Food Intelligence, the source of 90% of the news that we republish on Paris by Mouth, recently reported on some big changes at one of my favorite bistros, Chez Michel. Responding to Bruno’s luscious photos (and in absence of any other plan), I booked a last-minute table on cold-and-rainy Wednesday for a dinner with my former roommate. On my way out the door, a visiting food writer in similarly unbooked straits asked for some advice on where he could go. So Food Snob turned up too, along with James Syhabout and some other culinary pals. I fawned over James, who was utterly delightful on the Omnivore stage, and then settled in for my long-overdue dinner with Kate.
Bruno’s news, that Thierry Breton had ripped out several tables and installed a giant oven in their place, is true enough. A beautiful sight, the stove is tucked away in a different section of the restaurant and not a part of the main dining room. It enables Breton to do a lot of slowly baked dishes, like a potimarron purée that’s ladled from the charred and hollowed squash itself. My volaille fermiere luttée en cocotte (a chicken pot pie studded with morsels of foie) was done in that same oven and served with roasted scorsemères (salsify). The oven also enables Breton to collect and use the crazy delicious jus as condiment. There’s a flagrant drizzle of these roasting juices atop his starter of scrambled, truffled eggs, but their profoundly comforting flavor permeates other dishes as well.
As for the price, it seems on paper to be a big jump from 35€ to 50€. But anyone who abandoned the previous prix-fixe to answer the siren call of the supplements carte can tell you that it was was always 50€ anyway. The pricing now is just much more direct. My only grumble: Chez Michel used to have a staggering cheese course and on this night, with this price jump, offered only fromage blanc. It was a very good one, flecked with the bright green chives and shallot, but come on…
The aforementioned Snob delivered his approval by Skype this morning, although we agreed that the kouign-aman was not so miam-miam. Including far too much wine (a Charles Hours’ Jurançon, a bit of Foillard Fleurie, some bubbly “tant-mieux” VdT ), our tab for two was around €165. A less indulgent pair could escape for €40 less.
10 Rue de Belzunce, 75010
Closed Saturday and Sunday
01 44 53 06 20
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