In my neighborhood, a pretty dingy eating establishment has recently undergone a facelift and its new awning outside proclaims it to be La Timbale - Brasserie Bistro Restaurant Café Bar.
“Well which,” demand I to myself of course?
Are you a brasserie, a bistro, a restaurant, a café or a bar? You cannot be all five – or can you?
In prior essays I’ve discussed the differences between, among and evolution of brasseries and bistrots and zincs, bistrots and bars. Here let’s deal with subcategories of bistrots and restaurants.
Francois Simon’s “Croque Notes” in a Saturday-Sunday’s Figaro in 2004 had an article entitled “A New Atlas of Gastronomy,” in which he drew a chart with two axes: Ethnic-Terroir (the “Y” axis = North-South) and Tradition-Futurism (the “X” axis = West-East). The Ducassians and Robuchonistes are smack in the center; ethnic chic chefs are between Ethnic and Tradition; Gourmet Bistros, Micheliners, Old School, Best cook and workers of France and Slow food chefs are between Tradition and Terroir; the “Neo-pures” are between Terroir and Futurism and Singulars, Fooding, Generation C, Schoolchildren food and the Molecular folks between Ethnic and Futurism. He then listed the star chefs in 15 categories, as follows:
Yves Camdeborde at Le Comptoir
Thiery Breton at Chez Michel
Didier Elena at Les Crayeres in Reims
Franck Cerutti at Louis XV in Monte Carlo
La Famille and soon Chateaubriand under Frederic Peneau and Inaki Aizpitare
David Zuddas at Prenois
Pascal Barbot at l’Astrance
Thierry Marx at Cordellian Bage
Best cooks in France
Michel Blanchet in Maison-Lafitte
Jean Bardet in Tours (now closed)
Best workers (MOF) in France
Philippe Legendre at Le Cinq
boring food providers, not named to avoid retaliation
Jacques Decoret in Vichy
Marc Veyrat in Megeve
Michel Guerard in Eugenie les Bains
Michel Bras at Laguiole
Schoolchildren’s food (kid brothers of “le fooding”)
Antoine Hernandez at the Atelier Robuchon
Frederic Anton at Pre Catalan
Oliver Roellinger in Cancale
Marco Tonazzi at I Golosi
What can we learn from this? I suspect very little except to see that Simon is a splitter (in nosology jargon) rather than a lumper.
One thing of interest, however, is that one does find bistrots in several categories – Gourmet bistrots, Le Fooding and Schoolchildren’s food – the rest falling under restaurants.
I think we’ve got to plunge on. Next week more variety.
Of all the above I’ve got to admit a fondness for:
10 rue de Belzunce, 10th (Metro : Gare du Nord)
T : 01 44 53 06 20
Closed Sunday, Monday and all of August.
About 30 € a la carte