1, rue Bailleul (1)
What remains from the legacy of the late Adrienne who owned and presided over this now-tired and cramped space in the 1st Arr. is not worth wasting a precious slot. Charmless (Michelle called it grim), in large part because of the six tables in the downstairs barroom. Only one was occupied on a Monday lunch, in addition to ours. The single waitress went through the motions, assisted by the chef when she was tending to the equally empty upstairs room.
Small blackboard menu. Actually, tasty fresh food, but the package wasn’t enough.
Published rumor that in addition to opening in New York, Daniel Rose from Spring is taking over this restaurant (also called Chez Adrienne) as of April. It is more or less across the street from Spring. “For Rent” sign in window and no evidence of construction.
Then it was closed, with rumors flying it would be purchased and redone by Daniel Rose, originally of Spring across the street (and now of New York’s hottest luxury spot in Tribeca, Coucou).
The space was shut up in October and sold out in April. And not only from the hype.
Still tiny. Now 16 or so stools in the unreserved ground floor barroom; 5 tables for 2 and 3 tables for 4 on the charmless first floor (in daylight at least).
Not so in the unreserved bar, though casual in the extreme.
Four a la carte choices in each category. We tried mache salad with lardons and salmon tartare, followed by roast veal from a casserole with onion sauce, snap peas and carrots. All quite good, as was the molten chocolate cake with crème anglaise.
Very limited menu. About 15 items, half starters, 3-4 plats, 2 sides, plus 1 unlisted dessert. White asparagus, wonderful bouillon with noodles and poached egg, an old Chez Adrienne recipe, plus a shared divided half chicken with mushrooms. Cheese and simple lemon tart for dessert.
Terrific food, simply served.
Friendly, but inept. Sort of in character with the tone of the restaurant.
A la carte. 82€ for lunch for two with one glass of wine, coffee and water.
Very low, and very much worth it.
For a city once known for its “classic” restaurants, meaning long established and rarely changing, Paris has become a whirlwind of change.
Review the chronology of what was Chez Adrienne, now Chez La Vieille. For some years, the buzz was the derelict Adrienne would be reopened by the hot American French chef Daniel Rose, whose primary restaurant Spring was across the street. And it was, but now Spring is closed and Daniel Rose is in New York, with his chef-wife opening a place of her own within the last few weeks. (Try to fit this into a published guidebook with a 1-2 year publishing deadline!)
As currently operating, Chez La Vieille is a better kitchen than it is a restaurant, meaning the food is very good.
Restaurants need energy to animate them, especially for tables of 2. Larger tables can bring some of their own energy with them (one good reason to eat out with friends). Staffs can help.
At Chez La Vieille the staff is perfectly adequate (but not professional), but bring no sense of fun or personality to the serving job. So the energy in the upstairs dining room (5 tables for 2, 2 tables for 4 or 6) dies even when the room is full, as it became halfway through our recent dinner. The downstairs bar room has plenty of energy when full, but not much comfort.
But the food from the very limited menu produced from a miniscule kitchen is excellent: beet salad in a lovely pink sauce, a fresh, homemade slab of duck terrine with novel accompaniments, roast chicken with mashed potatoes and a rich, steaming hot beef Bourguignon; a wonderful chocolate tart to share for dessert.
A mixed group of guests who enjoyed their food, but who had no trouble hearing. 129€ for 2, with a 42€ Morgan.