News of a
favorite classic French restaurant, Moissonnier,
closing from a reader (thanks for the tip, Annette) reminded me of the
challenges of running a good restaurant. The food was traditional French,
done right, prepared with care by the chef/owner, with his wife tending
to the details in the dining room. A drive-by location, and a younger
generation not as interested in quenelles in
cream sauce as their grandparents (and me), were perhaps factors for
their closing. Or maybe the owners were just ready to retire.
it was a perfect chance to visit Café
de la Nouvelle Mairie with my friend Michael,
who’s visiting from San Francisco, before he headed south to attend a
wedding. He suggested lunch in the 5th arrondissement, where he was
staying, and I suggested meeting here.
lamenting a closing, it’s a reminder that the Parisian bistro has been
going through a reboot during the last decade or so. Some of the places
that have sprung up in the last few years are still finding their way.
movement, that promised a return to casual dining, and freshness, in many
cases evolved into showplaces for young chefs trying to impress by
audacity, rather than to satisfy. The carefully balanced plates with bits
of meat, the obligatory root vegetable, a flower here and there, herbs
you’ve never heard of (and wonder where they find in Paris), along with
brushstrokes of sauce, works well when they’re done right. But when they
aren’t, I’m left not feeling satisfied, and even a little cheated.