Destination Paris / 1

There’s more than "bistronomies" among the new restaurants in the shade of the Tour Eiffel

02-05-2014
The first part of a story in which we explore the

The first part of a story in which we explore the latest arrivals on the scene of the French capital. Starting from the new creation of chef Eric Frechon, already at the Bristol and Palais. It is called Lazare (tel. +33.01.44908080) and it’s a rather large and modern brasserie which has conquered the palates of the city’s gourmets in a short time

In France, which means in Paris, there are changes taking place. It is a slow process that has been going on for quite some time and does not affect only the so called interpreters of the celebrated bistronomie, that is to say the attentive disciples of Inaki Aizpitarte who have left the most original kitchens in Europe in order to try and follow their own creative way. Even the big names in French cuisine have begun an interesting journey that aims at offering new formats or at re-launching traditional cuisine with a more modern clientele.

Granted that we’re talking of Paris, a city that enjoys a substantial tourism flow all year round (and therefore with a client basin that is much wider and varied when compared to most European capitals) it is worth giving a few examples.

One of the dishes at Frechon’s Lazare: Saint-Jacques placed on a bed of rice au pistou

One of the dishes at Frechon’s Lazare: Saint-Jacques placed on a bed of rice au pistou

The first, and one of the most interesting ones, is Lazare, the new brasserie (it opened in September 2013) by Eric Frechon, starred chef at the Bristol and at Palais. Located inside the renovated and bright Gare Saint-Lazare, the restaurant, seating over one hundred people, has quickly become one of the Parisian points of reference when it comes to eating well at moderate prices (bear in mind that this still means preparing to spend around 50 euros), thanks to a rich, tasty cuisine, capable of offering sincere and very “French” dishes in a more casual setting.

The menu, organised as a newspaper page, called “Les Petites Annonces de la Semaine” states the dishes of the day, such as Quenelles de brochet with nantua sauce, the Fowl fricassee, the Boeuf Bourguignon and the Brandade of cod au gratin. Not counting some more gourmet-style delicacies, such as the Escargot au gratin with tomato, the Seven-hour cooked lamb (confited with lemon and olives), the classic Saint-Jacques au pistou (with the surprise given by the scallops served on a bread of rice with pistou!), or the sensual desserts, such as Crepe suzette or Ile Flottante with violets.

Escargot au gratin with tomato

Escargot au gratin with tomato

We were there on a Tuesday night, seven months after the opening, and there was only one free chair at Lazare. The endless dance of the waiters, in the dining room (with some difficulties due to the tables being very close to each other) made it clear that over here the economic crisis is only a distant memory, if not something even fastidious to remember. And Lazare is open all-day, from breakfast to the afternoon tea, including after dinner, given that the bar counter that can be noticed when entering both from the train station or the little square outside, invites one to take a break.

The wine list (in which it is virtually impossible to remain under 30 euros per bottle) recites a list of names that are more typical of a great restaurant than of a brasserie (I can’t recall many brasseries offering Margaux Cantenac-Brown or Batard-Montrachet…), but one could also set on less expensive drinks such as a cider from Normandy signed by Le Pere Jules or the Pelforth Brune beer.

1. to be continued


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Spotti e mangiati

The establishments, tastes and cooking personalities in Europe, as seen by Gualtero Spotti