I tried L'Ami Jean tonight after a lot of raves from friends and this board. I liked the homey vibe of the place although off the bat I didn't really dig the waiter's (I think it was Mario as described on this board) jokey demeanor (ie pretending to not actually let us have the menu, etc.) Maybe condescending...or more probably just his personality. Either way, didn't love how the meal started. I was hoping to do the tasting menu but no one else wanted to so for an appetizer Mario said he would surprise me (I guess trying to simulate the tasting I wanted originally) and for the main I ordered the cochon. The "surprise" was an orzo cooked like risotto with chestnuts and ham which was delicious and comforting. The cochon came with an enormous amount of skin on pork (belly?) and another preparation of pork (maybe the cheek). The latter was tender and flavorful. But the skin on the pork was not fully rendered so it wasn't crispy at all and quite hard to cut through. The meat below was really too fatty (and this is coming from someone who cooks porchetta). There was definitely good flavor there but the cooking of the meat fell short. Question: is this something you guys would call to the attention of the waiter? I have no problem when it's things like a burger overcooked or something blatant (ie. "there seems to be a finger in my spaghetti") But in this case, I felt hesitant to comment on something specific like the crispiness of the skin...maybe not to have to confront the waiters or ruin the nice vibe at our table of 4. Still at 40 euro for the dish, that should be cooked better. The famous rice pudding was great.
So far I've had an unbelievable time eating in Paris the last three days. Highlights so far have been:
best chocolate croissant of my life at Ble Sucre
oysters and muscadet at Baron Bouge
veal brains and duck/foie gras pie at Clown Bar
caviar macaron at Herme
buckwheat crepe with Bordier butter at Breizh Cafe
Amazing dinner at Le Servan (first time eating bulots with mayo, scallops with mushrooms, salsify, and marrow, whole roasted pigeon with grilled endive, and poached pear with chestnut cream and ice cream
escargot chocolat/pistache and chause aux pommes at Pain et Idees
Also got one of their Pain des Amis and ate with an incredibly ripe Langres and an epoisses-like cheese I got in the Marche D'Aligre area. Think the place was called L'Alpage. Ate this by the Seine across from the Notre Dame (cliche?) on a windy night.
Finally, some caramels from Jacques Genin. Can't really argue with that level of sweets.
Have a little more time here, anything that might round it out well? Places I've read about or wanted to revisit: Au Passage, Clamato, Chez Dumonet, Bistrot Paul Bert, Septime, Chez Denise, L'ebbachoir, Relais Du Entrecote. Or maybe I'll go back to Le Servan...