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Paris Bistros, Restos


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As I think Orik said, "it is that time again."   I will be in Paris for a few days in the beginning of December, any recommendations? New ones, old standbys? Places to avoid?   I have a bunch o

I suspect Bruni or Paglia wrote that review.

Had lunch here last week and it was so good I've booked dinner for next month!.   Added bonus of being right by the metro on the 8 line.

 

We've also been to the restaurants you mention and their ilk.   It occurs to me that maybe is also a generational thing.   Younger travelers, like me, tend to gravitate toward the, as you call them, Le Fooding rooms.    So good there is such a wide choice.

 

Not sure about the relative ages here!

 

I think that there is a tendency for younger Parisians and Anglophone travelers (either younger or of a certain cultural ilk) to gravitate towards the Le Fooding/Brooklyn places. As I said, I really like these places, but the hot take (or maybe not so hot anymore) is that the Brooklyn style restaurant has supplanted the formal French restaurant as the signifier of worldliness, good taste and sophistication independent of relative quality within the marketplace. 

 

It is an incredibly North American point of view to suggest that the idea of beautiful seasonal ingredients cooked simply is a "Brooklyn style restaurant" as opposed to a style of dining that has existed in France for hundreds of years.  Its not like French food used to be heavy and saucy and then someone went to Brooklyn and behold, Le Fooding!  The bottom line is that the "Le Fooding" places as you have suggested are generally more interesting and exciting with more frequent changes to the menu because they are highly seasonal and creatively driven.  The classical French places also make food and people also eat that and they do it perfectly well and sometimes spectacularly.  I don't really know what good taste and sophistication have to do with it, but it is true that it would be hard to open a classical French restaurant tomorrow and receive Michelin stars becuase it's simply been done a lot really well.

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We've also been to the restaurants you mention and their ilk.   It occurs to me that maybe is also a generational thing.   Younger travelers, like me, tend to gravitate toward the, as you call them, Le Fooding rooms.    So good there is such a wide choice.

 

Not sure about the relative ages here!

 

I think that there is a tendency for younger Parisians and Anglophone travelers (either younger or of a certain cultural ilk) to gravitate towards the Le Fooding/Brooklyn places. As I said, I really like these places, but the hot take (or maybe not so hot anymore) is that the Brooklyn style restaurant has supplanted the formal French restaurant as the signifier of worldliness, good taste and sophistication independent of relative quality within the marketplace. 

 

 

Fava beans, three months before their season, sous vide spoon tender steak - Roberta's

Wild strawberries, three months before their season, sous vide rubber fish - PL @ Chef's Club

 

IQF is really going places. 

 

The argument isn't that the Paris places aren't much better. 

 

 

My argument is that the two groups have very much converged, so you're getting a lot of the same things packaged in different ways. 

 

I'm not talking about < 30 Euro places obviously. 

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L’ambroisie is tweezer fuss now?

Look, these are both phenomenal restaurants.  But if you ask me which of those two restaurants I'd prefer to eat at and pay for, yes, L'ambroisie is tweezer fuss.  The two restaurants are not DRAMATICALLY different in price point, but I drink much better (and cheaper) at Table and I just have more fun and committing to going to L'A is a huge pain in the ass.  I don't need prettier presentations with more tweezers than Table can offer.  Life also never comes down to do I go to L'A or Table, but I wish it did.

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We've also been to the restaurants you mention and their ilk.   It occurs to me that maybe is also a generational thing.   Younger travelers, like me, tend to gravitate toward the, as you call them, Le Fooding rooms.    So good there is such a wide choice.

 

Not sure about the relative ages here!

 

I think that there is a tendency for younger Parisians and Anglophone travelers (either younger or of a certain cultural ilk) to gravitate towards the Le Fooding/Brooklyn places. As I said, I really like these places, but the hot take (or maybe not so hot anymore) is that the Brooklyn style restaurant has supplanted the formal French restaurant as the signifier of worldliness, good taste and sophistication independent of relative quality within the marketplace. 

 

It is an incredibly North American point of view to suggest that the idea of beautiful seasonal ingredients cooked simply is a "Brooklyn style restaurant" as opposed to a style of dining that has existed in France for hundreds of years.  Its not like French food used to be heavy and saucy and then someone went to Brooklyn and behold, Le Fooding!  The bottom line is that the "Le Fooding" places as you have suggested are generally more interesting and exciting with more frequent changes to the menu because they are highly seasonal and creatively driven.  The classical French places also make food and people also eat that and they do it perfectly well and sometimes spectacularly.  I don't really know what good taste and sophistication have to do with it, but it is true that it would be hard to open a classical French restaurant tomorrow and receive Michelin stars becuase it's simply been done a lot really well.

 

 

I mean, that's not at all what I'm saying. I think if you look at a recent Michelin guide, you'll see that it's pretty easy for new fancy French places to get a star and that there are a lot of them. I am sure they are all very, very good, but they are largely invisible in the Anglophone food media and, instead, the Anglophone food media focuses on places that share a certain overall aesthetic sensibility that, with some regional variance, which you can probably trace in part to Brooklyn, and in part to the early bistronomics, and in part to Bourdain, and in part to a love of mid-century modern furniture, or whatever, but it's a very different sensibility than the majority of those 95 one stars have and has also become the dominant aesthetic sensibility of bourgeois restaurant globally (ie. the kind of restaurant that is profiled in the NYT style section).

 

It's not a quality judgment, and it's certainly not a statement that Brooklyn invented seasonal cooking, but more an observation that the old style of French restaurant actually seems to be doing just fine, but you wouldn't know it from the English-language discourse about the Paris restaurant.  

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It's not doing just fine by any measure. As you know, about half of the new-ish one stars are 100% Japanese operations, and many of the 2-3 stars are Bar Mitzvah places for Russian mobsters.

 

Of course the anglo media focuses on what's accessible to its target audience - so places that maybe overpriced but not super expensive, where they speak English and understand anglo problems, and where they know how to schmooze get overly covered. 

 

eta: response to @Adrian

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We've also been to the restaurants you mention and their ilk.   It occurs to me that maybe is also a generational thing.   Younger travelers, like me, tend to gravitate toward the, as you call them, Le Fooding rooms.    So good there is such a wide choice.

 

Not sure about the relative ages here!

 

I think that there is a tendency for younger Parisians and Anglophone travelers (either younger or of a certain cultural ilk) to gravitate towards the Le Fooding/Brooklyn places. As I said, I really like these places, but the hot take (or maybe not so hot anymore) is that the Brooklyn style restaurant has supplanted the formal French restaurant as the signifier of worldliness, good taste and sophistication independent of relative quality within the marketplace. 

 

It is an incredibly North American point of view to suggest that the idea of beautiful seasonal ingredients cooked simply is a "Brooklyn style restaurant" as opposed to a style of dining that has existed in France for hundreds of years.  Its not like French food used to be heavy and saucy and then someone went to Brooklyn and behold, Le Fooding!  The bottom line is that the "Le Fooding" places as you have suggested are generally more interesting and exciting with more frequent changes to the menu because they are highly seasonal and creatively driven.  The classical French places also make food and people also eat that and they do it perfectly well and sometimes spectacularly.  I don't really know what good taste and sophistication have to do with it, but it is true that it would be hard to open a classical French restaurant tomorrow and receive Michelin stars becuase it's simply been done a lot really well.

 

 

I mean, that's not at all what I'm saying. I think if you look at a recent Michelin guide, you'll see that it's pretty easy for new fancy French places to get a star and that there are a lot of them. I am sure they are all very, very good, but they are largely invisible in the Anglophone food media and, instead, the Anglophone food media focuses on places that share a certain overall aesthetic sensibility that, with some regional variance, which you can probably trace in part to Brooklyn, and in part to the early bistronomics, and in part to Bourdain, and in part to a love of mid-century modern furniture, or whatever, but it's a very different sensibility than the majority of those 95 one stars have and has also become the dominant aesthetic sensibility of bourgeois restaurant globally (ie. the kind of restaurant that is profiled in the NYT style section).

 

It's not a quality judgment, and it's certainly not a statement that Brooklyn invented seasonal cooking, but more an observation that the old style of French restaurant actually seems to be doing just fine, but you wouldn't know it from the English-language discourse about the Paris restaurant.  

 

Honestly what you're saying doesn't tie to my experience of Paris at all.  Maybe some of the others who live here or are often here have a point of view.  I think you think that the "old style French restaurant" and the "Le Fooding restaurant" are much much further from one another than they are in this city.  What distinguishes Paris from NY and many other cities is precisely that the Le Fooding restaurant is so often just serving a plate of tradition.  It is super common to go to a very trendy restaurant and get a super old school dish- isn't that in a sense what Frenchette was trying to copy?

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We've also been to the restaurants you mention and their ilk.   It occurs to me that maybe is also a generational thing.   Younger travelers, like me, tend to gravitate toward the, as you call them, Le Fooding rooms.    So good there is such a wide choice.

 

Not sure about the relative ages here!

 

I think that there is a tendency for younger Parisians and Anglophone travelers (either younger or of a certain cultural ilk) to gravitate towards the Le Fooding/Brooklyn places. As I said, I really like these places, but the hot take (or maybe not so hot anymore) is that the Brooklyn style restaurant has supplanted the formal French restaurant as the signifier of worldliness, good taste and sophistication independent of relative quality within the marketplace. 

 

It is an incredibly North American point of view to suggest that the idea of beautiful seasonal ingredients cooked simply is a "Brooklyn style restaurant" as opposed to a style of dining that has existed in France for hundreds of years.  Its not like French food used to be heavy and saucy and then someone went to Brooklyn and behold, Le Fooding!  The bottom line is that the "Le Fooding" places as you have suggested are generally more interesting and exciting with more frequent changes to the menu because they are highly seasonal and creatively driven.  The classical French places also make food and people also eat that and they do it perfectly well and sometimes spectacularly.  I don't really know what good taste and sophistication have to do with it, but it is true that it would be hard to open a classical French restaurant tomorrow and receive Michelin stars becuase it's simply been done a lot really well.

 

 

I mean, that's not at all what I'm saying. I think if you look at a recent Michelin guide, you'll see that it's pretty easy for new fancy French places to get a star and that there are a lot of them. I am sure they are all very, very good, but they are largely invisible in the Anglophone food media and, instead, the Anglophone food media focuses on places that share a certain overall aesthetic sensibility that, with some regional variance, which you can probably trace in part to Brooklyn, and in part to the early bistronomics, and in part to Bourdain, and in part to a love of mid-century modern furniture, or whatever, but it's a very different sensibility than the majority of those 95 one stars have and has also become the dominant aesthetic sensibility of bourgeois restaurant globally (ie. the kind of restaurant that is profiled in the NYT style section).

 

It's not a quality judgment, and it's certainly not a statement that Brooklyn invented seasonal cooking, but more an observation that the old style of French restaurant actually seems to be doing just fine, but you wouldn't know it from the English-language discourse about the Paris restaurant.  

 

Honestly what you're saying doesn't tie to my experience of Paris at all.  Maybe some of the others who live here or are often here have a point of view.  I think you think that the "old style French restaurant" and the "Le Fooding restaurant" are much much further from one another than they are in this city.  What distinguishes Paris from NY and many other cities is precisely that the Le Fooding restaurant is so often just serving a plate of tradition.  It is super common to go to a very trendy restaurant and get a super old school dish- isn't that in a sense what Frenchette was trying to copy?

 

 

I mean, yes, you'd be more likely to find an older style dish at a Paris bistronomic than in the NYC equivalent. But there's an aesthetic and service sensibility (and, come on, the menu at Servan or Clamato, and the wine list (though both are better in the absolute sense, like way better), slot nicely into a global aesthetic in a way that, like, Divellec does not. 

 

I'm not talking here about Josephine, or even Paul Bert when comparing traditional French or Michelin to Le Fooding. 

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It's not doing just fine by any measure. As you know, about half of the new-ish one stars are 100% Japanese operations, and many of the 2-3 stars are Bar Mitzvah places for Russian mobsters.

 

Of course the anglo media focuses on what's accessible to its target audience - so places that maybe overpriced but not super expensive, where they speak English and understand anglo problems, and where they know how to schmooze get overly covered. 

 

eta: response to @Adrian

 

Healthier than elsewhere at least. But yes on 2. 

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We've also been to the restaurants you mention and their ilk.   It occurs to me that maybe is also a generational thing.   Younger travelers, like me, tend to gravitate toward the, as you call them, Le Fooding rooms.    So good there is such a wide choice.

 

Not sure about the relative ages here!

 

I think that there is a tendency for younger Parisians and Anglophone travelers (either younger or of a certain cultural ilk) to gravitate towards the Le Fooding/Brooklyn places. As I said, I really like these places, but the hot take (or maybe not so hot anymore) is that the Brooklyn style restaurant has supplanted the formal French restaurant as the signifier of worldliness, good taste and sophistication independent of relative quality within the marketplace. 

 

It is an incredibly North American point of view to suggest that the idea of beautiful seasonal ingredients cooked simply is a "Brooklyn style restaurant" as opposed to a style of dining that has existed in France for hundreds of years.  Its not like French food used to be heavy and saucy and then someone went to Brooklyn and behold, Le Fooding!  The bottom line is that the "Le Fooding" places as you have suggested are generally more interesting and exciting with more frequent changes to the menu because they are highly seasonal and creatively driven.  The classical French places also make food and people also eat that and they do it perfectly well and sometimes spectacularly.  I don't really know what good taste and sophistication have to do with it, but it is true that it would be hard to open a classical French restaurant tomorrow and receive Michelin stars becuase it's simply been done a lot really well.

 

 

I mean, that's not at all what I'm saying. I think if you look at a recent Michelin guide, you'll see that it's pretty easy for new fancy French places to get a star and that there are a lot of them. I am sure they are all very, very good, but they are largely invisible in the Anglophone food media and, instead, the Anglophone food media focuses on places that share a certain overall aesthetic sensibility that, with some regional variance, which you can probably trace in part to Brooklyn, and in part to the early bistronomics, and in part to Bourdain, and in part to a love of mid-century modern furniture, or whatever, but it's a very different sensibility than the majority of those 95 one stars have and has also become the dominant aesthetic sensibility of bourgeois restaurant globally (ie. the kind of restaurant that is profiled in the NYT style section).

 

It's not a quality judgment, and it's certainly not a statement that Brooklyn invented seasonal cooking, but more an observation that the old style of French restaurant actually seems to be doing just fine, but you wouldn't know it from the English-language discourse about the Paris restaurant.  

 

Honestly what you're saying doesn't tie to my experience of Paris at all.  Maybe some of the others who live here or are often here have a point of view.  I think you think that the "old style French restaurant" and the "Le Fooding restaurant" are much much further from one another than they are in this city.  What distinguishes Paris from NY and many other cities is precisely that the Le Fooding restaurant is so often just serving a plate of tradition.  It is super common to go to a very trendy restaurant and get a super old school dish- isn't that in a sense what Frenchette was trying to copy?

 

 

I mean, yes, you'd be more likely to find an older style dish at a Paris bistronomic than in the NYC equivalent. But there's an aesthetic and service sensibility (and, come on, the menu at Servan or Clamato, and the wine list (though both are better in the absolute sense, like way better), slot nicely into a global aesthetic in a way that, like, Divellec does not. 

 

I'm not talking here about Josephine, or even Paul Bert when comparing traditional French or Michelin to Le Fooding. 

 

Sorry, I don't really agree with what you're saying.  Divellec is just as much part of a global aesthetic to me- I've been to a million restaurants that look like that and I really don't think those restaurants read or feel that different, if you remove the level of formality from the analysis.  Service style, maybe vaguely, but Clamato is very particular so its hard to compare to the others.

 

Take a few menu items: 

  • Rock Octopus, Sicilian caponata, Paimpol coco emulsion
  • Squids with lomito, egg yolk and Espelette pepper
  • Clams gratinated with butter, thyme and lemon
  • Raw cuttle fish from Oléron, sesame and chili
  • Whole sea bass from Oléron, sauce bérnaise
  • Thon Rouge de Ligne Mi-Cuit, Aubergines Laquées
  • Bulots, Mayonnaise au piment

Which are from which?

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Eh, look at the pictures of the food though.

 

And the formality is part of it. And when I was at Divellec they were promoting a bunch of verticals of Pascal Jolivet. And like come on sit in both rooms. And Divellec is the trendy relevant updated version!

 

But, sure, part of the point is that 25 years ago Conde Naste editors would be writing about Pacaud Jr's Divellec takeover, and talking about it as a smart restaurant in Paris for Americans to go to, and the expectation of a law firm partner travelling to Paris would be that the recommendation of Conde Nast means that you would sit in a room like Divellec, with that service model, and those kinds of wines, eating those kinds of preparations.

 

That is now Clamato. 

 

Which isn't to say that Clamato is better or worse than Divellec, but that there's been a cultural shift in terms of what connotes a trendy restaurant. Like the Eames chair giving you more points when scoring your living room these days.

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The idea of categorizing restaurants as to their "worldliness, good taste and sophistication" is quite foreign to me.   Tourists who would use such criteria probably have little of these characteristics.    And maybe that is what makes the Fooding group so appealing.   

 

But not to the vast majority of restaurant-goers.  And if you think (most of) the Le Fooding crowd isn't choosing restaurants for "wordliness, good taste and sophistication", you're kidding yourself.

 

Most people don't know good food when they're faced with it, and (even when fashion leads them to pretend otherwise) couldn't care less about it.  There is no clientele big enough to sustain a large bunch of restaurants in a major (or minor) city that isn't looking to signify their "worldliness, good taste and sophistication".  I agree with Adrian in general that now those people -- worldwide (or at least Western worldwide) -- are looking for different signifiers than they were 20 years ago (and of course I agree with him about where that came from).  But I haven't been to Paris in more than a decade, so I can't comment about what's happening there in particular.

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It's nice that there at least seems to be general agreement here now that ingredient quality in Europe (and France in particular) is vastly superior to what's available at least in the Northeastern United States.

 

If you want to talk about stupid pointless MFF arguments, that was a prime one.

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