New Paris Restaurant: Porte 12

14 September 2014

Before September even began, reports of new openings on the Paris dining scene began trickling in, creating an almost unbearable anticipation. But the spot I was most excited to try was Porte 12, a new 32-seat neo-bistrot in the 10th arrondissement just a few blocks over from other standouts in the category – Albion, Abri, Le Richer and L’Office. Chef Vincent Crepel presides over the narrow open kitchen where he inventively plays up seasonal produce in a style greatly informed both by his travels through Asia and Europe and his experience under the tutelage of venerated chef André Chiang whose eponymous restaurant in Singapore was ranked 6th best in Asia for 2014. Chiang’s cooking is anchored in French technique and hinges on a number of tenets – Unique, Texture, Memory, Pure, Terroir, Salt, South, and Artisan – many of which have followed Vincent into his own kitchen. Tucked into a quiet pocket off the rue Faubourg Poissonnière, the space itself is discreet, subdued in style but with a few design statements that instantly catch your attention, chief among them the corset-shaped light fixtures that recall the structure’s former incarnation as a textile and lingerie atelier. This pared down focus translates […]…

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Paris Restaurant Report: Café des Abattoirs

7 September 2014

As vegetable-driven menus and Anglo-inspired comfort food predominate the Paris dining scene, the future of classic, meat-focused restaurants is ever uncertain. When food trends become inextricably and narrowly tied to how young and innovative the presiding chef is, do classic grills and brasseries still have a place among the rest? Caroline and Sophie Rostang, daughters of the Michelin-starred chef Michel Rostang, offer a resounding YES! to that ever-abiding question. And because they believe so strongly that steakhouses old and new should and can be preserved in the pantheon of French dining establishments, they opened their own. Cafédes Abattoirs is the Rostang update of a Lyonnaise bouchon with a menu dominated by little-known/forgotten cuts of meat and old school dishes. When I asked Caroline Rostang about the decision to create such a venture when what diners appear to seek out these days are lighter, healthier fare, she explained that they don’t need to rely on culinary trends to stay relevant. “Meat has always been a fixture of French gastronomy and is still loved, despite periods of unpopularity. We wanted to give it the attention it deserves”. Can you really argue with that? For more on Café des Abattoirs and what you can expect […]…

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Where to Eat in Paris: 10th Arrondissement

13 January 2014

Despite reading this site for over four years and listening to me ramble on about new food movements and young, rising chefs in Paris, my mother had no requests or preferences when it came to dining out during her visit. The ball is was in my court (or rather, the feat – most restaurants were shuttering for the holiday season); I was tasked with giving her the local perspective and she’ll be the first to tell you her experience was richer for it. Sadly, not all travelers search beyond guidebook stalwarts or their friend’s glowing review of a prosaic corner café they tried on their sole visit to the city. For every magazine or newspaper article that extols the virtues of inventive new spots or even the top tables for classic French fare, visitors will continue to end up at places that peddle an erstwhile image of Parisianness like Les Deux Magots, Brasserie Lipp, Angelina, Chartier and others but ultimately prioritize style over substance. But if what you’re seeking is an experience at one of the many places shaping, improving and evolving the Paris food and drink scene that weigh quality and ambience equally -some quintessentially French in design, others […]…

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Lobster & Oysters in Paris

25 November 2013

Gourmet comfort food continues to shape the Paris dining scene but lately, it hasn’t been new burger joints jostling for space between coffee shops and cocktail bars but a different stripe of casual restaurant. From lobster rolls to wild oysters, established chefs and budding tastemakers are cozying up to shellfish. I wrote about six of them for the December issue of Conde Nast Traveller and have included an excerpt below for your Paris food itineraries! *** It’s no easy feat to procure fresh lobster from Brittany year-round but that’s just what they do at the matchbox-size Lobster Bar, the city’s first outpost for New England-inspired lobster rolls. Chic Montmartre bistro Jeanne B earns high marks for its Lobster Croque, an inventive rendition of the French lunchtime classic combining finely chopped Canadian lobster, thin slices of toasted brioche and a delicious Mornay sauce. At Frenchie-to-Go, the Anglo-inspired deli from renowned chef Gregory Marchand, the lobster roll is king and comes with a beurre blanc sauce, sprinkled with celery leaves and served with crisp fries. It washes down beautifully with the house ginger beer. It’s not only the first-rate cocktails and micro-brewery beers on tap that draw crowds at Le Mary Celeste […]…

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Blend: Gourmet Burgers in Paris

17 January 2012

If a Californian burger truck in Paris doesn’t fit your style of dining there’s yet another (sit-down) burger joint to have joined the wave of American comfort food imports. I realize that in telling you about Blend, three weeks fresh on the market, I’m revealing just how insatiable my cravings are for burgers. Insatiable and perhaps erring on the excessive. Some of you might ask why it would even be worth seeking out a burger place in Paris if you come from a country that does them right. I think it’s always interesting to try familiar cuisine in other countries because the interpretation is often remarkably different. I love taking Mr. C to French restaurants in the States because many times, we both find ourselves blown away by the American take on French classics. My motivation to try Blend a mere day after returning from China went beyond a desire to wean off my dumplings and noodle diet. I wanted to go because it was a friend’s big debut. You might remember in Camille Malmquist‘s Franco File Friday feature that I mentioned she was slated to become the pastry chef for Blend before year’s end and after several months of baking and […]…

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