I realized that periodically I need to update prior columns, lest I leave folks with the sense that everything is stagnant in Paris. So here are some new findings.
Update to: “Finding Good Seafood in Paris” (Column #1)
In April, I tested several new seafood places, all of which measured up to lesser or greater degrees. The tops was certainly Caroline and Michel Rostang’s relatively new place (mid-December) in Neuilly – Jarasse. Just one metro stop outside the city, this classy place is an outstanding success. As with her prior seafood haunt, now sadly under other than Rostang-management – Le Bistro Cote Mer – this place provides good product at reasonable prices with an excellent and affordable wine list. I couldn’t find a chink in the Rostang armor; the waitstaff were superb, the food well-prepared and the décor and ambiance charming.
Another winner is Boulogne-sur-Mer, a play on words, since it’s in landlocked Boulogne-Billancourt, not on the Coast of the Pas de Calais, but it has seafood worthy of its cousin city. In what was and still is a fish boutique, the owners have carved out a terrace for eating between the boxes of shellfish on the sidewalk and the counters of fish inside. Its prices are dazzling, 1/3 or less than you’d pay a few Metro stops back towards town. I had oysters that were great and a bar draped with a sauce straight from that served with quenelles de brochet.
Update to: “You want me to go out where?” (Column #3)
Let me start with the no-starter by describing how to get there: go to the Montparnasse Station and take a commuter train (yes, those nasty old aluminum tubes that look ancient and decrepit but on which thousands of suburbanites depend each day). They run every 15 minutes, take 12 minutes to get to the Bellevue stop in Meudon, and then you walk all of a minute and a half to an ancient-looking auberge by the tracks. The place is called l’Escarbille and you could be 100 kilometers in the countryside but with food is the equal of starred places. It has been well reviewed, will never be over-run by Parisians, and is an ideal spot to stop at en route to Rambouillet or Versailles, a few stops farther on. I had a bisque of cooked langoustines and their shells with four tender ones floating on top of a lot of reduced dead critters and a pigeon that was simply awesome. Now my challenge is to get my gang to agree to go to this new Magnolias; it’s well worth the extra 15 minutes.
Then there are the two seafood places I described above, Jarasse which is two stops into Neuilly on the #1 Metro and Boulogne-sur-Mer, which is one stop beyond the Porte d’Auteuil on the #10 line. Now we’re not talking about Siberia here; both neighborhoods are upscale and pleasant to walk through – why are they seen as “so far?”
Finally, here’s a place inside the peripherique and even the petit ceinture, but to most folk, it’s nowhere, unless you’re staying at the Novotel: Hier & Aujourd’hui, a few steps from the Porte d’Asnieres. Where? Oh way out there. I’m not touting this as the next Magnolias at all, indeed I found the food on the edge not between yesterday and today but banal and daring. My guess is that the chef, ex-Guy Savoy, while following the Food Biz formula, will find his footing and within two years, move downtown. Let’s watch.
Finally, an update to “How do you stay so fit and eat the way you do” – (Column #24)
Since March, a couple of shows have opened that I used to work off a few calories acquired in the restos: specifically: the Inca show (and indeed the whole renovated space) at the Petit Palais; a wonderful show of photos from time immemorial at the brasserie La Coupole that was supposed to close at the end of April but I suspect will be help over and a show of Magritte works on paper at the Musee Maillol/Dina Vierny.
Another one not to miss is on films made in or about Paris, at the Hotel de Ville, in which you do more standing and watching than walking but is so evocative you’ll swoon.
*Originallypublished in May 2006.
As usual, here are my favorites for you try:
4 ave Madrid in Neuilly (Metro : Pont de Neuilly)
T : 01.46.24.07.56
« Jarasse » menu 38 €, a la carte 40-80 €.
11 bis, ave JB Clement Boulogne-Billancourt (Metro : Jean Jaures)
T : 01.46.04.12.87
Closed Sunday and Monday (lunch Tuesday-Saturday, dinner only Friday and Saturday)
A la carte 20-35 €.
Hier & Aujourd’hui
145 rue de Saussure, 17th (Metro: Periere)
Closed Saturday lunch and Sundays
Lunch menu 26 €, a la carte 35 €.
8, rue de Velizy in Dept. 92 (Meudon) (Train stop: Bellevue)
Closed Saturday lunch and Sunday night and Mondays
Menu-carte 36 €.