49, av Jean Moulin (14)
(See La Regalade St-Honore in the 1st for the distinguished history.)
AMBIENCE / DÉCOR
This is where it all began, and the original does not disappoint. The food quality and menu inventiveness is the same, but this less convenient location in the 14th boasts wonderful bistro décor, a young, high energy crowd heavy with French which seem to never stop coming (they book until 11:30 p.m.), a busy but skilled wait staff and the same diverse three course formula menu which revolutionized Parisian dining when first introduced.
People seem to be having more fun at this restaurant than any other we know, staff and customers Always full. Always good.
The food is first rate, the dishes unusual (beef cheek, stuffed cabbage in court bouillon, risotto in squid ink, St. Pierre in cream sauce, pork belly). A flood of impeccable Grand Marnier soufflés flows from the kitchen as part of the 35€ formula. Luxury supplements, a few daily additions, but no steak frites here. A good range of wines, some high-priced.
In contrast to its St. Honore branch, the service is experienced, attentive and professional, though harried – more or less appropriate to the format.
With water and a half bottle of wonderful red wine, our 34€ formula was 114€ (a neighboring table of three spendthrift Americans worked their bill up to 450€. It must have been a record.) On another night with more supplements, it was 128€.
The history is hard to follow: La Regalade in the 14th (there are now 3 others, see La Regalade St. Honore in the 1st) began the entire modern bistro movement. When it sold 15 or so years ago, its style, menu and clientele were left untouched – to everyone’s advantage. A second La Regalade was opened (then relocated across the street). Two others were added. And in April, 2017, this original location was sold. And change has begun.
Beginning with the name. The old business cards are a carry-over, but the credit card receipt bears the new name “Origins 14”.
The daily menu is not unchanged, except for the terrine of house-made pate which is put on every table, along with a large crock of cornichons. And the dessert list on the 37€ three course prix fixe still includes a wonderful Grand Marnier soufflé. In between, and out in the dining room, change is everywhere, and it isn’t all bad, except if you showed up looking for the original.
The crowd is all French, and all middle-aged friends and family. Not a motorcycle helmet in sight. Three young children (at 3 separate tables), plus one dog. The ambiance is still attractive and the energy still strong, but La Regalade has moved from destination to neighborhood restaurant. The menu is more diverse, with less emphasis on long-cooked traditional dishes using less familiar ingredients. The execution is good – if not as good – the menu arrestingly different.
Our dinner: oyster in bouillon and scrambled eggs with truffles; a small portion of grilled bass and house-made sausage with mashed potatoes, both served with roast cabbage with cheese; the soufflé and orange segments under glazed sabayon. Coffee served with fresh Madeleines and 2 glasses of port – gratis.
Service professional and friendly.
With a 56€ wine, 143€ for 2.