Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Le Bon Georges - simply a Parisian bistro


Le Bon Georges
David, 2015-07-08 12:47

Le Bon Georges Paris Bistro
Many of what are called the “new” bistros of Paris are actually just restaurants with hip young chefs painting plates with a straight line of sauce, adding some powdered radishes and a shiso leaf next to pieces of pork belly, or doing the “line-up” of food (ie: a smear of root vegetable puree down the center of the plate, with herb leaves, flowers, a dice of vegetables, and three pieces of meat). The word bistro means “quick”, harking back to a time in the early 1800s when occupying Russians soldiers would pound on the tables shouting “Bystro!” imploring the servers to more food and drink – and to do it faster.
So it’s nice to walk into a place that is simply a Parisian bistro that’s doesn’t have aspirations to be something else. Even though speed isn’t what they’re known for nowadays, bistros are still beloved by many because they serve unpretentious food in casual, sometimes well-worn, surroundings. They take people back to a time when dining was about eating well without feeling self-conscious about it, and you didn’t have to worry about being served a plate of food with so much going on that you can’t discern what the main ingredient in it is.
But truth be told, I don’t really go out to eat all that much. Mostly it’s because I like to cook. I get a lot of enjoyment roaming around the market, checking out what’s available at the stands, from ripe strawberries and wedges of oozing brie de Meaux, to bulbs of purple spring garlic (that invariably find their way into my mortar and pestle for a batch of aïoli), and ending with a stop at the charcuterie for a slab of terrine de canard with figs or perhaps a few links of herb sausages, to make a nice lunch for ourselves at home.
(Although I’ll confess that often my thoughts are on the rôtisserie parked outside the butcher shop that I know I’ll pass on the way home, loaded up with chickens sporting a crackly skin, which is holding in the juicy, tender meat underneath. Carrying the warm bag home, knowing what’s inside, makes me walk extra-fast to get home. And no matter how much I’ve bought at the market, I’ll tear into that chicken bag as soon as I get in the front door, setting my market haul aside while I yank off the skin and chow down on the poulet rôti, starting with the crispy wings, and not stopping until I realize that lunch is actually still two hours away.)
Le Bon Georges Paris Bistro
On the other hand, I live in Paris and in addition to easy access to spit-roasted chicken, and outdoor markets, there are lots of restaurants that need to be checked out. I’m often disappointed in some of the newer places, where the chefs are working hard to be creative or “make their mark,” but not necessarily putting the customer experience first. Chef and restaurant owners should think about what it’s actually like to sit down as a guest and eat the food. That’s what running a restaurant is all about. I just want good food, prepared and served by competent people who take pride in what they’re doing, whether it’s a falafel sandwich, a roasted chicken, or a fancy, three-star dinner.
Le Bon Georges Paris BistroTastes have certainly changed, but the emergence of Le Bon Georges, which has gotten a lot of accolades, makes it clear that people still hunger for the classic Parisian bistro. And for good, honest food prepared by a staff that cares.
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