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Pavyllon

8 Avenue Dutuit (8)
Tel:  01-53-05-10-00

 

AMBIANCE/DECOR

When 3-Star chef Yannick Alleno left the Hotel Maurice several years ago to take over the venerable, but tired Pavilion Ledoyen behind the Petit Palais along the Champs Elysses, it was big news in the food world.  First reports where of mice running around the dining room.  We never checked.

If true, no more. Covid must have interceded with an ambitious construction program, turning the building into three separate restaurants with three kitchens; the Alleno 3-Star, a 2-Star sushi space and the new Pavyllon, a ground floor space which combines an enclosed garden terrace and a completely open kitchen separated from the dining room by a 30 seat counter,.  What a show!  What exceptional food and service!  What prices!  Pavyllon received its first star after three months.  On its merits, more should be coming.

FOOD

The facility, space, concept and theater are rarely equaled in Paris.  Two set menus, five courses or seven, plus a la carte.  The most welcoming, sincere, attentive and professional service we have ever encountered in Paris at a restaurant at this level.

The five course, at 145€, mussels with a light glaze, steamed cheese soufflé with celery root foam, a tempura pike fish with tarter sauce, grilled breast and legs of quail, a Lebanese wafer of nuts over delicate ice cream.  House made bread, Bordier butter.  A 3-Star wine list with matching prices.  Even the coat check delivered a level of service we have never experienced before.  And, twelve chefs performing from start to finish in front of us.

In the spirit of full disclosure, one discordant note:  the young (Italian) sommelier was friendly, charming and solicitous.  His 5th day on the job, but with an impressive resume.  He offered a glass of champagne and responded when I asked about a red wine to complement the meal.  (He made no mention of a wine pairing offer I had not seen, 73€ per person (for a 145€ menu).  His first recommendation:  590€.  He got as low as 290€, when I caved and agreed.  It was a wonderful wine, but the experience left a deeply bitter taste, both because of the offensive pressure and cost, and because it was so strongly unusual and inappropriate.

We loved the food and the restaurant, nonetheless.  We may have been tourists, but I have been eating across France at 3-Star restaurants since the 1970’s (my first was in 1963 – La Tour d’Argent – See 5th).  I’ve kept most of the checks as souvenirs.  Not one time did I experience what I did that night.  It is rude and unprofessional, even after first, responding what should have been obvious, “I don’t want to spend that much.”  As they say:  “Just say no”!

(1x) (2021)

Photo from yannick-alleno.com

Fogon Ultramarinos

38 Rue de Verneuil (7)
Tel: 01-43-54-31-33

 

Fogon was a well-regarded longtime Spanish restaurant on the Quai in the 6th.  I never ate there.  The restaurant is gone.  Instead, the owners have opened a beautifully designed take-out shop on Rue Verneuil in the 7th, with 6 seats and a pleasant location for a simple lunch:  Iberico ham, followed by 4 vegetarian tapas tastings.  Wines and desserts available too.

First rate food and environment.  Modest prices.

 

(1X) (2021)

 

Cena

23 Rue Treilhard (8)
Tel: 01-40-74-20-80

It’s a complicated story with a great ending.

I noticed Cena on line, a new restaurant in the 8th owned by the same group as one of our neighborhood favorites, Le Bon St. Pourcain (see 6th). The internet raved about a new young chef. We knew our 3-star personal favorite, L’Astrance (where lunch was an affordable bargain), was closed; its new location evidently delayed by Covid and construction.

An email from a Paris friend of an American friend: the young chef gone, cooking at Cena the chef and co-owner of L’Astrance, Pascal Barbot. Managing the front, his L’Astrance partner, Christophe.

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

Cena full. Why not, a 3-star meal in what was built as an upscale neighborhood restaurant. The young staff seemingly agog.

Imagine a resume with a history of 3 Michelin stars.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a 3-star experience, or so remotely priced.

FOOD

A short a la carte menu designed and executed by Pascal in a semi-open kitchen, including a few dishes lifted from the L’Astrance menu: mixed mushrooms and foie gras, scallops in a rich but light-scented sauce, Arctic white fish with special Japanese rice and beurre blanc sauce. Truly exceptional. For dessert, pear tartlet and chocolate pastry with chocolate ice cream.

PRICES

Not cheap, but a bargain. Fun to be with such a happy crowd, staff and clients.

If all goes well, L’Astrance opens in July, 2022, so months remain (from October 2021) to participate.

(1x) (2021)

Aux Bons Crus

54 Rue Godefroy Cavaignac (11)
Tel: 01-45-67-21-13

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

An engaging retro bistro menu of disappearing French classics served to a full house of seeming regulars, deep in small restaurant territory in the 11th. In this Diary, reminiscent of Le Quincy (see), one of our favorites which serves some of the same dishes. Aux Bons Crus is new, but looks old. Le Quincy is old, and looks old.

FOOD

The best dish we sampled was the classic Lyonnaise fish dumpling, quenelle de brochet. Also pate en croute, lentil salad with sliced sausage and stuffed cabbage. Profiteroles for dessert.

SERVICE

Very low prices. Friendly, but very casual service. Three floor staff for 50 diners, one of the things which can’t be duplicated in the US and which allows small Paris restaurants to work.

PRICES

My preference is to pay three times more for the real thing at Le Quincy, but a room full of happy diners might disagree.

(1x) (2021)

Scene (La)

32 Avenue Matignon (8)
Tel: 01-42-65-05-61

A new name for us from American friends who, in turn, received the recommendation from their hotel concierge. Opened more or less during Covid, after which it was closed for a year. Already 2 Michelin stars.

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

A basement dining room for 28 people with an open kitchen and an upstairs street level more casual a la carte bistro with less formal choices (but not necessarily less expensive).

FOOD

Small menu snacks, first courses, plats, four choices: scallop cru and hard boiled eggs with truffle mayo; escarole and lightly cooked sliced tuna over vegetables and Asian noodles. For dessert, a light pastry, two biscuit discs with vanilla pastry cream in between.

A wonderful lunch, polished, professional, friendly, bi-lingual service. Busy location in the heart of the 8th.

(1x) (2021)

Caluche

12 Rue de Mirbel (5)
Tel: 01-45-87-89-40

AMBIANCE/DÉCOR

A new restaurant for us, recommended by French friends new to the 5th. Unprepossessing from the outside, wine-focused, the domain of a bilingual wine partner proud of his list, represented by cartons of unopened new arrivals stacked everywhere. Reasonable prices, good choices.

FOOD

Short a la carte menu; four starters, four plats. Sophisticated dishes, well-imagined and well-executed. Wild mushrooms, raviolis followed by boneless stuffed pintade, fish, pork, all served without ceremony or pretense, but with pride.

Every seat taken, mostly by neighborhood young people and couples.

There must be hundreds of such barely-known neighborhood places in Paris, most never to be known, a few to rise to the next level. With luck or partners, it is what makes Paris entirely different from the US, where skill and labor are more willing and abundant, and where a regular daily clientele (as distinct from a special “date night”, supports their system).

(1x) (2021)