Wow, what a wonderful trip to Paris, May 10-May 18. My husband Jerry and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in style. Merci beaucoup to everyone for your tips and advice. I am breaking my trip report down into groupings because I have too much for one post. This first one covers three wonderful trad restaurants: Auberge Bressane, Chez Monsieur and Chez Georges (1 Rue du Mail).
Although it was unseasonably warm, I really wanted to try some cold weather classics like chicken with morels and veal blanquette. And judging from the crowds at these places, I’d say many others wanted to as well.
Of the three, this was my favorite because in addition to wonderful food, the place has a decidedly friendly ambiance - from the servers to the patrons. There is a sense here of let the good times roll. And fun is fun. This was our last dinner of our trip and we went out with a bang.
-To start, we were given a small plate of lovely cheese crackers.
-For mains, we had the restaurant’s signature chicken with morels (they are also known for coq au vin) and a veal chop. The chicken was tender, the morels earthy, and the sauce was lightly creamy. Jerry never had morels before and loved them. The veal chop was massive. A piece was cut off before this photo was taken. It was grilled perfectly and a great exactly of a chop done right. The fresh peas were also good, not overdone.
-We chose a bottle of cold dry Riesling to cut through the richness of the dishes, and it did just that.
-For dessert, Jerry got the Grand Marnier Soufflé. Upon presenting it, our server told Jerry to tell him when to stop pouring Grand Marnier on it. He let it go for awhile. When done, the server promptly lit a match, setting it on fire, emitting a blue glow. A delicious textbook example of a soufflé.
-Some of you may recall that before the trip I asked for recommendations for a Paris Brest. Unfortunately, I never got to the shop that was recommended, and I didn’t have one the whole trip - until this final night. Paris Brest was on the menu! When we ordered dinner, I asked if they still had any. Our server said yes, and he would save one for me. So, I finally got one! It was very good and rich, but don’t ask me if the filling was hazelnut or almond. I had consumed quite a bit of wine and was in a lively chat with the couple next to us (expats living in Mexico).
Chez Monsieur was the most upscale of the three and is famous for its veal blanquette (veal stew). We had lunch there and it seemed like a power lunch kind of spot. People in business attire having three-course meals, alongside others dressed in jeans. Very nice ambiance.
-I had the Veal Blanquette of course and Jerry had the Iberian Pork Chop. The stew was served in a copper pot, and could easily fed two. The texture of the veal was like a moist pot roast, very tender and delicious with the light cream sauce, potatoes and carrots. Delicious. The Iberian Pork was also cooked well, not overdone and tender, not tough.
-We asked our server for a wine by the glass recommendation and he offered a 2020 Chateau de la Font du Loup ‘Les Demoiselles’ Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Such a smooth red wine! Definitely want to buy it here.
-We were so full from this delicious meal, but decided to split Crepes Suzette for dessert. Simple presentation, and for me the orangey sauce was a tad sweet. A touch of whipped cream might have been nice. A nearby table of three well-dressed office types ordered apps, mains and for dessert, one got Cafe Gourmand with three small desserts (did not look that interesting), another got the Ile Flottante that was topped with a nest of spun sugar.
Great report! Really fun and ’ salivating ’ to read!
BTW, my daughter and husband also ate at Auberge Bressane three days ago and loved the food! Said it was a bit better than Josephine chez Dummonet (following night’s dinner ) Of the three main dishes they ordered, apparently the ‘really delicious’ Chicken with vin Jaune was rated only third…since the Pigeon dish was even more delicious and the Crawl fish Gratin was out-of-this-word!
At Chez Dummonet, they had a uber-tasty ‘sauced’ seared Foie Gras dish with size of the lobes almost as big as my daughter’s palm! Stand out of the meal was the amazing ’ Stuffed Morel Mushrooms '! The famed Boeuf Bourgignon was very good but in their opinion a touch over-rated!
I wanted to go to Chez Georges because it was Julia Child’s favorite restaurant in Paris, where she enjoyed their Sole Meunière. If Chez Monsieur was the trad power lunch spot, Chez Georges was the trad spot for the ladies who lunch. The inside restaurant is small, but they have lots of outside tables which were filled, which what seemed like lots of women shoppers (perhaps they had come from Galerie Vivienne where I shopped after lunch).
They started us off with a plate of fresh radishes. If you like radishes, you’ll be quite happy. Bread and butter was very good. We also had two glasses of champagne.
For mains, I had Chicken Georges, the MOST tender breast of chicken on a bed of onions and tomatoes in a rich brothy sauce. After a spoonful of it I said, “Wow,” out loud. The flavor of the sauce was so deep with the taste of vegetables that had been simmered for hours.
-Jerry got one of their specials of the day, Rack of Lamb and a side of String Beans. Lamb and String Beans- perfectly cooked.
A note about the two older female servers. They worked hard, very hard, bustling like crazy, yet still managed to be personable and friendly.
We had dinner there a couple of years ago. Also sitting out side. It was quite enjoyable, service was excellent, food was good and somewhere I have a picture of the most delicious profiteroles I’ve ever eaten.
I really enjoyed the people watching all the outside dining provided., a highlight of our trip.
Chez Monsieur has a much different clientele and vibe for dinner than lunch. As do lots of restos in Paris. And wow, admire your stamina. After just one heavy trad lunch, i usually vow to never eat again. Somehow I can handle it better for dinner. Did you ever get food fatigue ?
I rarely order chicken at a restaurant but the poulet au vin jaune at Auberge Bressane is an exception.
Good question NAF! If I could only go to one of these again it would be Auberge Bressane. They have a lot of soufflés on the menu including savory cheese and lobster ones and a variety of sweet ones including an order of three mini ones. And they KNOW how to make soufflés!
I was so afraid of getting palate fatigue or not being hungry that I tried to plan for this in advance. It even affected my choice of hotel. The plan was to have only one main meal a day, either lunch or dinner, and something light for the other. We pretty much stuck with that.
After pondering a number of hotels in the 6th, I settled on the Hotel Bel Ami which in addition to regular rooms has a number of “apartment-style” rooms with a separate living area which has a sink, fridge, dishes, silverware and glasses. I figured this would be ideal for us to buy food and put together light meals. And that is what we did.
We got a one bedroom apartment. On heavy lunch days I went very light on the hotel’s included hot/cold buffet breakfast, having just a power shot (orange juice, pineapple juice and fresh ginger), tea and a croissant. For dinners, we shopped at the local Monoprix for ham and other charcuterie, cheese, fruits, baguettes and wine for us to enjoy. For big dinner nights, we had a bigger breakfast and the lighter picnic lunch.
Also, notice we didn’t order appetizers. I don’t know how others could manage to eat three courses!
That said, I still had to cancel our reservations for Marcore and Joel Robuchon because we weren’t hungry enough to go to them as scheduled.