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I need your help again for a varied menu near the Lutetia. Yikes! This one is tough!

enofile Oct 2, 2013 08:04 PM

I just find out that a couple we haven't seen for years is going to be in Paris the last couple days of our trip. They are a rather patrician couple living the retired life in Carmel, California. Unfortunately, the husband has acquired a myriad of food allergies that lead to excruciating migraines. This might be their last trip to France, which is quite sad considering how much great food and wine we consumed in our younger years. They are staying at the Lutetia and we will be meeting them after we arrive from Lyon at 21:00. Thus, it would be great to find suitable dining within 20 to 30 minutes of the Lutetia. Initially, I suggested La Table d'Aki, but with a set menu in the evening, that wouldn't work with the changes involved due to his food allergies. I need a place that is comfortable, not loud or trendy, with good, but not heavy food, with the flexibility to alter recipes to meet our friend's needs. I know this is "Mission Impossible," but if the ChowHound Parisian cartel can't do it, no one can. Thanks again. ENOFILE

  1. Jake Dear Oct 2, 2013 09:01 PM

    Well, until you get better responses, here is a quick stab from our experience two weeks ago: Les Climats. At least three choices per course. About 20 minutes walk toward the river, on rue de Lille near du Bac. And a great Bourgogne list. (Thanks to John T, Parn, and mangeur for this rec.) Or, similar distance, Le 122, of that address on rue de Grenelle.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Jake Dear
      John Talbott Oct 3, 2013 12:43 AM

      I would wholeheartedly endorse both these.

      1. re: John Talbott
        enofile Oct 3, 2013 06:05 AM

        In addition to Les Climats and Le 122, what do you think of the following:
        La Cigale Récamier
        La Marlotte
        Les Botanistes

        Thanks much

      2. re: Jake Dear
        Parnassien Oct 3, 2013 02:03 AM

        And a third hearty endorsement of both. On balance, Les Climats is probably the better choice in this case... more comfortable and more choice. I'd advise your friend to use the Lutetia's concierge to explain the exact allergies and to verify that adjustments can be made if necessary.

        1. re: Parnassien
          enofile Oct 3, 2013 05:20 AM

          Thanks my Chowhound advisors. This one has me verklempt!

          My friend needs a kitchen that can handle, " Turbot is fine, but I can't have onions in the sauce and please be sure no cream is in the potatoes Aligot. If the dessert has berries, the berries need to be red, not black.".
          He doesn't mean to cause upheaval, but his migraines control his very being. I have to be very careful in my dining choice. In addition, noise and casual, haphazard service annoys his sensibilities. My friend is incensed when servers pick up plates of diners who are finished before every one else at the table is done with their plate. He has a strong sense of propriety and will stand by what is correct and will combat what is incorrect. Fortunately, his values are spot on.
          Thus, good food, proper service, and a flexibile kitchen that is willing and capable of meeting his needs. THANK YOU!

          1. re: enofile
            John Talbott Oct 3, 2013 08:46 AM

            Enofile, while i don't know you, as the resident grouchy psychiatrist here I think you need new friends.

            But getting serious about the other choices:
            La Cigale Récamier; great if they like souflees
            OUDINO - nevahheardofid
            La Marlotte - bad last meal after they treated my wonderful 3 yo grand-daughter wonderfully to salami, mousse and ice cream.
            Auguste - not on my hit list
            Les Botanistes - ditto
            Florimond - eons ago
            Toyo - their palate can do Japanese food?

            1. re: John Talbott
              enofile Oct 3, 2013 09:45 AM

              John, These days I take whatever friendship comes my way. Getting old is difficult in many ways. One of the hardest things is making new friends. It was so damn easy in my youth - sports, college, jobs, clubs etc.

              1. re: enofile
                John Talbott Oct 3, 2013 12:33 PM

                Actually, since I moved here, I've found making friends with 40-50 yo's who want to eat, to be surprisingly easy.

            2. re: enofile
              Parnassien Oct 3, 2013 12:42 PM

              I really don't think there's much that we can do other than suggest restaurants with good food. No one can guarantee the sort of finicky adjustments and service that you need. It's up to you or, better, the Lutetia's concierge to communicate with the resto to make sure you get what you want on the day. You might end up just eating at one of the Lutetia' restaurants... the main Michelin-starred restaurant Le Paris is pricey and the cuisine is innovative trad but the room is sedate and formal and the service is excellent.

              BTW, you should warn the waiter when you sit down about the table-clearing commandment. The key word in French is "débarrasser"/ to clear. Another key word is "grincheux"/ crotchety (although I'd probably use "bougon" to describe your friend).

              1. re: Parnassien
                enofile Oct 3, 2013 02:54 PM

                I'm sorry. I may have been unfair. He just knows proper etiquette and has expectations that go beyond what I even know. I respect his knowledge and that he demands from others what is actually correct, rather then settling for what is given him. Most of us tend to follow rather then lead.
                With that said, I have sent him menus from Les Climats, Le 122, Oudino, and Florimond. I was surprised to get such a negative response about Auguste, which Alec Lobrano touts very highly. Thanks again for the help and provocative insight.

                1. re: enofile
                  mangeur Oct 3, 2013 03:32 PM

                  I would heed Parnassien carefully. While I realize that you feel that you've overstated your friend's demanding nature, that he really just wants things done correctly, I would toss this entire ball of bees into the Lutetia concierge's lap.

                  Your friend picked the hotel, so he can't complain too much about the arrangements made by its most able concierge. And the concierge, by now, probably has a handle on the kinds of service your friend requires. Certainly, I would use him to correspond with the kitchen regarding your friend's allergies.

                  In all events, have a lovely evening and bon appétit.

              2. re: enofile
                PhilD Oct 3, 2013 03:51 PM

                With my friends who have challenging eating requirement a I tend to leave it to them to choose and ensure the food that meets their needs.

                If I am choosing the restaurant I will avoid the obvious like taking a vegetarian to a steak place or a chilli-phobe to Thai. But I find no matter how hard I try I always find I missed something because they never give you the full facts.

                If things like onion, or cream or the colour of berries cause issues surely you friend can navigate a menu to avoid such dishes or not eat them if they arrive on the plate - I pick off walnuts as I am allergic to them (often applied as a unannounced garnish in France).

                You are probably best to choose a high end classic rather than a on-trend modern place. Benoit for example is probably 10 mins by cab, or maybe Gaya which can do simple dishes. Going more classic and less trendy/modern/new will also probably negate the un-classic service issues like clearing plates early i.e Gaya has staff who rotate through Gagnaire's flagship for training.

                1. re: PhilD
                  Mike C. Miller Oct 12, 2013 11:57 PM

                  A very wise choice! Let him make the arrangements. To do otherwise sounds like a fool's errand.

          2. Laidback Oct 4, 2013 08:29 AM

            Since your friend is staying at the Lutetia why not choose one of their restaurants? The service and cuisine is "correct" and I feel they would certainly make a reasonable attempt to take care of a regular client.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Laidback
              enofile Oct 4, 2013 08:44 AM

              Thanks, but I have booked Le 122 for dinner. The problem with the Lutetia stems from Le Paris being one of my favorite Parisian restaurants and Philippe Renard a favored chef. However, after years of patronizing his restaurant, I feel he has been off his game in the past few years and we have left disappointed and fantastic memories were flittered away.

            2. Parigi Oct 13, 2013 02:27 AM

              Omg, you're a saint.
              I can't recommend any of my favorites, because, forgive me, I don't want my fave establishments to blackball me afterwards.
              Maybe Le Grand Véfour, which has delivered an unflappable perfect service when faced with some weird - I mean weird - requests by some of my dining companions… Still, the waitstaff who continues to smile through your friend's Sturm und Drang may spit in his plates in the kitchen. I so would.
              And lastly, you're a saint. Do get some new friends. There has to be other saints like you.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Parigi
                PhilD Oct 13, 2013 05:51 PM

                It will be interesting to see the report - by my reckoning they have now completed their Paris trip.

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