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I've got 3 dinners in Paris

I've narrowed it down after having studied the board for a couple of months, but am still open to other suggestions. I'd love any help or advice or information, nudges, etc. Here is what I need to work around: I do not eat red meat (I'm perfectly happy with duck, chicken, all fowl and fish but no mammal). I don't care about the price but I also do not want to be sitting in a stuffy and sacred feeling room, I'd like some bustle and liveliness. And, of course, I would like the best food possible within those parameters. Easy accessibility is helpful as I'll be on my own and don't want to walk 20 minutes to the nearest metro after many happy glasses of wine. So, right now my thoughts are: Metropolitain, Pirouette, Atao, L'Ilot and possibly Josephine Chez Dumonet (how would this one work out with the no-red meat thing?). Frenchie seems fairly unloved on this board but I can't help but be somewhat interested.

Again, any thoughts, advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you/merci in advance.

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  1. You won't go wrong with Métropolitain. We enjoyed our dinner there very much - solid cooking and many choices other than red meat. From what I remember, it's not a long walk to the St. Paul Métro stop. We walked back to Bastille and it didn't take us more than 20 minutes or so.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zuriga1

      Great, that is at the top of my list. I remember that you enjoyed your meal there (I think you mentioned scallop soup, which sounds very good). Thanks.

    2. I haven't eaten ant any of them. That being said I have a reservation in May at Piroutte. I thought the menu looked interesting and the wine list varied and not too $ with some interesting wines that I've never tried.

      3 Replies
      1. re: negirl2

        I thought it looked interesting too, and John Talbott mentioned that it was a fun and bustling place. Kind of fun making these decisions, isn't it?

        1. re: LulusMom

          Pirouette was one of our favorite finds last October. Great modern space, relaxed and near perfect service, really good food and a value for the price, which to me always earns extra points. I think it would be a good counter to the more traditional and as Mr JT said classic Chez Josephine. My mom had an awesome fish dish there so you don't have to worry about the no red meat thing.

          1. re: sistereurope

            Thanks for the reports, I appreciate it. Here in the southern US they often serve fish ... but covered in bacon. The concept of not eating pig is beyond their comprehension sometimes.

            I guess i've managed to get rid of one on my list. Step in the right direction!

      2. "Metropolitain, Pirouette, Atao, L'Ilot and possibly Josephine Chez Dumonet"
        Love all but Metropolitan in the 4th (the one in the 16th is far better). Remember that L'ilot is essentially a raw bar with high tables and stools. Kinda like the Ecume st Honore. Pirouette and Atao first rate, Josephine etc classic must be done once.

        22 Replies
        1. re: John Talbott

          OK, I may take L'ilot out of the running then. I can do raw bar here at home. Two questions, if you don't mind: how would Josephine be for a non-red meat eater like me? I've heard they give huge portions and it sounds very meaty but I also have to say somewhat enticing. I love foie gras and duck. And can you tell me what it is about Metropolitain that makes you not love it? Thanks so much for your help.

          1. re: LulusMom

            My review Oct 26, 2011 follows:
            3.5 Metropolitan, 8, rue de Jouy in the 4th, 09.81.20.37.38, closed weekends, has a 3-course "menu" for 22 E and interesting-sounding items; it's chef'd by a close runner up on Top Chef who was 23 when he competed in it.
            The wine list and one wall are decorated in a Metro-type way which is really cute.
            I went with two blogger-buddies and think their take on things was probably more positive than mine, since I was in a dreadful funk made worse by not being able to hear them or the waitress in part because of the Saturne-level din. One of us had the maki de salmon fume aux legumes croquants, which were better than OK, but two of us had the creme brulee of girolles - really a girolle mousse with a layer of carmelized sugar atop - which my side mate said was too much of one texture and I said was too much period.
            The one of us having the "menu' had a blindingly white breast of chicken on a schmear of mashies, another had (the winner by me) a fricassee of mussels and girolles and cleverly carved piece of potato and I had duck two ways with a poached fig that I could not finish.
            The ladies were kind enough to share their desserts with me - a chocolate moussy-thing on a praline crust with a iced ball of sweet barbe de papa and a tiramisu with Nutella and banana - the latter with that same texture issue.
            Our bill, complicated, but with 1/2 a bottle of wine for me and two coffees but no bottled water it was 97 E, thus 64 E a couple.

            1. re: John Talbott

              Thanks John. I laughed out loud at "I said too much period." Could it have been your blue funk that caused you to not be as in love with it as the others? Or that textural thing?

              1. re: LulusMom

                Who knows? Funk has passed but the memory lingers on. There are so many other better places that, funk or no, deliver.
                Right now though for three dinners - i'd go with
                8.5 Jean-Louis Nomicos
                8.0 110 Taillevent
                Sergent Recuiter (if your rich Auntie just died)
                and as insurance:
                7.5 Petit Champarret
                Premices
                Vivant

                1. re: John Talbott

                  I know that feeling (the funk being gone but remembering not loving a place). And here I was thrilled about the idea of Metropolitain.
                  You are confusing me by adding new names ... (it is very early in the morning here).

              2. re: John Talbott

                (Rushing to defence of Métropolitain) I'm gobsmacked by JT's reaction to Métropolitain. It's been one of my favourites almost since it opened, none of my quick-to-complain French pals seems to have ever been disappointed there, and some other respected chowhounders have confirmed its excellence. I can see how it might get uncomfortably noisy because of the tiled walls but (in my 6 or 7 dinners or lunches there) have never really experienced noise oppression...or anything less than very good on the menu. JT's reviews are usually spot on: Indeed I can only think of 4 or 5 other places where our experiences were so bewilderingly contradictory.

                1. re: Parnassien

                  Thanks for your input Parnassien. I was sort of surprised myself by JT's dismissal of Metropolitain. Right now I'm thinking I've narrowed it to Metropolitain (apologies to JT), Pirouette and Josephine Chez D. but I'm still open to more opinions from those in the know. I hope to start making reservations in the next day or two.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    The good doctor, JT, can be terribly wrong, as has been shown by his first takes of Ze, Pantruche and Chez L'AJ where his first meals were dismissed but where he repented and recanted. He is now in the process of reexamining Caius, Le Grand 8 and mayhaps Metropolitan. Jesse Jackson said it best "the lord is not done with me yet."

                    1. re: John Talbott

                      I admire your modesty! I think I will go ahead and start booking (if it isn't too early - dinners are for the second half of May). Thanks to everyone for the help and hand holding.

                  2. re: Parnassien

                    None of the dishes that JT mentioned were on the menu the night we were there last month. I have a feeling the menu changes very often, although I could be wrong having only been there one time. We had no problem with noise, but we were towards the back where it wasn't so crowded.

                    1. re: zuriga1

                      Thanks Zuriga. Since I'll be dining solo the noise level really shouldnt' matter. Me and my book and some wine ... happy.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I don't think you'll want to read a book in a Paris restaurant. Solo diners are generally treated like royalty, and there is too much to observe to stick one's nose in a book. You won't be sitting behind the kitchen door. ;)

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          Gotcha. But it never hurts to have one along. I always bring a book and a pile of postcards (the post many wine written ones get some funny comments from my friends) just so I feel that I'm not intruding on the people right next to me. But the main point is that if you are dining solo the noise level doesn't really matter much, right?

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            " I always bring a book"
                            Me too, although since it's lunch I'm still finishing the AM's Figaro. I've noticed just picking it up brings the waitstaff to attention and onto the next course.

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              Have you booked your reservations yet? I'll need full reports for an upcoming trip.

                              1. re: veganhater

                                I've booked two of them - tried to book Josephine "Chez Dumonet" today but it turns out they're closed on Saturdays (odd by American standards). But I've got Pirouette and Metropolitain. Woohoo!!!

                                You headed to Paris soon?

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  In July my wife and daughter are going for a week. They're staying in the Marais and I'm trying to make sure they eat well. The thought of them settling for a tourist trap restaurant out of convenience has gotten a bee in my bonnet. I keep thinking of that scene in lampoons European vacation. Was happy to see someone I can trust has already done some legwork for me. Keep me posted

                                  1. re: veganhater

                                    Flattering to hear you trust me! I definitely understand about not wanting them to just eat where it is easy to do so. My Dad went a couple of years ago and did the same and then I hear "what is the big deal about French food?" Well, if all you eat is soup at the cheap place on the corner, not much. I'll be sure to report on my meals.

                    2. re: John Talbott

                      So i'm a bit confused now - the Metropolitan mentioned here lately, is the one on 4th or the "le" at 16 ? Or both are pretty much the same level ?

                      1. re: oferl

                        It is confusing, like Ray's Original Pizza.
                        The CH world loves the one in the 4th; me that in the 16th. You can look it up - as Casey Stengal said.

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          Thanks :-) Maybe something changed in the 4th from 2011, in kitchen staff or so, but i guess you would have known about it..

                        2. re: oferl

                          I, for one, was talking about the one in the 4th... LulusMom was too. We enjoyed the food a lot.

                  3. Have you checked out Kei? Particularly for lunch, it's a bargain. I had wonderful fish there. I predicted a Michelin star and it now has one. Link to my post from 2011:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/811914

                    1. A quick thank you to all who helped me choose where to go. All three meals were very good. We're in the midst of a 3 day weekend here in the US (mine complete with a ballet recital for Lulu), but I promise to come back and report on my meals.