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Paris trip report: Au Bon Accueil, Le Pre Verre, Le Coupe Chou

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Paris trip report: Au Bon Accueil, Le Pre Verre, Le Coupe Chou

Maxine | May 26, 2006 01:16 PM

I just spent a week in Paris and wanted to add to the great posts here. Part of the reason for the trip was to attend a few cooking classes, at Le Cordon Bleu and at La Cuisine de Marie Blanche. Marie Blanche is more hands on, the students get their hands dirty while Madame oversees, but Le Cordon Bleu is Le Cordon Bleu. I highly, highly recommend it. There are reasonably-priced courses lasting a couple of hours which you can sign up for on the website. The translator does an excellent job and the food is fantastic. Also, you may want to visit the cooking shop Dehillerin (Les Halles metro), where you can find many sizes of ladles, whisks, copper pans, silicone bakeware, molds, you name it. Nothing has a price tag (you have to consult a directory hanging on the wall) and the assistants are either aloof or annoying, but having been here since 1820, the shop is a sight to see.

Restaurants--
La Terrasse: A corner cafe next to the Ecole Militaire metro stop in the 7th. A nice chevre salad with green beans and four rounds of cheese on toast, with a glass of white wine.

L'Arcade: This is on the same plaza as La Fontaine de Mars and is under new management. Had a starter of scallops, then beef. Okay food, good service. Went to Fontaine de Mars a few months back, the roast chicken with morels and rice was delicious but at 25 euros it's steep for what it is. On the same street are three restaurants owned by the same chef, named Constant: Violin de Ingres (the most formal and pricey), Cafe Constant (reasonable) and another whose name I can't recall, on the same plaza mentioned above. It's a tiny seafood place. All looked appealing.

Le Coupe Chou: Avoid. Made the mistake of reserving here because I wanted someplace romantic, but it was a big disappointment (dark and dreary rather than quaint and romantic, the welcome and the waiter were indifferent and unhelpful, it was full of what seemed to be young Americans on honeymoon and the food was very mediocre). Looking back, on such a beautiful spring night we should have gone to one of the nearby terraces instead.

Au Bon Accueil: Great classy place, with a few tables on the street with an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower (a couple of blocks away). The portions are small but the food is flavorful and well presented. I had a salad with lardons, followed by pieces of roast chicken, and boyfriend had sardines (three, on a bed of chopped fruit), followed by lamb. The dinner menu was 31 euros per person without wine (tasty Cotes du Ventoux Domaine du Cascavel 2002), and 27 euros for the lunch menu. We reserved that afternoon. The menu prices at some restaurants increase greatly at dinner, but here there is little difference.

Le Pre Verre: Less formal than Au Bon Accueil, more of a wine bar. My most memorable meal of the trip. From the 25.50-euro lunch menu (there is a cheaper one), I had cheese blancmange with green asparagus, followed by a straightforward beef and a most amazing white chocolate mousse on rhubarb compote. The waiters were a bit harried and I find that service is usually worse when I eat alone, but the chef came around to say "bon appetit" and sort of preside at the door, which made up for it. The cheese blancmange was a nice foil for the sauteed asparagus. There was also a bright green coulis and green marmalade (tomato maybe) dotted around the plate. I find that the beef in France is often not very good, but I'm a somewhat picky eater and didn't want the cheaper menu which consisted of duck or pate in the form of a sausage (not sure exactly what it was). The beef was accompanied by a nem made of mashed potato in a wrapping. Apparently the chef spent time in Asia and incorporates those influences here. The dessert was scrumptious: the richness of the mousse contrasting with the tangy rhubarb was mouth watering. I waited for a table for about 10 minutes.

Bistro de Ma Bourgogne: This is across the street from Ma Bourgogne and shares some of its menu. Nothing special and 4-euro Cokes (not unusual). Run-of-the- mill chevre salad and the shrimp in the shrimp salad weren't fresh (they were those tiny ones that come in plastic from the grocery store). Another lesson to avoid touristy places, it's just not worth the disappointment.

Berthillon: Delicious ice cream, you must try the chocolate. The lines can be long.

Picnics: Two. One at the Square de Vert Galant (leek quiche, chicken sandwich, brie and a baguette) and one on the Champ de Mars (Chinese takeaway).

Places I checked out without eating there:

Alcazar: a large, high ceilinged room, somewhat cold or institutional for my liking.

Les Bookinistes: Near the St. Michel metro stop and the Seine, looked a bit formal, didn't see anything I wanted on the menu so moved on.

Ze Kitchen Gallerie: Next door to Les Bookinistes, looked to be a similar price range and setting.

Le Procope: This is said to be the oldest cafe in Paris, it looked quite inviting with several different rooms and comfy-looking chairs.

I love Paris!

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