There is a very popular local restaurant called Frenchie. Google it and it comes up in both French and Anglo press. One of the English language foodie sites even has a post entitled, Five Great Frenchie Substitutes. I’d heard wonderful things about what comes out of the kitchen and I was hoping to try it one day, but reservations are incredibly hard to come by (hence the need for a list of substitutions). Since Mr French is often out of town and we work late during the week, I rarely get to try places on the other side of town, or anywhere that requires any kind of advance preparation. Reservations are reserved for things like birthdays and three star restaurants.
There are so many great restaurants in Paris, that I’ve never felt deprived, but I am a curious girl and when the opportunity to dine there came up, I didn’t want to say no.
The restaurant is cute, with brick exposed walls and only about 20 place settings. Our reservation was for 19h, a bit early for Paris and I’d had to skip lunch to ensure I’d have an appetite.
It seemed like everyone had a 19h reservation, because a flood of people arrived at once. I was seated next to the toilette and every time someone went in my chair back would take a healthy blow, shoving me into the table’s edge. The waitress spoke perfect French and English, and was very nice about serving in either, or and both. We ordered at the same time as the other tables, were served at the same time as the other tables and were required to leave before 21H30. As a local girl, I found this military precision rather odd and it left me ill at ease through out the meal. There was none of the hustle and bustle of a local bistrot, and with everyone doing approximately the same thing at about the same time, I kind of felt like I was in a school cafeteria.
But I was there to eat and I was not disappointed by what was on my plate. Without taking notes, I remember having enjoyed some excellent smoked sea scallops on sautéed mushrooms with a meyer lemon cream. For the main dish there was a perfectly prepared piece of sea beam and dessert was a blood orange sorbet with slices of fruit and bits of cake. All of this accompanied by a glass of a simply delicious white wine from Greece.
The food was remarkably good. It was light and original; with flavours in foam, lovely textures and the best basic ingredients. And the wine, well after ten years here, I appreciate the opportunity to try non-French wines, this one was well worth being adventurous. I found the portions ridiculously small and as I did a bit of research this evening I found that I am not the only one. The Figaroscope review has a similar complaint, but argues their case with considerably more force.
I love a great meal, but after last night I realized how much I also appreciate a good scene, either fun and lively, or plush and romantic, depending on the soirée. Frenchie is neither and given the rhythm of the orderly service, the tiny portions and the great lengths it takes to get a table, well, I’d probably call a handful of other restaurants first; 21, Racines, Pinxos, La Table d’Aki come to mind.