Lordy-me, it is that time of year again - tourists bustin' out all over, all friends (or friends of...) who demand that proverbial experience of a typical French bistro, with excellent French food and wine, that will not cost a fortune. These are people who know good food, but have never been to Paris, and are relying heavily on tour book and magazine fantasies (apologies to Lobrano, Zimbeck, Lebovitz et al, but you all know you contribute to food porn!). I have my usual standbys, such as Dumonet, LRSH, Chez Georges, des Musees, as well as a few others, but would appreciate some other suggestions, as these do not always fit the bill.
Here's the list of criteria:
1) Atmosphere - The most "authentic French", possible, whether it be straight out of a Pagnol film,
heavy on the 17th C. exposed beams and stone, or all the way through Art Nouveau swoops
and swirls. "Penguin waiters". The more atmospheric the neighborhood, the better, it goes
without saying. They really, really want (and fully expect) that "Disney touch", God bless 'em...
2) Price - The most, best food for the money. Emphasis not necessarily on obscene quantity, but
a decent amount of food - without a lot of empty plate mostly filled up with sauce squiggles.
Rather a menu offering a good range of items, with a good variety in the pricing. Ordering most
probably ALC, with no degustation menus. Wines that are easy to drink, and affordable -
not an oenophile among the bunch, but they tend to be thirsty folks. What they want is a full
belly, and something to wash it down with. Figure up to 125 euros per person, wine extra,
though less expensive outings would certainly be welcome...
3) Food. - Traditional, for the most part. (Though there will always be those just wanting to
"pick at a salad", that is my sorry lot to deal with, and not what I am asking for in this post.)
Heavy on the proteins, probably no tartares; good choice of fish, again, no tartares or oysters.
Though most would be happy to taste something unfamiliar, choices would definitely not run to
offal or game, and no UFO's of the swimming variety. Otherwise, not many food allergies or
other restrictions. Would expect to have entree-plat-dessert, but would probably forego a
cheese course. The main thing, besides being "traditional", is that the food must absolutely
"taste good" - I have found this to translate to a strong preference for heavy garlic and herb
preparations, a la bourguinonne - and any "good gravy" would be a plus...
4) Expectations that are impossible to meet, and that I alone will have to deal with, but if you have
any suggestions, I am all ears - Availability: open weekends, Mondays, continuous service?
Non-touristy: I know, I know...what they want is Disneyland, without Mickey lurking about, if you
catch my drift. They want to be surrounded by anyone other than American tourists. Waitstaff:
amiable, but professional, they must speak English, but not be condescending about it.
Soooo, I think that about covers it. Any and all responses gratefully appreciated,,and I promise to
post the results sometime in June and July. Should make for good reporting...