Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cafe de la Nouvelle Mairie


Cafe de la Nouvelle Mairie
David, 31 Aug 03:18 AM

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.
Nevertheless, 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.
Instead of 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. The bistronomy 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.
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