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Aug 28, 2013 09:44 AM

Whatever happened to............? The forgotten glories of yesterday.

Today, I ate with an old colleague-friend in the food biz at Le Griffonnier in the 8th; Why? Because at 11 AM he was sitting in the dentist's office with his iPhone battery on life-support and I knew I'd better agree to something or I'd go hungry. So, remembering it positively from the years before I had a blog, took pix and wrote detailed reports of meals, I made a rez with minimal enthusiasm and we went. And you know what? It was great.
So what's my point? It's that, in the rush to go to "the" hottest restaurant in Paris today, whether blessed by the NYT or CH or whatever, and the list is here for all to read: Spring, Septime, Frenchie, Chez L'Ami Jean, Chez Denise, the Paul Bert Three, The Christian Constant Trio and occasional outliers like Les Papilles or Maceo - we contribute to the sense that any other place is less worthy. What's shameful is that folks (arrogant Americans no doubt) make reservations at these hot spots and either never show or cancel at the last minute, which for a place with 20-40 covers, is killing when it's at a level of 10-20%.
So my question here folks, is, why aren't we touting places, like Le Griffonnier, or ..., or ...., or....?
Except for Ptipois and Parigi, who try to move us out of the comfort zone, the lists of "Where I should go" are pretty predictable.
Shouldn't we all spread the news and choices a little wider and move seekers of info on CH out of the hot top 5-10? Or, as they say, should I just shadup?

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  1. "or ..., or ...., or....?"

    Please don't "shadup"; I still occasionally mention some less popular favorites of mine, e.g., Le Gastroquet or Le Court Bouillon for those searching for traditional cuisine but their location in the non-touristy 15th arr. and lack of molecular-smecular, foam over substance, keeps them moderately obscure.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Laidback

      Keep it up Laidback, we need more voices here.

    2. Hey John Talbott: You bring up a great point. The first time we went to Frenchie, it was of the greatest meals. The second time is was very good but not the experience of the first time. The third time was our last time--we won't be going back for a fourth. Instead, next trip we are going to check out some old-school French places (from my Frenchman's youth) that will be serving great dishes like kidneys and other offally great things!

      1. I think you may be preaching to the choir, John. You and I and he and she may enjoy hearing about, what should we call them, hidden treasures? Old languished friends? Neighborhood gems? Yes, Parn has done an extraordinary job of bringing these to light. And we all are the richer for it. But the typical OP wants "the church-of-what's-happening-now" as illustrated by how many start with statements of how they had searched the forum for rooms that fit their needs but wanted something more current. But you can dream. And, again, we'll be the richer for it.

        At the same time, food sites (le fooding, for example) and bloggers have put a premium on what's new, cutting edge, new kid on the block never reviewed before. And, of course, some of these new rooms hold up and become the next season/s' Frenchie until something better comes along.

        1. No! I love recommendations for off the CH beaten track places and am always interested in finding them. It's not really a secret place or anything, but every time I go to Paris I have at least one meal at L'Estaminet on rue Oberkampf. It has a special place in my heart and after all these years I still love the Salade L'Estaminet, a wonderful fatty dinner meal of lettuce, gesiers, lardons and goat cheesy goodness, washed down with some good cheap SW wine, and shared with friends. I feel so at home there. I know that some would turn their "place of the moment" noses up at the has been menu, but I could care less. I would love love love for all Paris regular chowhounders to share such overlooked, neighborhood gems and their special places with people who read this board and care - those who don't can remain happy snagging the reservation at Frenchie 2 months to the day they are in Paris.

          1. John, Maybe I'm selfish or churlish or something, but I'm somewhat reluctant to share my special restaurants with just anybody who comes onto the Chow Hound site.
            It seems to me that many of these people are just trying to collect bragging points. "I went to 87 starred restaurants while in Paris! In three days!" How many did you hit?
            I admire you, mangeur, pargi & others who have the patience to answer the same basic question time after time. I'm not that kind.
            To me one of the joys of visiting new places is the discovery of the local food scene in terms of restaurants, shops & whatnot. One of the joys of returning is to revisit places found and liked last time and to add a few new places to the list.
            I'm hoping (and expecting) that you lot do hold back on places and mainly give advice on the 'fashionable' and famous at the current moment.
            My hats off to you in any case.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Yank

              I'll let you supply whatever negative names you want to call yourself, but I think it is simply wrong to scarf up info from other people and then refuse to share in kind. Nobody says you have to answer posts you don't want to answer, but a food culture that likes to be exclusive is a food culture I hope will die an overdue death tomorrow afternoon, if not sooner. I think it does a lot of damage.

              1. re: barberinibee

                That was the funniest post on CH in decades.

                (The reason I never mentioned Le Griffonnier here is that it's too hit-and-miss. I do not recommend it, especially for people who have only a few days to spend in Paris.)

                1. re: barberinibee

                  Old curmudgeon?
                  What makes you think that I 'scarf up' information from other people without any return? If you'd care to read the majority of my posts on this & other food sites and/or my blog you'd see just how mistaken you are.
                  My point was anti-restaurant collectors. These people seem to only want to be sure they go to the 'hot' places. Those who come onto Chow asking intelligent questions get my full support. In particular those who ask about the customs & morays of the country they're visiting.
                  Note the words "just anybody" in my post. I'll share my special places, but only with those who IMHO show some intelligence and sensitivity in their questions.
                  I'd be surprised if you share everything with anybody who asks. Do you?

                  1. re: Yank

                    I don't mean to be snarky (ok, I suppose I do mean to be snarky), but do you also share with people who don't like eels?

                    1. re: bcc

                      I really must be getting old. Sorry, but I just don't understand your comment.
                      Therefore I can't tell if you're being snarky or not.

                      For what its worth I happen to love eels, but do understand that they're not for everybody.

                      Eel phobia wouldn't necessarily disqualify anyone from sharing, but I suspect that snarkyness might.

                      1. re: Yank

                        O tempora! O mores! Morays are eels.

                        1. re: bcc

                          My apologies. Really getting old & could never spell to begin with.
                          Where is my intelligent spell checker when I need it?

                          mores the pity!

                          1. re: Yank

                            The other day some CNN idiot was droning on about O TemPUra, o mores. Now it makes sense.

                        2. re: Yank

                          I think that bcc was referring to your mention of morays...eels instead of mores...societal customs.

                        3. re: bcc

                          The important thing in sharing is to make clear what options are available. Like, if the restaurant only serves eel or meat or small plates or no choice, readers need to know.

                    2. re: Yank

                      You went to 87 starred restaurants? I find that difficult to believe

                      1. re: adrian

                        There's a Latin phrase that I can't quite remember; something like:

                        'reductum ad absurdem'

                        I haven't counted, but possibly over the course of many years I've been to restaurants that collectively have 87 stars.