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Aug 21, 2012 05:14 PM

Input on my somewhat idiosynchratic Parisian dinner choices?

Hi all:

First, I would like to say how much I appreciate the time put into many of these postings, They have been invaluable to my planning.

My wife and I will be in Paris at the end of October for a week.

We have been to Paris a few times but, this is the first time that we won't have a heavy touring schedule. Just planning on soaking it in and going where we feel each day. But I had to plan out the dinners. In choosing restaurants for dinner I tried for a blend of great food, romantic settings and fun. I would appreciate any feedback on my choices, especially, the more unusual ones (not often mentioned here if at all), that I identified partially based on the timing of our stay..

These are all dinner reservations:

Day 1, Tuesday: Joséphine Chez Dumonet

Day 2, Wednesday: Relais Plaza: They features their “Swingin Relais at Plaza Athenee” the last Wednesday of the month. Sounded fun to me – Jazz and good food. Has anyone done this?

Day 3, Thursday: Lasserre. Booked their Facebook dinner offer. It is a Menu at 100€ ttc (without drinks), with 4 dishes suggested by the Chef. Has anyone done this? If so, what were the dishes?

Day 4, Friday: Caius

Day 5, Saturday: Il Vino

Day 6, Sunday: Café des Musees

Day 7, Monday: Wine Evening at Le Bristol in the 114 Faubourg restaurant. This is a once-monthly Wine Tasting Evening, held the first Monday of the month. Here is a description: Evenings start at around 7:30 with a tasting flight of four wines during which the winemaker shares tales about the vintages he's pouring. The accompanying full-course meal, tailored to the wine choices (as opposed to vice versa) by Chef Desbordes, is a set 120 Euro and can be enjoyed within the group of wine connoisseurs or tête-à-tête, whichever suits your mood for the evening. Has anyone done this?

Also, the Salon du Chocolat is in town while we are there. Worthwhile or not?

Thank you in advance for any insights. I promise to report back, especially on the ones that are a little more idiosyncratic.

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  1. The Salons du Chocolat are worthwhile but can be taxing. They involve heavy-duty tasting and evaluation. My buds tend to fade after a half hour or so of chocolate, and the crowds waiting for samples can be tiring, but I always have come away with some degree of increased understanding/appreciation and not a few small purchases.

    1. Very nice list.
      I have eaten at Relais Plaza. The food is good hotel brasserie food, no more than that. I doubt its food would improve for the jazz lunch, but if you like jazz, why not? Just bear in mind you are going for a very nice jazz venue with good food. You are not going for very good food.
      My fave jazz brunch is the one in the hotel Normandy in Deauville (only 2-hour train away!), and that Sunday buffet lunch is the only place in the entire town you can still see the old Deauville crowd, Chanel-clad beautifully old ladies (real douairière numbers) leaning on their nephew dandies.

      1. If you are into wine you will love Il Vino. The food is great and Enrico and staff are the best group of somms in Paris.

        1. Interesting.
          Be warned that at Caius, most of the items painted on their outside fascade and not available; it's quite bizarre.

          5 Replies
          1. re: John Talbott

            As it turns out, my hotel informed me that Caius needed to cancel my Friday night reservation as they are renovating from October the 29th to November the 6th. There still appears to be lunch reservations available that week on Fork, but I'm moving on. In a case of reservation Karma, I was checking the Frenchie online reservation tool and found a reservation for that Friday night. So one door closes and another opens up.

            Anyway, I'm about a week out from my trip, and everything else is about the same. I have a backup reservation at L'absinthe for the Wednesday night in case we decide not to do the jazz dinner at Relais Plaza.

            Any last words of wisdom? I will post upon my return. Thanks.

            1. re: Ian F

              Oh oh, caveat emptor. My last meal there was bad, bad, bad.

              1. re: John Talbott

                Good to know. I'll either go with my Relais Plaza or find another alternative. Thanks

                1. re: Ian F

                  Lots of great new places: Pirouette, Abri, Pierre Sang Boyer and new chefs at Vivant, L'Office & Au Passage; cannot go wrong.

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    I noticed one of your other posts mentioned Crom'Exquis. My wife and I have dined at L'Esperance many times and have very fond memories, so Crom'Exquis is my new Wednesday night reservation. Thank you so much!!

          2. <Also, the Salon du Chocolat is in town while we are there. Worthwhile or not?>

            I've never been to the one in Paris (the original) but the baby sister in New York is/was/has been a mob scene, with extraordinary lines for tastes. It is not my cup of tea. I'd prefer to go buy chocolate bars at Patrick Roger, Take a walk in the park and pig out!. ;)

            2 Replies
            1. re: ChefJune

              It's hard to argue with your experience and logic. These salons are arduous, lines for premium artisans long in time if not in numbers. (Remember the French tradition of giving the current client 100% of one's attention.) I also suffered from chocolate overdose, something incomprehensible before my first salon experience. No, I wasn't ill, but I soon found no joy in another piece of chocolate.

              I would, in fact, spread my chocolate intakes over a course of days, remembering that I will also take home enough for many pleasant remembrances.

              1. re: mangeur

                What really happened was I bought 7 chocolate bars and brought them all home. Gave three away as souvenirs from my trip and over the course of several weeks, rationed the bars out to myself piece by delicious piece. My favorite was the Cote d'Ivoire, which I shall remember well for the stash this time! ;)