rue Interieure (8)
Inside Gare St. Lazare
There exists a vast body of empirical evidence that in high-end restaurants, execution is usually not scalable. It is difficult for an accomplished chef to be in two kitchens at once. And patrons want to know he/she is there. So chefs develop alternative concepts and attempt to train and hire teams which embody their approach. Sometimes it works (Alain Ducasse – see Benoit 4th, Aux Lyonnais 2nd, Allard 6th), sometimes it doesn’t (see Terrior Parisien 5th and now a second location in the 2nd).
Eric Frechon, 3-star chef at the Hotel Bristol, has successfully reimagined the railroad station all-day service brasserie inside the Gare St. Lazare. And he has hit a home run.
Large, beautifully designed contemporary space with three seating areas; tables for four, a round copper bar for walk-ins, and two high tables each seating eight facing the busy, well staffed open kitchen. Good theater.
Diverse, unusually presented menu and wine list. Careful management and attentive service, and fair a la carte prices combine to make a winning combination.
Deviled eggs with crab and tuna, mussels (offered as a lower priced entrée), and seven hour lamb over bulgar made a large, delicious meal. Good, but not great dessert of large crepe beggar’s purse enclosing sautéed apples in a caramel sauce. Wine by the glass (for us) at very reasonable prices.
Friendly, surprisingly professional and attentive, overseen by real management. In all, a smooth functioning team, all the more surprising because Lazare opened only three months ago, in October, 2013.
This is neither haute cuisine nor high-end dining, notwithstanding its 3-star pedigree. Yet at a very slow Christmas week Saturday night, the few St. Lazare commuters were squeezed out by Parisiens with reservations, all attracted by fair a la carte prices (140€ for two) in a well- designed, expensively done physical space and good, carefully prepared food.