"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

L'Ami Jean -- Restaurant Review

27 Rue Mallar
75007 Paris
tel: 01 47 05 86 89
from noon to 2.30 p.m.
from 7 p.m. to midnight
Always Open
Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

  3.5 - Star........................................................................................................................3 - Bell

This restaurant has been around awhile; it’s always been very popular with locals and tourists. I have a friend who lives in the 7eme (Little America), so I asked him if he wanted to join me for lunch.
We got there at 1 pm and it was about two thirds full and we got a table next to the kitchen, which is open for viewing. I now know why it was open; the Chef Stephane Jego is quite the character. He’s like a one man show, sometimes funny, sometimes very “Gordon Ramsey” going off on his sous Chefs and helpers.  When he needed to sneeze, he’d sneezed louder than anyone I’ve ever known. So, I guess in a nutshell, he’s quite eccentric. Actually, he looks like he’s crazed. But one thing I can say, he’s a hands-on Chef, I don’t believe any plate left the kitchen without his final touch.

There are two pre-fix lunch menus, one for 35€ and another for 42€. We chose the 42€, it looked much more interesting.


For our entrée my friend had the “Tartine de - tante - coquine… Jardinier de saumon” whichliterally translates to “Aunt’s naughty tart of gardener salmon”.  I have to say, I tasted this dish and it was delicious. It had a salmon atop a nice crunchy crust and the citrusy flavors just enhanced the oiliness of the salmon. This dish was definitely a winner.

I had the “Fondue de veau de tête… Navet Boulangère en gratiné", translated to Fondue of veal’s head with the baker’s turnip gratiné.  Interestingly enough, it was served in a square plexi-glass with a bowl molded into it. My friend really liked the dish, I thought it was good, but what was a little disconcerting I bit into some tiny inedible cartilage, but the overall taste was OK, but it did not wow me like the salmon.


My friend had the “Volaille de sélection… Pochée, rôtie, ail et thym” which translates to “Selected poached chicken, with roasted garlic and thyme.”  The chicken was poached really well, and the surrounding girolles (chantrelle mushrooms) were to die for. And, they gave an extra bowl of the girolles, which we shared, in addition to mashed potatoes.

I had the “Cocotte de boeuf de race…., Girolles mitonnées” translated to Beef casserole with simmered chanterelles”.  When it first arrived in came in a bowl with what looked like a dollop of herbed butter.  Then the cocotte came and it was in a very, very hot casserole. The waitperson later spooned the cocotte into the bowl. I have to say, in addition to the salmon, this was equally my favorite dish. I know the beef was simmered in wine, but it almost had a taste of anise. I wanted to ask the Chef if he used pastis (French anise flavor liquor); whatever it was, it made it even more delicious.  The portion was huge; fortunately my friend helped me eat it.



For dessert, I had cheese with some jam. As I mentioned in previous blogs, you cannot go wrong with cheese in France.

My friend had the “Clinique du bonheur en forệt noire”, translated to Happiness Clinic in the black forest”.  It was really rich. It was the Chef’s interpretation of a Black forest cake, with lots of whip cream. It was a pretty large portion. My friend loved it, but did say it was a bit too much (portion). Interestingly, we got what look like a Chinese take out box filled with macaroons shaped like gigantic “kisses candies”, that was a nice touch.


It’s a small restaurant, extremely hectic and frantic, at times the busyness felt unnerving. The Chef doesn’t care what you hear or see in the kitchen, it can be a good sign, but at the same time annoying, since I didn’t come to watch an episode of Gordon Ramsey. The service is fast and efficient, lots of activity and running around, I felt like I was in a “Mash” unit, only the patient is the food. And, for this reason I rated them a little lower than I would normally.

Regardless, the food overall was very good. My two favorite dishes were the salmon and the cocotte. I think the 42€ pre-fix menu was a bit pricey.  Net-net go for the food, not the ambience, and definitely NOT for a quiet romantic dinner or just to even have a conversation. It’s very noisy and frenetic.

With a glass of wine, a bottle of their filtered water, which by the way I thought was free but was 5€ our bill came to 97€.

1 comment :

  1. Totally agree with your review Randy. I had the exact same feeling about the place. Though I went for dinner and the prices are very expensive!