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Apr 22, 2014 07:42 PM

Le Mary Celeste & Le Richer - Is Paris Emulating Brooklyn Just A Wee Bit?

I know this has come up in a few threads, but I'm wondering how people feel about the alleged "Brooklynization" of Paris as it relates to its food and restaurant scene.

I was fortunate enough to drink (and have a few oysters) at Le Mary Celeste, as well as to have dinner at Le Richer, both of which were wonderful in their own way. They are much different, in my opinion, than places we went to on our first trip to Paris a dozen or so years ago.

And, I blogged about them...


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  1. Given the popularity of Balthazar and establishments of its ilk has not the traffic been the other way around?

    But on a more serious point I think its wrong to use the term "Brooklynizatiuon" as NYC or even the US doesn't can't really be claimed to be the one and only influence on the restaurant scene in any city let alone Paris.

    Food is very very international these days, and looking at the threads on Paris there are as many (if not many more) Japanese chefs bring their influence to food in the city as there are those from the US.

    Even Daniel Rose from the famed Spring may be a son of Illinois but he did most of his training in French/Belgium kitchens (Institut Bocuse, Bruneau, and Le Meurice) so its a long bow to focus on his american roots. Then there is the chef de jour - James Henry - who is Australian, plus the (alleged) British F&C invasion, or the Spanish chefs like Jose Manuel Miguel Rodriguez at Goust.

    So in summary what we are seeing is what we see in all world cities. Its a dynamic restaurant scene that is taking influences from lots and lots of different cities. It is melding these influences wit great local product and serving very discerning diners interesting food.

    I think Paris has always done this to a greater or lessor extent, France/Paris is not a food museum stuck in the past, but maybe the rate of change and innovation has kicked up a bit driven, as much by the broadening of horizons through travel and the internet, as it has by the financial pressures the traditional old school places face.

    1. While not too 'hip' on this subject, when at Terroir Parisien Bourse a few weeks ago, l said to my friends l feel like l am in New York, perhaps a part of the trend ?

      And many times here in Paris l would welcome a visit to Balthazar with their panier, their very old muscadets with oysters, and their special treatment of me.

      1. According to the blog, so the answer to the question is, in a word, no, right ?

        I am not aware of a general global complaint that Paris is becoming Brooklynized, so I didn't even know that the question needed to be answered.

        I wonder: is this mysterious issue of brooklynization spefically and only about a decor - backed up by a tattooed staff?
        Do the people in Brooklyn complain that Brooklyn was becoming Barcelonaized or Berlinized ?

        A Richer kind of décor, backed up by a tattooed staff, indeed does not conform to the franchouillard concept that sells, even to VVIPs, as in the case of La Fontaine de Mars and L'Ami Louis.
        Would La Fontaine de Mars be considered Paris enough ? Because for us it's just a décor, in fact, a near cliché décor.

        On the other hand, is Dans Les Landes then totally Brooklyn ? I frankly did not notice if the décor was Brooklyn or Tokyo. or Sacramento California. I go there to eat (very well).

        6 Replies
        1. re: Parigi

          In other words: once it has a modern, slightly country design, and is devoid of checkered tablecloths or "lacy curtains", as one famous NY journalist wrote, it can't be French, it has to be Brooklyn. Isn't reality a bit broader than that?

          With Dans les Landes, the reference is clearly Basco-Landais woodwork interiors. With Terroir Parisien, the Parisian brasserie in a 19th-century structure - duh.

          1. re: Ptipois

            And no one talks about Brooklyn first imitating Tokyo Barcelona Berlin. Brooklyn came first, - had to, - in everything.

            1. re: Parigi

              Another bulls-eye for Parigi and Ptipois.

              My time frame is a bit shorter than some others but I do recall that the "Brooklyn" effect was well under way in Berlin in the early '90s. Whether borrowed or home-grown, there was also a very similar bobo/ hip culture brewing at the same time in some parts of Paris like the Butte aux Cailles in the 13th and Oberkampf in the 11th as well as in London (i.e. Shoreditch and Hoxton).

              Since the same styles were not very evident in NYC until a decade later, maybe we should call it Berlinification.

            2. re: Ptipois

              Duh yourself, was referring to the ways table are set, no ability to order other than a la carte and the food, while very good, seems almost americanized at a high level,
              And especially the service, not a bad thing, just what l noticed.
              If you do not agree, fine, but to infer my stupidity again not fine.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                No offence to your intelligence, just the expression of my astonishment, for I don't see anything americanized in this brasserie. Neither in the food nor in anything else.

                The à la carte choice, the way the tables are set, the service, even the food?

                Terroir Parisien is the modernized form of an age-old Paris brasserie tradition, no American reference there. And I can't see why there should be.

          2. Many of these restaurants and bars that you describe are started and run by people who have never set foot in Brooklyn. Restaurants in Brooklyn remind me in no way of those of Paris.

            There are many places in the world, including France, where trends are started and styles are put to trial. There is a gigantic pool of inspiration to pick from, and the influences may be as unexpected as Catalan modernism or Thai contemporary design. Funny, also, nobody ever mentions Australia which is IMO the most significant source of hip restaurant deco and plating.

            And sometimes decors are born in some designers' heads without any special reference aside from the substrate of various capital cities they've visited.
            Or even of things that have nothing to do with capital cities.

            Funny, this conception that NYC and Brooklyn should be the center of the world in way of trendsetting. I haven't noticed that was the case in Paris. There were rough wood tables in Paris long before Park Slope even existed as a gentrified area and even while my ex-husband and I were hunting for apartments in Brooklyn and were told everywhere that if we tried Fort Greene, we might be shot (early 80s).

            Funny also that this "It's in Paris but looks like NYC" syndrome is always seen in people who live in NYC. You don't usually see it in people who live in Chicago, Sydney or Singapore.

            Suffice it to mention Leni Chevasson who, in the late 1970s, at L'Entrepôt (rue Francis-de-Pressensé), opened her néo-bouchon lyonnais cum Paris garage loft, with coarse wood tables d'hôte, revolutionary (at the time) open kitchen and some waitresses with their hair tied in a bun with a teaspoon, and could arguably be defined as the girl who invented the Brooklyn restaurant (I'm only teasing but the idea is no more absurd than believing that everything that looks rough and hipsterish is Brooklyn-inspired).

            43 Replies
            1. re: Ptipois

              Of course, I'm exaggerating and extrapolating just a wee bit, and wanted to see who would challenge my lunacy.

              However...is anyone going to disagree that there has been an explosion of craft cocktail places, coffee shops, no-reservation places, food trucks, etc.?

              And yes, I realize that it all didn't start in Brooklyn. If it did, you'd be seeing a lot more pickles.

              1. re: mitchleeny

                "However...is anyone going to disagree that there has been an explosion of craft cocktail places, coffee shops, no-reservation places, food trucks, etc.?"

                Not likely (to disagree).

                "And yes, I realize that it all didn't start in Brooklyn. If it did, you'd be seeing a lot more pickles."


                1. re: mitchleeny

                  "an explosion of craft cocktail places, coffee shops, no-reservation places, food truck"

                  I have been noticing this shameless Singaporeanization too. What's up with that.
                  And those damned coffee shops all over the world. Obvious Nakhon Ratchasima wannabes.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    I know it's difficult to understand, but I'm using Brooklyn as a metaphor for the globalization of basically everything.

                    However, please do let me know of all those craft cocktail places that you've been to in Singapore - I want to add them to my bucket list.

                    1. re: mitchleeny

                      "I know it's difficult to understand, but I'm using Brooklyn as a metaphor for the globalization of basically everything."

                      That is precisely what is difficult to understand. Why should Brooklyn be a metaphor of that?

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        It's a well-worn joke, amongst food board posters here in NY, that everything hip originates in Brooklyn.

                        Especially pickles.

                        1. re: Ptipois

                          Ptipois: "That is precisely what is difficult to understand. Why should Brooklyn be a metaphor of that?"

                          Answer: Because he doesn't live here in Brooklyn but really, really wants to. (sorry Mitch… just had to).

                        2. re: mitchleeny

                          Me too, as I'm in Singapore this week.
                          I was just happy to have sashimi of some standard to suppliment a steady diet of hawkers center meals.

                      2. re: mitchleeny

                        Provocative, maybe. Provincial, definitely.

                        1. re: shakti2

                          It's just those pesky Brooklynites . . . thinking that they're the center of the Universe! (Said tongue in cheek, as I have four grandparents who all settled in Brooklyn as immigrants, well before any sort of gentrification was in the air -- although my mother tells me that there were great Kosher butcher shops back then with all sorts of cuts of meat that you don't see today -- perhaps a foreshadowing of Bones?)

                          1. re: bauskern

                            Can't say I get Bones. My companions ended up supplementing their dinner with roast-pork sandwiches from the bar the last time I was there, because so much of the fixed menu was miss rather than hit.

                        2. re: mitchleeny

                          No disagreement about the changes in some parts of the dining scene. But, maybe not as new as perceived.

                          No reservation isn't that new, places like Le Comptoir, Coccottes and Cafe Constant have done it for years and the whilst there are a few new ones it's far from ubiquitous.

                          Food trucks (e.g. Rotisseries) are a stalwart of all French markets, the mobile pizza van has toured villages for ages, so whilst there maybe the odd expat with a burger van blazing a trail it's not really that new.

                          Cocktails may have become hip, but in France haven't they always been craft so no need to call them by a different name? (In the US I think you call them "craft" as the masses think any drink before dinner is "a cocktail").

                          Now I will give you coffee is getting far better, although bars and cafés selling coffee are not new, but is coffee a Brooklyn thing - I thought that was really west coast....?

                          1. re: PhilD

                            "but is coffee a Brooklyn thing"?
                            And no reservation ? And cocktails ?
                            What about the iconic hotels in NY designed by Starck and Andrée Putman & co ? The French brooklynized Manhattan !

                        3. re: Ptipois

                          <Many of these restaurants and bars that you describe are started and run by people who have never set foot in Brooklyn. Restaurants in Brooklyn remind me in no way of those of Paris.>

                          Thank you, pti! I'm not "getting" the analogy to Brooklyn at all! (And I live here in New York.) It's a borough of New York (if it were a separate city, it would be the 5th largest in the US). Many neighborhoods are being gentrified, which means more restaurants are opening there. Many chefs are moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn due to the ever increasing (already exorbitant) rents in Manhattan. so of course there's a burgeoning restaurant scene in Brooklyn.

                          but WHAT does that have to do with Paris? Nothing that I can see...

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              Warning… long post ahead.

                              Without going too far in defending "mitchleeny" (a friend of mine btw) for starting this awful topic, I think that he's being taken too literally about Paris (& other places around the world) imitating or evolving from Brooklyn trends. I think what he was going for in asking whether anyone had noticed a change in Paris' food culture is whether there is now a proliferation of very trendy, crafty, "artisan"-y places opening around the city, serving a range of items from seriously thought out and inventive cocktails to small batch hand brined pickles, as opposed to classical/traditional tablecloth formal dining places. I don't think he meant anything much different than the "globalization" concept that others use to describe this phenomenon but, as NY'ers, this has been characterized (or derided, depending on your outlook) as "Brooklynization" and, since we take "we are the world" seriously around here, we just assume you've all titled it the same way :-).

                              Of course, not sharing the opinion that this type of food "culture" is "all good", I wouldn't be so quick to claim it as the world's and not just blame Brooklyn. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending upon one's opinion of the resulting "product"), some of this is part of Brooklyn being a recent outpost of a "colonization" of no doubt sincere young 'uns (& some not so young). They, alongside those moving to Brooklyn for reasons that ChefJune has stated (but in very large numbers around some areas), have set up shop and developed a thriving "foodie" (god help us) vibe, believing that they have invented everything or have created the perfect artisinal thing (the pickle mitch mentioned). They are a precious lot & one can now go to street markets and retail shops to buy handcrafted mayo or ethnic foods (siracha, for example) made by kids who worship these items and think that they should be idolized themselves for studying the craft (usually for a year or so), then creating the perfect example of that thing. Of course, you can see my bent on this. Yes, I'm very happy to have more local access to better restaurants, bars, etc.), but a part of me wishes they'd all just be a little more humble about it all.

                              As an aside: is it too much to ask for you all to participate in the NY boards? It's so much livelier here and refreshing to hear opinions on things a little broader than what's on Top Chef.

                              1. re: Steve R

                                "is it too much to ask for you all to participate in the NY boards?"

                                    1. re: Steve R

                                      It's Saturday morning, raining in Paris. O hell.
                                      I just did my duty and looked up the Manhattan board and loved this thread.

                                      I wish our board could come up with (maybe copy and adapt) such a detailed and useful list of questions for first-timers with non-specific requests.
                                      (But as hard as the Manhattan board members try, it seems it is against some people's religion to be specific.


                                      Here is the magnum opus answer from Ms Kathryn:

                                      Here's what I've written for other visitors & it may help you.

                                      Where are you coming from?

                                      When are you coming? How long are you here? How many meals do you have available?

                                      We don't want to recommend food that you might do better at home (i.e. BBQ to a Southerner, Mexican to an LA resident), but we also may have some cuisines you can't find at home...

                                      I'd say we are pretty strong in a lot of different cuisines but not equally. Budget will makes big difference in where you can go.

                                      Are you willing to wait for a table at a no reservations restaurant? If so, for how long?

                                      How hard are you willing to work for a reservation at a restaurant that's hard to book?

                                      What is your budget, per person, per meal, BEFORE tax, tip, wine/drinks/etc for your meals? It is much easier for us to help you if you give a pre-tax-and-tip figure.

                                      Feel free to break out your budget in terms of upscale/fancy meals (and number of them) and cheaper/everyday meals.

                                      What else are you doing while you are here? Planning around sightseeing, shopping, Broadway shows, etc? Also if you are sightseeing, to make the best use of your time, you should try to find things to eat to/from the tourist destinations or near the tourist destinations. Our tourist destinations are spread out all around town.

                                      Note that popular places tend to book about a MONTH in advance. Most upscale restaurants serve weekday lunch (but not weekend lunch), and serve dinner Monday through Saturday, and are usually closed Sundays, though there are a few exceptions to the "closed Sundays" rule (ex: Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, Jean Georges).

                                      Check out some "Only in NY" type foods while you're here: bagels and smoked salmon, pastrami on rye, pizza, hot dogs & papaya juice, black and white cookies, cheesecake, egg creams, pickles, halal carts.

                                      Russ & Daughters (takeout, busy on weekends), Katz's Deli (from When Harry Met Sally), Papaya King etc. (not gourmet but iconic), William Greenberg's black and whites, Junior's cheesecake, egg creams from Gem Spa or Ray's, Pickle Guys, the Halal Guys (53rd and 6th after sunset), are all iconic "NY" sorts of places that are worth a look.

                                      Past "Uniquely NY" discussions:

                                      Question to Locals http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/911971

                                      Visitors, travellers, tourists and other Chowhounds who do not live in NYC, which places do you revisit when you visit Manhattan? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/912049

                                      What says NYC to you?

                                      If you're interested in some of the places I listed above, you could do a LES food crawl. I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour but sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles and note that Economy Candy's address is incorrect:

                                      Best NY style pizza:

                                      We also have some of the harder to find Chinese cuisines: Henan, Shaanxi (Xian Famous Foods) and Fuzhou in Manhattan, and many more in Queens and Brooklyn (Shangdong/Qingdao and Dongbei to name a few). scoopG's Chinatown list (dependent upon where you are coming from these may be exotic or not... most places don't have Henan or Xian style food though):

                                      You might also want to do a restaurant doing creative takes on Asian, like at Momofuku Ssam Bar, Wong, Fatty Cue, Takashi, RedFarm, Mission Chinese, Jungsik, Kin Shop, or Danji.

                                      My favorite unique places in NY serve Xian (Chinese) food, Issan (Thai) food, organic/local/sustainable Japanese BBQ, authentic Basque (Spanish) tapas, creative diner food, pretzels, hot dogs, halal food, steak, upscale rustic Italian, Italian subs, creative Italian-American, high end non-sushi Japanese (like kaiseki), creative desserts, molecular gastronomy, mixology/creative cocktails, and creative brunches (sometimes every day of the week).

                                      Some common tourist inquiries:

                                      Notable food trucks/carts:

                                      Prix fixe lunch deals:

                                      Late night dining:
                                      Best Old New York Restaurants:

                                      Old school cocktail bars


                                      Best mixology:

                                      Best breakfast/brunch in NYC:
                                      It is (IMO) at the Breslin, Locanda Verde, Shopsin's, Clinton St Baking Co., or Minetta Tavern.

                                      Best bagels in NYC:
                                      Summary: the freshest bagels are the best; bagels don't age well at all. Focus on the smoked salmon instead. Preferably at Russ & Daughters! Featured in shows such as No Reservations and Louie!

                                      I'm fond of red onion, capers, regular cream cheese, and tomato on mine. Try a few smoked salmons before you settle on one, they're surprisingly different (and lox is not the same as smoked salmon, because lox is salmon cured in salt brine, and most people actually prefer the more modern, Nova-style smoked salmon). You can get a mini-sized bagel sandwich at Russ & Daughters, too, if you wish. Takeout only.

                                      Eating near tourist attractions:

                                      Where to Eat Near Times Square:

                                      Where to Eat Near MoMA (the museum cafe is actually pretty good, as is the Modern next door):

                                      Where to Eat Near Museum Mile (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney, Guggenheim, etc) on the UES:

                                      Where to Eat Near the Museum of Natural History on the UWS:

                                      Where to Eat Near Macy's/Herald Square/Penn Station/Empire State Building:

                                      Where to Eat Near Grand Central/Midtown East:

                                      Where to Eat in Soho:

                                      Where to Eat near 5th Avenue shopping / Bloomingdale's / Rockefeller Center:

                                      Where to have dinner before a Broadway show/pre-theatre dining (many of the same Times Square recs also apply):

                                      Where to Eat Near the 9/11 Memorial:

                                      If you like the idea of RGR's self-guided LES tour above, check these out, too.

                                      Maybe scoopG's self guided Chinatown tour:

                                      A West Village food crawl

                                      East Village:

                                      1. re: Parigi

                                        Now you know why NYers are so annoying and such know-it-alls.

                                        1. re: Parigi

                                          And yet the poster's reply to Kathryn (& then again to some of the rest of the local crowd) was something to the effect of "I can get big lists from lots of guidebooks… just tell me where I should go". Sometimes, you just can't win.

                                          1. re: Steve R

                                            Make certain Madame Kathryn does not shoot herself.

                                            1. re: Parigi

                                              That's Kathryn's standard response to hundreds of posters who come to the Manhattan board asking very vague questions about where to eat in NYC. She is truly tireless and has a seemingly inexhaustible amount of patience in helping visitors find good eats in the five boroughs. We are lucky to have her.

                                              1. re: chompchomp

                                                She should be canonized tomorrow long with the other 2.

                                            2. re: Steve R

                                              What's amazing to me, and it happens here on the France board as well, is that there are people who seemingly are afraid of perhaps having a meal or two that isn't 100% planned in advance - by someone else.

                                              Where's the spirit of adventure? Isn't that what traveling is all about?

                                              On our recent trip to Paris, sure, I made a bunch of reservations. But there were also days where Significant Eater and I wandered into neighborhoods we'd never been and just popped into a place that looked welcoming.

                                              Was the food always 5*? No. Was it perhaps pedestrian at one or two of those places? Yes.

                                              But you know what? We were in Paris, in a foreign land, with each other, and that made it just peachy.

                                              1. re: mitchleeny

                                                That's very true and a constant source of amazement to me right from the beginning. But I've given up pointing it out altogether for I got too many responses like "Yes but we don't come often and we only have 48 hours".

                                                To which I still would reply that it sounds like a desire to get your money's worth, not like the pleasure of travel, much of it lying in finding things in an unplanned manner. In that respect, a few days in Paris with 100% successful planned meals sound to me like total boredom. Better less planned meals and more discovery, be it a jambon-beurre sandwich at a café terrace under a Spring downpour in a setting of blossoming horsechestnut trees. As a traveller, I'd give four 3-star meals for that sort of thing.

                                                Or for a few planned meals, OK, but also just trying things, based on what they look like the signs you receive from a place. You know, training that restaurant sixth sense.

                                                1. re: Ptipois

                                                  ""Yes but we don't come often and we only have 48 hours"."
                                                  In my senile, cranky opinion, several types of folks post here
                                                  - Those who are coming for 1, 2, 7, 14 or X days.
                                                  - Those who live here
                                                  - Those who have pieds and come often, interestingly enough they all seem to come from the Bay Area,
                                                  - Those who have never been here.
                                                  - Those who come every year and
                                                  - Those who come every couple of years.
                                                  I have written about my college days, my Thanksgiving weekends, my quarterly visits and now my ex-patriatude and at each stage in life I had different needs/wants/goals, so I do understand that if someone is blowing through for 24 hours or 3 days they want to "do it all."
                                                  That's not the life of Pti or Parigi or meself, but we're crazy.
                                                  But, we try to be helpful. I think.

                                                  1. re: John Talbott

                                                    I do understand too but that does not make it any different.

                                                    The issue is whether you accept a little uncertainty and therefore discovery in your travelling or you don't, and having 48 hours or 3 weeks does not make a difference. Either you're one who likes that or you're not. And it has nothing to do with living in Paris since when I travel, whatever the destination, I love not to have everything planned.

                                                    1. re: Ptipois

                                                      As much of an obsessive researcher and planner as I may be, I'd be miserable if I had my entire trip planned out, with reservations at recommended places all made beforehand. I might reserve one night (or lunch) somewhere and risk getting shut out of those that are too popular to have tables available on short (same day or previous day) notice. What I do carry with me are lists of places that sound promising & I keep track of where I am when walking and touring so that I can peek into some of them to see if I want to go. During trips elsewhere, I'd guess that maybe a third to a half of the places I wound up going to were places recommended on the boards and by friends, while the others were those noticed during our wanderings. I do cross check these to see if anyone's hated them or has had reason to recommend avoidance. Right now, 3 weeks from arrival in Paris for 5 nights, I have at least 10 places that sound like I'd enjoy them, a couple of wine bars to check out and meet others, reservations at none (yet), and a list of areas that may yield a couple of discoveries. And a lunch date with John.

                                                  2. re: Ptipois

                                                    Pti - I think it all comes down to how confident people are about travelling and how confident they are about their restaurant radar. I know you are well travelled and no doubt you know the subtle signals that indicate a good place, so the chances of getting it right are pretty good.

                                                    I suspect a lot of posters on the Paris board are infrequent international travellers, they are worried about the foreignness of the place, the language, and not understanding the cues that indicate a good restaurant. So the paranoia makes them over plan - the day is set out and fully planned from the first coffee to the last cocktail with transport, museums, galleries etc programmed to the last minute.

                                                    That said, I do think their is a difference in planning for a visit to a big tourist city versus a more relaxed less touristy destination. Paris (Rome, Barcelona, Sydney, NYC etc) probably has more crap places in tourist areas than good places so it's easy to get it wrong if you don't know the next street over is a local food mecca.

                                                    I take Mich's point about exploring, but I think there is a difference between random choice and maybe a little prior research. On my last visit to Paris we booked 5 out of 7 dinners and 1 lunch. The rest were chosen on the fly, but from a long list of decent places, so if one was full we selected the next.

                                                    Contrast that with a completely un-researched trip to Rome - we only managed one great meal - I would have thought that was impossible in such a food centric country - but sadly not.

                                                    1. re: PhilD

                                                      <<< Pti - I think it all comes down to how confident people are about travelling and how confident they are about their restaurant radar. I know you are well travelled and no doubt you know the subtle signals that indicate a good place, so the chances of getting it right are pretty good.

                                                      Exactly, but there was a time when I knew nothing. And I learned precisely from not planning.

                                                      Naturally, there is no such thing as a completely unplanned trip. You do have marks, people give some to you, you have friends to meet, perhaps you long to visit some places that you know about, and everybody - including me - likes to do a little pre-trip browsing. I'm only stressing the virtues of non-planning which seem so absent from this board.

                                                      I can think of an exception though, I must confess that some years ago I went to Rome with restaurants unplanned (I didn't even know of one), I had done zero homework before leaving and I knew nobody there. The only places I had read about were the Sant'Eustachio and Tazza d'Oro coffee houses, and I loved them, but aside from that I ate very badly. My sixth sense was no help at all in Rome. Quite differently, in 2003 I spent five days in Venice in the same conditions, no homework at all, no friends in town, no plan at all. Wherever I went, every place I stopped at to eat was a delight. I was awed.

                                                      1. re: Ptipois

                                                        It's so funny we both failed in Rome, and succeeded in Venice. Our unplanned visit was also very successful with really good random meals

                                                        1. re: PhilD

                                                          Without completely getting off topic here (well, too late), I think that finding good restaurant food in Rome is trickier than anywhere else I've ever been. There is a food culture there that encourages "negotiation" of what's good that night and what you're in the mood for &, to a reasonable extent, that requires being known or very conversant with the expectations. For a largish city, it also relies on repeat local business more than most and rewards being known to the house in more ways than other cities. I find that I'm more careful in where I eat, what I order and when I go then I am when I'm visiting any other city. I love it, but I do rely more on the "experts" for direction.

                                                          1. re: Steve R

                                                            Quite true about Rome...we do depend on those "in the know" for many of our dining choices in the eternal city. As the inimitable Maureen Fant (I think) once wrote, Rome has been fleecing tourists for millennia. It's also a city that sees nowhere near the number of restaurant openings that Paris and NY do.

                                                            There's no doubt that in Paris, as in New York, you can eat lousy food if you're not careful, if you do no research, if you have no 6th sense, etc.

                                                            But as I said above, for my wife and me, we're still in Paris, so we make the best of it. Even at lunch with JT!

                                                            1. re: mitchleeny

                                                              There's no doubt that poking at random when you're in Paris, you can eat quite terribly. It used to be very different.

                                                              1. re: mitchleeny

                                                                "There's no doubt that in Paris, as in New York, you can eat lousy food if you're not careful, if you do no research, if you have no 6th sense, etc."
                                                                Having traveled and eaten with Pti, I noticed she does have a 6th sense, which I don't in Paris. (My 6th sense seems to improve in the provicnes, or in Asia.)
                                                                Therefore I stick to recommendations, or follow her.

                                                                1. re: mitchleeny

                                                                  In the same vein, I think Paris does Brooklyn better than Brooklyn.

                                                                  I'm a frequent visitor (for biz) to NYC and am regularly dragged by friends to Brooklyn for a meal at this or that must-do eatery... and usually end up wishing that I had stayed in Manhattan. The hassle is rarely worth it. In Paris, the quality of the cooking and the products seems much more stellar. Of course, I haven't sampled every restaurant in Brooklyn or every New Yorkais resto in Paris so I might be quite wrong.

                                                                  And yes, the restaurant scene in Rome is quite hidebound. If there's a city in urgent need of culinary evolution, it's Rome. And the chef of my favourite Roman restaurant (Settembrini) has just moved to Paris. So I guess it's back to pasta and clichés for me on my next trip to Rome.

                                                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                                                    Stay in Manhattan. It's the new Brooklyn.

                                                                    1. re: mitchleeny

                                                                      Mercy mercy !... it's so hard to keep up. I always considered Brooklyn as the new Kreuzberg (Berlin)... or was it the new Shoreditch (London) or the new Oberkampf (Paris) ? God, I forget... so long ago and so difficult to remember all those European style and food trends that pre-dated Brooklyn. But I'm glad that Manhattan is the new Brooklyn... I was afraid it would be Poughkeepsie or Porchester or some other "p" place that requires a long trek.

                                                                    2. re: Parnassien

                                                                      What Paris has over NYC (all boroughs) is a long time relationship with provincial green producers. It is only in very modern times, say the last 15 years, that NYers gave vegetables any attention much less respect.

                                                                      1. re: mangeur

                                                                        I agree. It has changed dramatically here, though.

                                        2. I must agree with DCM on TP Bourse. While the food was "French," and very good by the way, everything else felt more modern American than French. I can think of a dozen restaurants in Phoenix and more in most of the other other cities I visit that have a similar style, service and equally good food (albeit not necessarily French).

                                          While it may be a nice change for Parisians, I see little reason for an Americans to dine there with literally hundreds of places with even better food that feel "French." Most of us have precious little time in Paris. Why spend it on something you can have at home without the airfare and jet lag?

                                          18 Replies
                                          1. re: jock

                                            I haven't been to the new location at the Bourse, but the couple of times we visited the original our reaction was better than average food, but reminiscent of modern Manhattan, Atlanta, etc.

                                            1. re: jock

                                              "...felt more modern American than French" - but why more American, why not more international....?

                                              This style of restaurant can be found from Sydney to Tokyo, from Hong Kong to London, and of course in the US. I think we are all saying that as food has internationalised the influences have all merged so to call something "Brooklyn" or "American" misses all the nuances and different influences.

                                              Certainly that means you get similar dining experiences across the world now but its a global/international experience not one originating in, or belonging to one country.

                                              1. re: PhilD

                                                OK. I'll buy International. What I love about France is "French." Even the ethnic restaurants I go to in Paris are "French." I don't obsessively travel to France every year for International. I go for French.

                                                1. re: jock

                                                  Jock so true, I think we all travel to experience the local flavour and culture to whichever land we visit.

                                                  But as a resident of a foreign land you often like to experience innovation, taste new things, eat in cutting edge dining rooms. None of us like to live in museums.

                                                  I lived in Paris for a few years and loved the variety of forms French dining came in: modern cutting edge one day; traditional and rustic the next; then formal and still and old fashioned the next.

                                                  I now live in Hong Kong and love Cantonese food, but only eat Cantonese about a third of the time as I love eating a broad range of food from burgers, through tapas, to souvlaki, and grilled Issan sausages.

                                                  And funnily enough that makes recommending places for visitors tricky as they want traditional but as a resident I want excitement and novelty.

                                                  And I assume that is the challenge for our Paris residents, they recommend what they enjoy, not just the museum pieces, and if they seem a bit too "international" it's really just the reality of modern food.

                                                  1. re: PhilD

                                                    "And I assume that is the challenge for our Paris residents, they recommend what they enjoy, not just the museum pieces, and if they seem a bit too "international" it's really just the reality of modern food."

                                                    Some of us are also, at times, a little irritated by that eager search for "couleur locale" and that reluctance to admit that modernity is part of French life as of any other country's, to the point of mistaking anything modern and trendy as necessarily "American", the reference to Brooklyn only making worse for me, since I rather see the hipster Brooklyn hype as a quaint and highly local type of folklore, like lace head-dresses on Breton grannies or hurdy-gurdy dancing in Auvergne.

                                                    To some of us locals, the Amélie Poulain syndrome can really be infuriating. In the same way that Thai people can resent the fact that their country's image is so strongly associated with prostitution and Greek people really hate the references to Zorba. As Amélie Poulain turned Montmartre into an American theme park, it destroyed its soul for locals for ever.

                                                  2. re: jock

                                                    I'll provide a bit more diversity by saying I'm a visitor who comes for business and pleasure, often for 24 hours at a time, a handful of times a year, for nearly 20 years. For business, I stick with a couple of restaurants where I'm known and my guests and I will be nicely looked after. For pleasure, I pretty much always go for the new and current - standards for quality and interest are high enough in Paris that I'm usually pretty happy, sometimes blown away, and only very rarely cop a complete bomb-out. 'French' in the sense of checked tablecloths and Amelie Poulain never feature in my decisions about where to eat - if anything, le fooding's terms 'gastronomic' or ' neo-bistrot' or 'cuisine d'auteur' are more helpful descriptors.

                                                    Am I typical ? Perhaps not from Asia where I now live. But for London when I used to work there, the above would cover how many of my friends and colleagues eat out in Paris. The US-based Chowhound who comes for x days every x years with the ambition of eating in a French-only paradise is not the only type of visitor to an international city like Paris.

                                                    1. re: shakti2

                                                      As is said in France, "encore heureux !" - we're still lucky - (that they're not the only type of visitor). But was it really necessary to point that out?

                                                      1. re: Ptipois


                                                        But then I wouldn't have thought it necessary to point out many things on posted this thread ...

                                                  3. re: PhilD

                                                    And that's the "joke" of it. But then again, we Americans seem to have better senses of humor (ducks).

                                                    The kids in Brooklyn think they've invented everything, from coffee to pickles to cocktails to food trucks. They haven't, and didn't, obviously.

                                                    But, as I was mentioning this thread to my darling wife last night, she did point out to me that anyone (French) who asked us where we were from, once we told them
                                                    them NYC, they all looked longingly and said how much they wanted to live there. Not those of our age, of course, but the younger ones.

                                                    And I don't know, but there was something about Le Mary Celeste, with their Brooklyn Beer coasters and their Brooklyn beer on tap, that sort of "reminded" me of Brooklyn. I don't know what that could have been.

                                                    1. re: mitchleeny

                                                      Hope you tried some of Mary Celeste food. It's delish and if we want to talk about influences, I think Brooklyn probably influenced by farm-fresh, craft everything, small plates, Thai/Korean/Vietnamese/Mexican mashups that started in SF and LA a decade or so ago (and maybe that all influenced by Alice W in the 70's). Maybe more the californization of NY. Anyway I love it all and glad there is so many great coffee options in Paris these days. Definitely love that new trend.

                                                      1. re: macdog

                                                        I've always felt food trends migrated west to east in the US; i.e. from California (where I lived for 18 years) to NYC (where I grew up and have lived, ummm, longer).

                                                        Now, I'm not so sure it isn't the other way around.

                                                      2. re: mitchleeny

                                                        ".....they all looked longingly and said how much they wanted to live there."

                                                        Same thing for us, everyone wants to live in our home town......but we are from Sydney.....how can they be so fickle ;-)

                                                        Interesting about Brooklyn Beer it is spreading across the world like a rash, we get lots in Hong Kong now....unfortunately sitting on Shek O beach quaffing some Brooklyn lager really doesn't take you to NYC

                                                        1. re: mitchleeny

                                                          "And that's the "joke" of it. But then again, we Americans seem to have better senses of humor (ducks)."

                                                          Not sure that's really the case. The issue lies elsewhere.

                                                          Everybody understood what you meant about the kids in Brooklyn, etc., even me (after all I lived in Brooklyn for 3 years didn't I), but it's only natural that not everyone gets a joke that belongs in such an anecdotal, provincial context.

                                                          Provincialism versus universalism, if you wish. Better not get confused between the two. If you want to prove the universality of Brooklyn culture and of jokes about Brooklyn, I'm afraid that is just not going to happen.

                                                          "And I don't know, but there was something about Le Mary Celeste, with their Brooklyn Beer coasters and their Brooklyn beer on tap, that sort of "reminded" me of Brooklyn. I don't know what that could have been."

                                                          I have thought it over and over and come up with a hypothesis, a shaky one I know, but here it is: because the Mary Celeste chooses to serve a successful, tasty commercial item called Brooklyn Beer?

                                                          Then next time I'll enter a Paris café that serves Belgian beer on tap, I'll wonder if Paris hasn't started emulating Belgium — just a wee bit?

                                                          And there are bars in Paris serving Kirin on tap. Just normal bars, sometimes on the pubby side. Hm, Paris has started emulating Japan!

                                                          1. re: Ptipois

                                                            Yes; and I'm sure there are places for pastrami, other than Katz's and Frenchie-to-Go.

                                                            1. re: mitchleeny

                                                              Finkelsztajn, much better than the other 2.

                                                      3. re: jock

                                                        I must say that I totally disagree with the idea that TP feels "more American than French" just because it is based on modern design.

                                                        Seen from that point is could be just as well be more Scandinavian than French, more German than French, more Thai than French, or even more French than French. What is this strange idea that everything that feels and looks modern and large-scale has to be American-inspired? Does no one remember what brasserie style is? Paris brasseries and bouillon restaurants were already large-scale and modern back in the late 1800s.

                                                        1. re: Ptipois

                                                          I think there may be a formulaic competence that is a bit non-French with places like Terroir Parisien and La Buvette.
                                                          Non-French, yes. But no need for a brooklyn-nombrilisme.

                                                          1. re: Parigi

                                                            Indeed, but how did the big Paris brasseries function in their heyday? They were modern, shiny and well-organized too. Or are these traits essentially non-French?