Destinations Magazine

The Exception That Proves the Rule: A Well-reviewed American Chef at l'Office in the 9th.

By Johntalbott
I recently wrote and posted an essay substantiating some persons’ belief that Paris restaurants with North American chefs open to the sound of one hand clapping while every crummy pizzeria gets star treatment by the French critics.
But there is one exception that proves the rule and that is L’Office in the 9th. Opened several years ago and chef’d by French chefs it was not bad at all. In fact I called it the best value of the spring in 2007.
Then the chef/owner (Nicolas Scheidt, Gregory [Frenchie] Marchand’s brother-in-law departed for Belgium and it had a number of British chefs (at least one trained by Jamie Oliver), during which period I did not go. And I heard no buzz prompting me to revisit.
However, last October it was acquired by yet another French guy, Charles Compagnon, who Le Fooding says has worked at the James Beard Foundation in New York and he brought in two Yanks, Kevin O’Donnell and his compatriot Mike, both of whom trained at, among other places, Del Posto as well as other continental restos.
Get to the point Dad.
OK, in October the culinary world shifted its opinion about L’Office and I daresay of American chefs and it’s been garnering kudos ever since. I’ve only eaten there twice but have been mightily impressed.
If one looks up “The exception that proves the rule” various sources say that the phrase is really contradictory but that a small exception proves that the more general rule is valid. So while I rejoice that L’Office has been acclaimed, it remains a shame that places like Spring, Verjus and Catherine Reed remain underappreciated.
3 Rue Richer in the 9th (Metro: Cadet)
Closed Saturday lunch and Sundays
A la carte 16-35 €


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