We returned yesterday from a long weekend in Paris. Our restaurant selections for dinner for each of the 4 nights were carefully made, after a lot of research and much help from fellow Chowhounds.
We had 4 terrific dinners and would return to each of these places again - and as soon as possible.
(1) Chez L'Ami Jean - This is the only one where we had dined before, so we knew what to expect
in terms of menu, cramped quarters, somewhat frenetic atmosphere - and all of that was fine with us.
We deliberately picked this place for our first night in Paris, feeling the energy and liveliness (not to
mention Jego's clapping and occasional yelling at his servers!) would help us to get past our jet lag - it did. We chose the 5-course tasting menu and were delighted with the menu, the quality of the food, the pace at which the courses were served and everything. The menu was Watercress soup with mushrooms and bacon; quail with mushroom risotto; sea bass; pork cheeks. For dessert, we
each were given two small desserts ( a mont blanc and a pineapple concoction - not sure what), as well as a pot of the delicious rice pudding. Over the course of the 2 and 1/2 hour dinner, we enjoyed two wines from the southwest: a bottle of cahors and a half bottle of irouleguy. We walked (waddled) out of there very satisfied with the food, the service, the wine and the experience.
(2) Reed - Reed is a delightful small bistro in the 7th, open only since last May. In contrast to
the loudness and frenzy of Chez L'Ami Jean, Reed is a restaurant where people can dine over
a very lovely meal and have good conversation with one another, with other patrons and with the
chef-owner. Our starters consisted of foie gras with grapes and balsamic and a terrine of
foie gras and pheasant - both delicious. For mains, I chose the blanquette de veau and my husband had a risotto with artichoke hearts, Parma ham and pesto. Over dinner, we shared a 2009 Bordeau
(very good) and concluded our meal with coffee and dessert (lemon cheesecake and a chocolate mousse cake). In addition to the good food and wine, we really liked the setting: open kitchen, taupe walls with high ceilings, deep red banquettes, some framed black and white WWII era photographs the owner found in the basement during renovations. Our evening here was delightful in all respects and we would not hesitate to return. (Reed, 11, bis rue Amelie, 01-45-55-88-40;
(3) Violons D'Ingres - Christian Constant's lovely restaurant on rue St. Dominique is well known to
Chowhounders - and it is open on Sundays, a real bonus. We had a late dinner here after the
opera and had a very enjoyable meal and very pleasant, attentive but not intrusive service. After
glasses of champagne, we started with a watercress soup with oysters and a millefeuille of calf tongue and foie gras. Both were great, but the "millefeuille" was outstanding. Our mains were
scallops with squid ink risotto and roasted pigeon (from the farm rather than the Paris streets, I was
assured) with green Puy lentils - both delicious. We shared a Haut-Medoc with dinner and finished our meal with coffees and a shared tarte tatin.
(4) Josephine (Chez Dumonet) - I had been wanting to dine here for at least 5 years and it did not
disappoint - truly a classic. I am so very glad I had been warned by posters on this board that
portions were gargantuan. Even so warned and having exercised some restraint in ordering, we
were not able to finish all of our food and had no room for cheese or dessert. When we were seated, we each were presented with a glass of a dry white Rhone (their house white?) and an
amuse bouche of I'm not sure - roasted red pepper bisque?? For starters, my husband had the herring with onions and potatoes and I had a "half" portion of terrine of foie gras. (I say "half" because the menu called it a half portion; in any other restaurant, it would be a full portion.) For
mains, we had the roasted veal with pommes puree and a half order of the boeuf bourgignon, while
sharing a 2007 bordeau. We had to cancel the cheese plate we had ordered and finished the evening with coffees. We liked everything about this restaurant - very good food, nicely presented;
steady, relaxed pace to the meal; the classic decor (with a few sailing posters thrown in). We had a reservation for the 9:30 seating and that is what we would/will do next time: very relaxed, no concern with being hurried along to make room for the 2nd seating.
Thank you fellow Chowhounders for all of your help in planning the meals for our trip - a real success!