Which of these restaurants would you pick?
Bonjour tout le monde,
I'm an American living in Brittany right now and I'm going to spend a week in Paris (two weeks from now) with another friend form the states. We are both foodies from Austin, both prefer a more lively atmosphere to stuffy, classic fine dining, and would both always pick a perfectly executed simple meal over something trendy.
We rented an apartment and are most excited about markets and cooking in, but I'd still like to line up two, or maybe three, great meals out.
Perhaps, one more traditional French and then one a bit more experimental and fun? These are the places I've come up with based on reviews/ chowhound boards.
If you, chow hounders, had to pick two (or maybe three) which would you feel are essential?
Chez Georges (rue du mail)
Chez L'ami Jean
Frenchie (Think we might not be able to get a reservation, though)
Merci beaucoup en avance!
They are very different animals. Hard to compare.
Le Baratin is a wine bar with food, but the best part, for me, is still the wine. I find the food minor.
Pantruche is a restaurant. It can be quite good but is often uneven.
Just for food comparison, I'd go with Pantruche.
For the overall sympathique quotient, I'd go for Le Bartatin, for a pre-dinner drink.
Chez Georges is good but very old-time traditional and definitely not lively.
Baratin is small but the food and wine are very good.
Papilles is a good choice for "perfectly executed simple."
I would also suggest you consider Dans les Landes. Lively, excellent food and wine and open every day.
Having spent time in Austin and just returning from Paris, of your list I would recommend Chez L'ami Jean as well as the Frenchie wine bar (which across the street from the restaurant.) Both places are very lively and far from stuffy, but with very well executed food.
We did the 8 course tasting menu at CLJ that started with the house terrine of pate, a soup with root vegetables, sea trout crudo with poached egg, braised veal and mushroom sandwich, cod with potato and squid ink, roasted /sous vide pork with potato puree (two different cuts that was my fav dish), another interesting soup that was more of a palate cleanser, spanish cheese w/ cherry compote, the famous rice pudding (more like a vanilla risotto made with condensed milk and caramel), and a trio of small deserts. Our table mates went ala carte and their meals looked incredible. They got the roaster foie gras for two and their eyes were rolling back in their heads the whole meal.
The Frenchie wine bar was a real find - it kinda has a SoHo feel with exposed brick and a very hip atmosphere. As much as I wanted to not like it (don't ask me why), my wife and I agreed it was one of our fav restaurants we ate at. They don't take reservations, but it is easy to score a table before 8:30pm or so - otherwise standing room only. The food here is a bit more polished/refined than CLJ. Unlike the restaurant, the menu is not fixed at the wine bar and everything we has was excellent. The chef stooped by and I asked for some recommendations and he didn't steer us wrong. We had foie gras topped with a fig gelee (the dish had more of a pudding texture), burrata with mint pesto, a cheese plate that was surprisingly all English with fig compote and pickled cherries, cornmeal dusted sweetbreads with radishes and tart apples, and a goat cheese tortellini with sage, butter, and grated almond biscotti (this was Babbo good). Also had excellent wines by the glass and where liberal with the samples.
The other place not on your list I would also highly recommend is L'Avant Comptoir. It is basically a small standing room only counter that dishes up tapas style small plates with a heavy emphasis on all things pork. I really enjoyed their blood sausage macarons, porcini mushrooms ala plancha with Iberian ham and parmigiano reggiano, and an ethereal dish of caramelized pork belly bites.
Hope this helps