Restaurant Allard. Located in the 6th, it is a temple of old school French gastronomy. And for someone with distinctively non traditional eating habits a challenge. I recall my dinner there quite clearly. Everyone at the table loved the meal but me.
We were charmed by a real food star siting next to us. Sort of. Well, at least his wife was. The wife of Guy Savoy seated next to us engaged our poor French and American eating habits guiding us through the menu and charming us all.
But I was never comfortable with the meal. Maybe it was the bad appetizer choice, what seemed like a kilo of herring (why I wonder was it our recent visit to Amsterdam?) served in a copper tub the size of planter floating in 40 weight cloudy vegetable oil. It could have fed 4. It’s not that there was anything wrong with the meal, but I never recovered from that appetizer.
I realize that the terrine was a symbol. A symbol of the heaviness of traditional French cooking.
That is often the challenge in traditional French restaurants for those of seeking lighter fresher fare. Working my way through a menu frequently full of gizzards and guts, I often wondered, just where does the meat go? But as time passed and we worked hard at finding new restaurants it became clear that the food trends that have emerged over the past years here (local, seasonal, fresh) were taking hold in Paris and the rest of France as well. And for those who have suffered a meal of farmed salmon under a cream sauce with overcooked potatoes this change came none too soon.
I have always been a fan of Anthony Bourdaine. He attacks food with a zealous passion, tells a great story and is willing to push the envelope. So much to my surprise, his recent show on Paris sought out the young chefs who are pursuing a new take on French cuisine which focuses on, yes local, fresher, lighter food forward meals not just kidneys and brains although there were plenty of those. And the show made my mouth water.
So here is his list of restaurants and stores that he visited, many of which are reasonable, and I am going to do my best to hit as many as I can in January when I visit Paris. If you do go to some of them then please post a comment.
Le Jeu de Quilles
Next door to Hugo’s boucherie is this small restaurant. Tony, Eric, Hugo and Hugo’s wife enjoy a beautiful breakfast.
45 Rue Boulard, 75014 Paris, France
Tony and Eric enjoy some tripe at this corner restaurant famous for making its nasty bits some of the most delicious in Paris.
4 Rue d¿Alleray, 75015 Paris, Franc
Renowned cheese merchant and cheese refiner Marie-Anne Cantin perpetuates the tradition of French gastronomy. Marie-Anne and her husband, Antoine Dias, offer authentic and uncompromising cheeses.
12 Rue du Champ de Mars, 75007
Les Cocottes de Christian Constant
Tony and Eric have lunch with food wizard Thierry Marx. A veteran of Taillevent and Joël Robuchon’s Jamin, the 44-year-old Mr. Marx is comfortable enough with his genius to be playful on the plate.
135 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris, France
Tony samples the world-class cuisine of chefs Eric Lecerf and Philippe Braun at L’Atelier.
5 Rue de Montalembert, 75007
Anthony Bourdain meets one of the hottest chefs in Paris, Yves Camdeborde of Le Comptoir at La Quincave, to discuss the future of dining in the City of Light. They sip on wine and taste amazing French cheeses.
17 Rue Brea, 75006 Paris, France
Tony has dinner with chef Yves Comdeborde at his 20-seat restaurant, Le Comptoir.
Hotel Relais St-Germain, 9 Carrefour de l’Odeon, 75006
Frenchie is known for its affordable menu and casually correct food. Chef Grégory Marchand spent most of his career working at Jamie Oliver’s 15 in London, where his nickname Frenchie was born, and at Gramercy Tavern in New York.
5 Rue du Nil, 75002
Inaki Aizpitarte combines flavors in a way that no traditional French chef would dare. At Le Chateubriand he reinvents the classic French bistro with a style all his own, often delivering his dishes personally.
129 Avenue Parmentier, 75011
Le Tete Dans Les Olives
Alexandre Cammas and Inaki Aizpitarte invite Tony and chef Eric Ripert to Le Tete Dans Les Olives where 10 people are served daily. The restaurant has 1 table and 1 chef, Cedric Casanova.
2 Rue Sainte Marthe, 75010.