"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)!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chez Fred -- Restaurant Review

190 bis, boulevard Pereire - Paris 17ème
 Porte-Maillot or Bus PC1 or PC3
Closed Sundays
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+)
  4 - Star..............................................................€€............................................................2 - Bell

We normally don't go to the 17eme for meals, since it's across town and takes a minimum of 45-minutes.  But we love trying new restaurants that our good friend J recommends we try. It's an easy enough place to find; it's very close to "Palais des congrès de Paris".  

As you enter the restaurant, on the left is a salad bar, not common in Bistros.

The inside of the restaurant was actually quite inviting. The restaurant has been around a very long time. In fact, our friend J mentioned that his friend used to go there as a child and it was particularly popular for a family week-end meal.  The restaurant is now owned by Alain Piazza with Jean-François Robert at the helm.  

It was decorated with interesting antique "bric-à-brac", such as military hats and puppets on the wall. There was even an antique ceramic oven and a cooper wood burning stove. So, lots of interesting things to catch your eyes.

This is a typical Lyonnaise style of cooking, wherein some dishes can be quite heavy with cream. So, I had to be very careful since I am lactose intolerant.


Two had the "salad gésier confit".  Gésiers are gizzards. I loved this dish. The gésiers were served warm and whole. Typically they are sliced and I've only had them cold in a salad up until today. It was served over mixed greens with a light vinaigrette dressing.  JJ thought it may have been a tad salty, but I thought they were perfect for my palette. 

I ordered the "Os à moelle, gros sel" (bone marrow with coarse salt). I figured what the hell, I'll have something rich since I won't be having a creamy dish for my "plat".  The plate was screaming hot. The waiter will warn you that it's hot, but I wanted to see how hot it really was, so I lightly touched, and it's HOT! In fact, it stayed hot the whole time I had the plate.  The bone was split length-wise rather than the normal round, so it made scooping out the marrow very easy.  It was served with toast, and I added just a dab of dijon mustard to the toast to cut the fat a little and then topped it with the marrow. It was delicious, but it is rich!


Two had the "La quenelle de brochet bisque de crustacés" (Pike quenelles shellfish bisque). This is a very typical Lyonnaise dish. It's basically finely shredded fish folded into eggs and poached, sort of like quenelle shaped "fish dumplings".  And, the sauce is typically a bisque made from shellfish such as crab or shrimp.  It looks enormous because of all the eggs used for the quenelles.  I only took a little bite of it since I am lactose intolerant. The flavors were good, but I personally found the quenelles heavier than I would've normally expected.  My guess is they used more whole eggs than egg whites, and a heavier hand with the flour, so a bit of a heavier texture, albeit not bad, but heavy! It was served with a side of rice. 

I had the recommended special of the day, "gigot d'agneau" (leg of lamb).  As typical in France it was served rare. This is a personal preference, but initially I would've liked mine maybe cooked a little bit more.  However, as I started gorging on the meat I started liking it rare and quite enjoyed it. It was very tasty, and served with a light demi-glace sauce. It was quite good and it was served with "flageolet beans".


The food was quite heavy for me, since the portions seemed larger than typical.  So, I skipped my usual dessert of cheese, and the two J's shared the "gateaux aux chocolat" (chocolate cake), I didn't have any but the two J's said it was quite good. JJ said the cake had more of the consistency of a heavy mousse than an actual cake. It sat atop a tasty caramel sauce. The cake seemed to be on a base of crumbled "speculoos".


I'm typically not a fan of Lyonnaise style cooking. I find it a bit heavy for me, and the creams are hard for me to digest. But if you like Lyonnaise style cooking, then this is the place to go. It was definitely worth schlepping out to the 17eme to eat at this restaurant. They have daily specials. 

For 3-people, a soda, 3-pots of Loire Anjou (Cabernet Franc), and 2-coffees our bill came to 169€. 

NOTE: There are a few outdoor tables for al-fresco dining as well!

1 comment :

  1. Update: We went back on April 13, 2015, and the food was just as delicious as when we first went. We most definitely plan on going again!