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Three recent meals at Spring, Le Gaigne and Moustache prompted me to do some thinking about ordinary food, that is, simple versus complex dishes; regarding the latter, you know what I mean, the stuff served in Las Vegas, Aspen or at three-star places in Paris – 20 ingredients piled on or about each other with this rainbow effect on your tongue’s papillae.
Contrast that with Daniel Rose’s spin on a uncomplicated hunk of veal or a whole bird, where it’s clearly just good product, cooked to perfection, with a hint of something identifiable, for the most part; or Mickael Gagnon’s presentation of warm fall vegetables that are carefully chosen, juxtapositioned and cooked; or Fabien Chivot’s Asiatic twist on simple things such as scallops or beef.
Maybe it’s my age, or my curmudgeonliness or contrarian bent but I find more and more that I like the ordinary stuff – say, fish prepared simply at the Bistrot du Dome – much better than fancied up with sauces at the mothership – Le Dome.
In addition, while an amuse-bouche/amuse-gueule before the main meal and some nummies/mignardises with coffee are fine, piling on all sorts of in-between courses such as the Master of Feeds, Pierre Gagnaire, does no longer elicits ooohs and aaahs from me but instead a sense of dread about how will I ever walk these unexpected calories off and/or face dinner tonight.
So yes, the food served at a lot of places that are “hot” now is ordinary and simple and ungussied-up, but that’s not so bad.
The restos discussed here are :
6, rue Bailleul in the 1st (Metro: Louvre-Rivoli)
Open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday, lunch Wednesday-Saturday
Lunch bouillon 23 (chicken) or 32 € (pigeon) with “small plates” about 6-7, 6-course dinner menu 64 €.
12, rue Pecquay, 4th (Metro: Rambuteau)
Closed Sunday and Monday
Menus at 16 and 22 €
3, rue Sainte-Beuve in the 6th (Metros: Vavin or ND des Champs)
Closed Sundays; open for dinner only on Saturday and Monday.
A la carte about 40 E without beverages.
©by John Talbott 2010
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