4.0 Cameleon d'Arabian, 6, rue de Chevreuse in the 6th, 01.43.27.43.27 (Metro:Vavin) closed Saturday noon and Sundays, opened in 2006 to general acclaim; my notes from 2006 say:
"Old school, old prices - old son. 7.0 Le Cameleon, ... is Jean Paul Arabian’s latest venture. Arabian, of course is the ex-partner of Ghislaine and came here from Le Restaurant in Lille and Ledoyen + Pierre au Palais Royal and one place in the 18th not on his resume that none of us can recall, in Paris. He brought in Chef David Angelot from Ledoyen and since September (2006) or so has been providing fine updates of classic cuisine at reasonable prices – 25 for two, 30 € for three courses with glasses of wine at 4 € and bottles starting at 19 €. I went with my “real food critic friend” and we had a ball. The bread was first rate (Poujauran, he posited). We shared: escargots on top a sauce/soup of chopped-to-infinity parsley and fried calamari with tartare – both superb. Then we shared: a fat slice of calf’s liver that was neither top-flight product nor cooked to my specification (which would be really raw inside), but the accompaniment – macaroni with cheese (I jest not) and pork with coriander flavored carrots and tiny onions was so wonderful that it offset any lingering doubts about the liver. Finally we shared what I never would have ordered without prompting, a divine pain perdu with roasted pineapple and beer, yes beer, zabaglione. The bill with coffee, a bit more wine and a tiny digestif = 94 €, although the bar person charged us 100 €, and my famous friend didn’t dispute her math, figuring like I did that we’d tell the story of her inability to divide 94 by 2 enough times to make up the 6 €. Oh, on the way out we saw several other dishes, onglet, raie and other stuff that was equally appealing. ”Should one go?” I cannot think of a reason why not to."
Well, have things changed since he brought in a new chef and fancy plates, etc.
As an amuse, they sent out some pumpkin soup (doesn't anyone realize the pumpkin soup craze crested 10 years ago?); then one of our friends had the crab meat with celery, bean sprouts, enoki, lime and coriander; the other a Billy By soup of mussels like Maxim's once did; and I had the chinchard tartare with green apples, fennel and mango - all decent but hardly worth 16-19 E apiece a la carte (we'll get to that later.)
For mains we split up: the women having the scallops with coriander, artichokes, citrus sauce and curry; then men - the famous chateaubriand of foie de veau epais. Accompanying that was a casserole of mac 'n cheese = the hit of the meal, that alone was almost worth the trip.
For dessert, one of our guests had the assortment of red fruits, Colette had a poached pear with good caramel sauce and all of us appreciated the mignardises.
The bill; ah the bill; well, ahem, if one subtracts the 2 glasses of champagne our friends had (at 17 E each) as they waited for us to arrive on the increasingly-troubled #95 bus, and counts in a double and two single coffees (18 E) and 2 bottles of wine (84 E) and a glass of wine (comp'd or forgotten) as well as a bottle of Thonon (9 E) it turns out that a la carte, which is the way the hurried staff calculated the bill, it comes to 343 E or 171.50 E a couple - or if calculated as a formule/menu, one could escape only 124 E poorer.
Go? Not until they get a new chef and more staff who know mathematics.