Les Fondus de la Raclette, 19 Joseph Dijon in the 18th, 01.42.58.34.22, never closed, was a throw-away meal, around the corner on cook’s night off (that is, me). It opened two months ago and I’ve been eyeing it thinking, hummm, could be interesting- and it was new in the nabe, so…. – but actually it’s not totally new, there’s another in the 14th on the Blvd Raspail.
Let’s start with the revelations:
1st as opposed to my Gold Standards – the raclette at The Monk’s Inn near Lincoln Center in the ‘60’s and every place I’ve been to in Geneva and the Savoie, whose raclette is made by scraping off raclette cheese from the wheel, here they made nothing except the wonderful baked potatoes in aluminum foil, you did all the work;
2nd the place was so full they turned folks away at 9 PM;
3rd the chief waitperson spoke “spent a year in Kansas” English and was funny, sexy and efficient at the same time;
4th miraculously they controlled the grills on each table centrally; and
5th when you got this huge platter of cheese, ham, salami, sausage and prosciutto it looked awful, supermarket stuff, eat quick and get out, but in fact was great.
OK, the negatives: unless you’re selling/buying antiques at the St Ouen flea market or living in or staying at the nearby Ibis or Eden Montmartre Hotels (both of which I can endorse) or are lost in the deepest 18th, and are dying for raclette or cheese fondue, you would never think of this place.
But for the record: 3 courses (huge) cost 21 € at night and much less at noon – I had a monumental salad with the best ever lardons (better than Aux Lyonnais) and surprising good warm goat cheese on peasant bread (that did not come – horrors – from our famous local #9 Rue du Poteau Quatre-Hommes cheesery but the mothership in the 14th); a raclette that I could finish only ½ of and was terrific (and most of all, totally destroyed my wife Colette’s theory that hot heat destroys Teflon pans – these were all white hot); and one of, if not the, best crème brulées ever.
With a spot of wine I paid 35 €. Not bad for a throw-away meal. But that’s Paris, in’t it?
*Originally published in September 2006.