written by LESLIE BRENNER
photographs by LESLIE BRENNER
Hey, hon —
Paris is more delicious than ever — found a trio of sympa [English: nice] spots you’ll love.
Cool kids in the Marais hang out at Le Mary Celeste. Looks like a beach bar, very relaxed and open-air, with splendid cocktails (try the Sel Gosse: gin, manzanilla sherry, Nikka Yoichi 10 year-old-whiskey, absinthe — yes!) and dazzling little plates to share from chef Haan Palcu-Chang. Wilted endive salad with mint, nam pla[fish sauce], caramelized shallots; tartare of veal from Pays Basque with pickled beets and dill; brilliantly vibrant berry gazpacho for dessert. Sexy stuff. Go. Don’t dress up.
Must do lunch at Les Cocottes — Christian Constant’s sleek place on rue Saint-Dominique in the 7th. No reservations; “Venez tôt,” as its website says: “Come early.” Opens at noon. Grab a seat at the counter, better to schmooze with the chefs. Everything comes in those darling black cast-iron cocottes. Daily specials are fabulous. Don’t miss the ravioles de langoustines avec mousseline d’artichauts. A suprême of pigeon with confit thighs, baby fennel and gorgeous carrots slayed me — so saucy and earthy and elegant, very autumnal. I wanted to move in. Potatoes caramelized in duck fat, filled with pied de cochon — pig’s foot — are stunning. Lovely wines by glass or carafe, pas cher [cheap]. Don’t fret over the dessert menu: Just ask for “le fabuleux” — the silky, ganache-robed chocolate tart Constant serves at all his restos.
Have you been to Le Coq Rico, the spot for all things poultry on Rue Lepic? Up by Montmartre. You can get a whole bird for two or three to share. Bressechicken. Baby duck from Dombes, confited then roasted. They present the whole bird at table, then take it away to carve. Comes with killer frites. I loved the crisp-skinned pintade (Guinea hen) from a farm in Challans, done up with crisp-roasted potatoes and intense melting tomatoes. Starters rocked: salmon-roe-topped oeuf à la coque (soft-boiled egg) with crisp-edged mouillettes doused in seaweed butter for dipping; a beautiful cold soup of minted courgette (sounds so much nicer than zucchini!) with a quenelle of poultry rillettes with fresh goat cheese. Its bowl was lined in gelée — so smart. For dessert? You want the île flottante. Because it’s all about the egg. A chicken dessert, soft meringue in a sea of crème anglaise. Clucking great.
I got your favorite neighborhoods covered, yes? Best of all, they’re all open 7/7. Even Sunday, which, in Paris, is really something.
LESLIE BRENNER is the restaurant critic and dining editor for The Dallas Morning News. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/lesbren, facebook.com/leslie.brenner or on Instagram @lesliebrenner.