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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,, 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

                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:


                    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.

                      1. Trip report

                        Again, a big thank you to all of you. I ate very well in Paris (not so well in Alsace, but that had a lot to do with my meals being included in the price of my hiking package I hope), in large part because of your help.

                        First night was Pirouette. A friend took the train over from London to join me. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal. I did not write down what she had, so she can jump in and add if she'd like, although I think she's starting a vacation today. We started with a glass of bubbly each and then got a very nice bottle of Pomerol. I should mention here that I do not speak French so my friend, who is fluent, did most of the talking with the waitress (in the other two restaurants this wasn't even a slight issue, everyone spoke English, despite me trying to do my best with my very very limited French). There wasn't a lot for me to choose from among the starters because of my not eating red meat. Two of them came with lard, but the waitress suggested that this could be left off. So, agreeing to that, I got the slow cooked egg with fried onions and asked that it be runny. She agreed, but I guess that fact that it is slow cooked makes it impossible for the egg to be truly runny. It was still very tasty, and the fried onions made it. My main was duck and fois gras over polenta. Funnily enough I had just been mentioning to my friend that I was craving polenta (nothing vaguely like it seen in Alsace) and I love duck, so this was an easy choice and it was every bit as wonderful as I wanted it to be. It was sort of like a skewer with one piece of duck and then the gras, and then the duck, etc. My only thought was that the duck was a bit more cooked than I like it. Still and all, wonderful. Dessert was some sort of mango puree with coconut cream and what we call pop-rocks in the US - little candies that explode in your mouth as you eat them. This was SO much fun to eat and absolutely delicious. I am not huge on desserts, but this made me smile and I loved it.

                        The next night was Chez Dumonet and I was on my own. I walked in and was immediately led to the back table right between the bathrooms and the kitchen. But what do I care? I had the best view of the house. I am immediately brought a glass of white wine; I have no idea what it was, but it was fine, nothing special. Everyone in the room is speaking English. I start to get nervous. I ask for the wine list and see that it is basically all bottles. Hmmm. But then I order my meal and ask about the wine and the waiter said "I will bring you a white burgundy with the salmon fume, and a red bourdeaux with your duck confit." And everything from then on was fantastic. Those wines were wonderful, the food was wonderful, the atmosphere was wonderful. The skin on the duck confit was the best I've ever had - crispy, tasty; the duck itself was also very good, although not quite as falling off the bone as it could have been, but still, very very good. The wine pours were huge (I, um, had a second of the red and felt it a bit the next morning ...). I had no room for dessert and didn't miss it at all. It was a great night, I loved the place and the insanity of it, and can't wait to take my husband.

                        The last night was at Metropolitain. This was a lovely meal, but very similar to the nicer restaurants in my area so it didn't feel especially Parisian to me (but I asked for a great meal, and that I got). I started with a cucumber gazpacho with salmon tartar sprinkled with coriander seeds. Nice bright flavors. This was another place that made it difficult for someone who doesn't eat red meat. It was suggested that I get the risotto of fregula with mushrooms and bacon and just have them leave off the bacon, which I did. Very nicely done; I've made similar at home and always like it. This meal was much lighter (I'll say!) than the meal the night before, so I went ahead and ordered dessert. I got a lemon "tart" (actually on a cookie/biscuit) with caramel sauce. This was a definite star for me, I absolutely loved the lemony bite with the sweetness of the caramel. And this was only about 3 blocks from my hotel so I happily toddled home feeling not too stuffed, just very satisfied.

                        thanks again everyone. I hope to be back soon.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: LulusMom

                          "First night was Pirouette. A friend took the train over from London to join me. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal."
                          In the spirit of disclosure or not hiding our secrets, I heard a negative report today of Pirouette, a place I've loved and will go to again in 2 weeks. But a heads-up on slow service, not as great food as these guys had Time #1 with us, and general disappointment. Not me, mind you, them, but I trust them, So......... since this seems to be becoming the next Frenchie, Spring, Septime, Neva, etc etc that one cannot get into - beware.

                          1. re: John Talbott

                            I will say that our service seemed very good the night we were there. They had, however, run out of the first two bottles of wine I wanted, but that turned out to be a happy accident. Obviously can't compare the food to what you have had there in the past.

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              Oh and I forgot one thing my friends mentioned. They were seated in the balcony area and said the sound was deafenig versus Time #1 when we sat downstairs (RDC).

                          2. re: LulusMom

                            I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Metropolitain. Compared to my neighborhood, it seemed very Parisian. :-) I think I had that same lemon dessert as you did.

                            1. re: zuriga1

                              That lemon dessert was *incredible.* I think maybe the fact that i'd been to Chez dumonet the night before would have made anything else seem less Parisian!