20, rue Rosenwald (15)
Le Grand Pan was well discovered before our visit. Five years old and well- reviewed, it seemed as if everyone was a regular or at least a repeat. A good sign.
Small. Out of the way on a back street in the 15th. Two rooms. Tiny kitchen. Blackboard menu featuring meat and emphasizing the quality of the ingredients. For the most part the dishes and preparations are simple, but the food was superb. A very happy restaurant.
We will be back.
We were back two months later. Even better. Such high energy. Such a diverse crowd. All ages. Almost all French. Almost all ordering steak, veal chop or pork chop for two. An addition to our Favorites list.
An insight: The picture of the chef sticking his head out of the kitchen window reminded me of the now chic and over-hyped L’Ami Louis 25 years ago, under the original chef and ownership. Same regular devotees, obscure neighborhood. Meat-focused.
Grand Pan is not for everyone. For some, 55 seats in this tiny space would contradict their image of fine French dining. But if you like Le Regalade (See 14th), etc., you’ll love Le Grand Pan.
Le Grand Pan does not require a fresh review following another outstanding October 2016 dinner. It is not a Diary “Favorite” for nothing. But rereading my comments from earlier meals fails to fully convey how good and how unusual this small, out of the way, casual, crowded, informal, meat-centric bistro really is.
Rare in recent years – anywhere – we were the only Americans and the only tourists at dinner. As at every other meal there, the dominant clientele is older, middle-class French couples for whom this is less date night than “Let’s eat out”. They are regulars; not wealthy, chic or particularly sophisticated, and they are warmly welcomed, notwithstanding that in food terms Le Grand Pan has become widely known, by fellow chefs particularly, many of whom, I think, envy its full tables every night and its simple approach to casual dining.
Other than the middle class couples, young (and not so young) groups of French businessmen occupy most of the other tables, parties of 4 or 6. All (and most others) order either the grilled sliced pork chop, veal chop or steak, with sides of salad and thick cut frites, the restaurant’s specialty, preceded by heaping boards of carefully sourced charcuterie.
It is authentic, thriving and if not for everyone, great fun for staff and patrons alike. And at 121€ for 2, with wine, water, coffee and cocktail, a bargain.
At a 2017 dinner unchanged, in all of the best ways. High energy staff. All French. Many regulars. Everyone having fun. With chicken galantine over red cabbage and celery remoulade with crabmeat, our favorite grilled veal chop for two, one dessert and a (more) expensive wine plus one aperitif, 163€.
Sliced veal chop in light cream sauce for two. Exceptional. Other options: beef or pork chop prepared similarly, also one fish, lobster, duck breast, etc. Most simply cooked on plancha.
First courses cepes and string bean salad with smoked duck breast and foie gras. Desserts: Pear tart, plums with mascarpone.
Two waiters handle the rooms professionally, quickly and casually.
153€ for two, with mid-priced (44€) wine. Also wine specials (on blackboard we didn’t see until we left).