Dining Out Magazine

FAQ: “Don’t You Ever Eat out at High-end Places?” Indeed a New Friend Just This Month Asked Me This Very Question.

By Johntalbott
You Dear Reader may think I only go to restaurants that run a couple about or under 100 E.
“But” I say “Wait a minute, how about L’Abeille, La Tour d’Argent or 39V?  I went to them, gimme a break.”
“Not that quick;” you say “Everybody and his uncle reviewed Arola (or Epicure or Le Shang Palace or the Opera Restaurant or L’Hotel or you name it, that runs over 70 E a person before liquids and they’ll soon be beating down the doors at Helen)? What’s your problem?”
Why aren’t I out there at the three stars every night?
Well, I confess, for the most part, I’m not and you are correct.
My polls, website meters, focus groups and consultants tell me that my demographic is/are 40-60 year olds interested in new, “undiscovered” (at least by the New York Times) places and because that’s where I like going as well, that’s where I gravitate to. I just keep on trying the new ones out.
A number of decades ago, my French food finder and mentor echoed the answer Peter Ustinov’s parody of Commendatore Ferrari gave when asked why his cars’ brakes failed approaching finishes, saying something like “Any idiot can make a car go slow, but it takes a genius to make one run fast.”
He said “Anyone can buy the Michelin for 20 bucks and go to three stars every night costing $300, it takes work to find a bistro that’s great and runs one180 Francs.” P.S. He’s the guy who “found” Eric Frechon toiling up atop the Buttes Chaumont for just that before he headed downstream to the Bristol.
I might add another story I tell too much. In 1990 when Colette and I resolved to spend every day of our 365 on French soil (even vacationing in Martinique), we were treated to the best and most expensive restaurants of that era by three folks with unlimited budgets - my Editor, Re-Insurance Manager and Tax/Accounting Wizard. And, after each meal, Colette and I would exit and turn to each other and say “good food but not worth $300 or $400 or in one case $700.”
But when you walk out of Le Bouclier de Bacchus, Alain Milliat, Terroir Parisien or Atao 60-100 E a couple lighter, that’s price-quality at its best.
If you like such price-quality, you’ll find it here:
Le Bouclier de Bacchus
18, rue Saint-Lazare in the 9th (Metro: ND de Lorette)
Closed Sundays
Running one about 30-40 E a la carte depending on wine prices.
Alain Milliat
159, rue de Grenelle in the 7th, (Metro: Latour-Maubourg)
Closed Sundays and Mondays
Lunch menus 22 and 28 E, 29 and 55 E dinner
Terroir Parisien (by Yannick Alleno)
24, rue rue St-Victor in the 5th, (Metro: Maubert-Mutualite)
Open 7/7
A la carte 20-50 E
Atao : La Dame des Huitres
86, rue Lemercier in the 17th, (Metro:Brochant)
Closed Sunday night and Mondays
About 50 E pp a la carte with wine.


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