My reader suggested that it’s both a new and spreading problem; which she has encountered at the Table d’Eugene, Spring, Jeanne A., Les Papilles and the Machon d’Henri. She says that on her recent visit to Paris “we ordered wine by the glass, went easy on the bread basket, declined dessert and still returned to our hotel feeling like gavaged geese.” That’s too bad.
Worse is a note I found from my beloved wife of 50 years that said there were places I’d taken her she was either not going back to or would insist on a couple of entrees only, (as we both frequently do in the US because of the impossibility of finishing a starter and main, forget the dessert), rejecting the mandatory 3-course “menu.” These places were not shabby, unknown dives – they were Dessirier, Chez Georges and Le Regalade St. Honore. Ouch.
I’ve crowed for years about the fact that the low incidence of obesity in France was contributed to by their sensible portion sizes; so why are they messing with success. Is it because customers, mainly American I suspect, although there’s a French guy I know who gripes too, complain they’re not getting enough food; or a sense that they must justify their raising the menu and carte prices, they must deliver more calories; or because like so many other fads in French cooking, once one or two guys do something, everyone feels impelled to jump in.
I feel a little like those cartoon characters in the New Yorker who carry signs saying “REPENT” because of the chefs, owners and restaurateurs keep piling on the food, we’ll all go blimpy. At 18, I liked nothing better than scarfing down a couple of dozen oysters at the old Union Oyster House and then eating all of that spilling-over-the-plate slice of roast beef at Durgin Park in Faneuil Hall, Boston, but I’m not 18 any more.
Where you can eat superbly but they have to cut back on the beef portion:
9, rue Bouchut in the 15th, ((Metro: Sevres-Lecourbe)
Menu-carte 32 E.