restaurants that I choose. I actually look into them and determine if they are something that I would like. I kind of take offense at the intended slight, as silly as it is, because it's just flat out untrue.

                          For example, although many people back Le Cinq, there is a thread on either the first or second page of this board entitled, "I'm no longer recommending Le Cinq for lunch". Many posters in that thread agree with the poster. Prior to making my reservations at Le Cinq and LGV, I was nearly positive that I was going to go to a couple 3 stars for either lunch or dinner. After perusing this site and others, I decided that other experiences would fit what I am looking for better.

                          Ask Parigi how she feels about Frenchie. She says that it is overhyped and that there are many restaurants one could find offering a better value. She is not the only person on this board that feels that way. I am going because of a strange desire to go for many years now and I can't be talked out of it.

                          You mentioned Le Grand Vefour being one as well that is not universally accepted.

                          I, on the other hand, do agree that most seem to like Josephine Chez Dumonet, Spring, and Chez L'Ami Jean. But even though I say most like them, I have found many posts where people either didn't like one of them or wouldn't recommend them.

                          I could make a list of about 30 to 40 restaurants that are commonly recommended on this site but to act like no real thought went into my choices is condescending for no real reason. It would be different had I offended you in a previous post or something but I am positive that is not the case. I don't come to this site to make enemies.