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Changes at Chez l'Ami Jean

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Has anyone heard about this:

http://thepariskitchen.com/2012/07/ch...

Sounds like it won't be the same loud, boisterous, carniverous pigout feast it was. I can understand Jego trying to simplify his menu, since I was in awe of his ability to create so many complex a la carte dishes and different menus all at once.

What do you guys think of his new concept ~ will it be a better, worse or the same CLJ? I think I will miss what it was, even though I only went twice for lunch.

Jo

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  1. Oh boy. About a month ago l made a deal with myself to avoid prix fixe restaurants if possible.

    1. Jo:
      you know I usually go there for lunch, so this does not affect me too much, but a 10-course orgy certainly sounds tempting.
      And I wouldn't worry about it not being boisterous. Nothing is going to make Stéphane stop yelling.
      I think the change will be for the better. Dinner has for a whle become too hectic. Te service and even the food have sometimes suffered. People have complained about the lack of space and the hectic-ness more than they have about the food. This arrangement will give everyone - dinners and kitchen - breathing space.
      And this streamlining of the menu is also a good thing.
      The present menu is so complicated in logistics: a 42-euro one, a 55-euro one, and one around 70-eruo chef's caprice, plus à la carte, plus a game menu during game season. And it is all delicate ikebana kind of construction. I don't know how the kitchen can do this day in day out, performing what amounts to the Chopin-style fingering where one hand plays seven notes and the left hand plays 3 notes, all evenly within a beat.
      I'd continue to lunch there, but would like to try the 70-euro debauchery, for a bday celebration, something like that.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Parigi

        Well, maybe I can join in the debauchery in January (especially if I'm by myself ~ 75 euros instead of 150, lol).

        I do like going for lunch though and having the rest of the day to digest my feast.

        Yes, I agree about the streamlining ~ it's been amazing to me both times how Jego can juggle all those choices in one service.

        Jo

      2. Was there a couple of times in the last month including closing evening before the holidays and each time enjoyed the choice of one of the gastro/tasting menus which I now realize was a bit of a trial run for bigger changes.

        Each menu was very good and some dishes were just amazing. Braised rabbit and a turbot dish come to mind. Each meal was made up of more modest sized portions than I remember from past visits. Drama and shock value aside, that is probably a good thing!

        I did find the dishes a little more like so many other restros, however, and always liked this place for very well done traditional dishes. I suppose this is another version of La Regalade versus La Relagade St H.

        I will probably miss the comfort of the original, but times change. Of course the big question is what will become of the rice pudding!

        1. Quite frankly, I'm delighted with the new concept. I like small dish, multi-courses because I don't get bored. I love it when the plate is empty and I still would enjoy one more bite. I hope the ten courses aren't too large or inflated with extras.

          It will be interesting to see if the new format calms the dining room (Jego, no; diners, yes?)

          5 Replies
          1. re: mangeur

            I was sitting right next to the kitchen window last time. jégo broke my eardrum.

            1. re: Parigi

              Having never been before, I was really looking forward to trying the classic. Though the new concept does sound intriguing. Do you get the impression they will keep the old format for lunch, or perhaps a scaled down version of the new format? It was kind of hard to tell from the article. After reading so many posts, I could almost taste the terrine and rice pudding.

              1. re: joeandmaria

                Isn't he still doing ALC at dinner so assume lunch as well - thus possible to build a meal to your specification.

                1. re: joeandmaria

                  " Do you get the impression they will keep the old format for lunch"

                  The comment section of the article has alrady answered your question.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    Thanks. Did not see that in the comments. For others who may have missed it, the author of the article commented, "The menu choices may change slightly but the lunch format will still be “neighborhood bistro.”

                    We will be there the first part of October, so right after the change. Looks like I may have to book both lunch and dinner.

            2. Here is a look at some of the dishes that will be served at the new CLJ.

              http://thepariskitchen.com/2012/07/a-...

              2 Replies
              1. re: naughtyb

                Thanks for the link - looks very interesting, but it will be intriquiging to see how long (or if) the "old" CLJ menu/style stays. Looks like Jego is entering a new phase and I would expect to see a migration away from the old as the new establishes itself. The two may coexist for awhile but logic would predict the old rice pudding is going radical and I can't see him running both side by side.

                However, wise to say you can see Jego in all these dishes, they look like an evolution from the food I enjoyed there last year. Good luck to him.....maybe now the food will be more in line with the prices charged (i had thought it expensive for what it was on my last visit).

                1. re: PhilD

                  I am glad I will get to try it before it changes. I will be there in about a month. I think it is set to change a little over a week after we eat there. My guess is I will experience a hybrid version of the restaurant which hopefully will combine the best aspects from both versions.

              2. I think that's a very good news indeed. I loved the food there, but the hectic atmosphere was too much for a date dinner and the prices too much for a friends dinner.

                Now I can convince Miss Yeti to go back if I promise her the decibels will be lower than last time (at least in the dining room) !

                4 Replies
                1. re: Rio Yeti

                  Or try lunch, but Jégo may flirt with Miss Yeti.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    Parigi - it will be interesting to see if your faith is rewarded. Maybe he will offer a scytchoprenic menu or maybe he will consolidate to the new evening menu for all services. The one certainty is change is happening thus the conclusion is nothing is certain.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      You are so spot on. Yes it may be better, or it may be worse, or it may be the same.

                    2. re: Parigi

                      Dinner's fine, really. ;)

                  2. I am so glad I ate their twice (once the Carte Blanche and once a 3-course set and absolutely loved it. Stéphane is so absolutely talented and watching him in action is like observing a mad genius at work.

                    I am quite excited at the prospect of the new 10-course prix-fixe but I am not sure if I will be able to have dinner under the new format for my coming trip in January. You see, my travel partner has an absolutely tiny appetite and picky palate. I was counting on the old format where I can have the Carte Blanche and her a less ambitious menu. With the new 10 course prix-fixe I am sure it is required that the entire table takes it.... what a conundrum! Also, being January, I had my heart set on enjoy some game dishes at CLAJ - now I am torn between choice! Looks like I might have to dine there twice! :D

                    Now I can't wait to hear reports when it reopens.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: deadstroke86

                      "my travel partner has an absolutely tiny appetite and picky palate. "

                      Gulp. Life is short. Choose your travel partner well.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        'The Wisdom of the Orient'

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          Ohhhhh you see, I'm not sure if that advice will work - because she is also my girlfriend!

                          Anyway I've given it some thought and planning and I thought I should visit CLAJ twice, once alone for the degustation and then return for ALC with my girlfriend. I will more than welcome anyone to join me for the degustation - CLAJ is obviously a weird place to be dining alone! It should occur sometime between 3rd to 9th January but I am leaning towards the first dinner service after the winter break (3rd).

                    2. I went for lunch yesterday. I had been twice before over a couple of years. I loved the changes. I did not order a set menu. The steak for two is still available and the specials of the day included lobster and pigeon neither of which I can resist. There were three of us we shared everything and loved it. It was a beautiful day we were given a beautiful table. The staff were as always a wonderful combination of friendly and offish at the same time. A skill that can only be acquired in france I'm sure. I did not get the table by the kitchen this time, nor did I hear the usual yelling from the kitchen, but maybe I was too far away. It was a wonderful meal and I'm awake at 3am with jet lag and all I can think about is if they might have the lobster special again today and if I could be lucky enough to score a table again.

                      16 Replies
                      1. re: SINGAPORECHOW

                        Thanks for the update. Are you able to comment on whether there are different menus for lunch and dinner? I would love to try the new 10 course tasting menu that I have heard about for dinner. Having never been there before am curious if it would be worth booking lunch also if they are offering the more traditional menu then.

                        1. re: SINGAPORECHOW

                          I thought the changes are at Dinner and lunch was going to be the same. What were the changes? He always used to do specials so were these different from those of the past? Are the tables different, are the lunch set menus different, is the ALC at lunch different?

                          1. re: PhilD

                            Phil as far as I can remember there was a Business lunch E35, 2 choice thing E42 (I think 2 choices 3 courses ) Carte Blanche E80. Then there was permanent Cote de Boeuf for E90 and whole fois gras for ?E80? The Lobster was E38. Pigeon E42. We were given dessert for free can't remember if this is usual or not. A glass of champagne, yummy Morgon and Volnay. My fav Chartreuse. What more could a girl want.

                            1. re: SINGAPORECHOW

                              Thanks - seems to confirm the structure of the lunch menu has not changed. Wonder of a regular can confirm whether the substance of the dishes have...? From the photo it looks like the new style graphics and physical menu presentation is there

                              1. re: PhilD

                                Yes before the dishes seemed more rustic now very artistic. See pictures of pigeon at Pre Catelan.

                                 
                          2. re: SINGAPORECHOW

                            Hi fellow Singaporean. Good to find another admirer of Jego's genius! If you are dropping by again, could you find out if the 10 course degustation is dinner only or can I get it for lunch. Must the whole table be on the same menu? We are all hungry for information on CLAJ's new format!

                            1. re: deadstroke86

                              "10 course degustation is dinner only"

                              That was what Jégo annouced.

                              1. re: Parigi

                                Thanks for the heads up!

                                1. re: deadstroke86

                                  A picture is worth a 1000 words.

                                   
                                   
                                   
                                   
                                   
                                  1. re: SINGAPORECHOW

                                    Well, it looks like I may have to book both lunch and dinner!

                                    1. re: joeandmaria

                                      Tried to book dinner tonight. Can not lah! :-) Sorry humor meant for my Singaporean counterpart.

                                      1. re: SINGAPORECHOW

                                        Beautiful pictures! I'm so looking forward to a return. Surprised that they are still keeping the carte blanche. I assumed that would have been replaced.

                              2. re: deadstroke86

                                May not make it back today but will see :-). I am a kiwi who as lived in Singapore for 16 years. So kind of a fellow Singaporean. The place seemed even better to me. But the sun was shining and I was in Paris. What's not to love.

                                1. re: SINGAPORECHOW

                                  I visited CLAJ in early January for dinner and had the tasting menu and it pains me to say that I was not impressed . It wasn't that any of the individual dishes were problematic - but composed together they did not serve to excite me at all. I had

                                  - lightly creamy soup of (endive?)
                                  - mackerel and bone marrow in broth
                                  - boeuf aux carrottes
                                  - roasted bar in red wine sauce
                                  - roasted capon

                                  No shellfish, not much vegetables - yawn.

                                  The repetitive use of the same tasting chicken stock in the soup, the mackerel dish and an intermission of "infusion" was annoying. The capon dish is nothing more than a tasty but though roast chicken.

                                  I know CLAJ can do better than that - just look at their Facebook page and the amazing combinations they post once in a while. Perhaps I would have fared better to stick with the ALC menu.

                                  I would return again to give a second chance - but I am not sure to go for lunch or dinner.

                                  1. re: deadstroke86

                                    Happens a lot to me there as well. Many times the menu is not what l wish but one must accept as when Jego cooks for you, he makes the choices.
                                    As mentioned here lunch and dinner are the same food but with less tumult and generally more room.

                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                      Well, I am still looking forward to a return in, July. I will probably ALC this time and the Foie Gras for 2 persons calls for me - the only problem is that I lack a dining companion who appreciates foie. Perhaps then I will be calling out for company here on CH.