Don’t be fooled by the cute name. This is a seriously good restaurant.
The food at Frenchie is ingredient-driven and free of gimmicks. In short, it’s the kind of food I love. In a strange reversal of the usual apprentice-making-the-pilgrimmage-to-Paris story, chef/owner Gregory Marchand has worked at New York’s beloved Gramercy Tavern and in London for Jamie Oliver. That’s right, a French guy went to the States for cooking experience and the world didn’t end. Far from it.
To start, a choice of crab ravioli or gazpacho. Most of us had the ravioli, delicate handkerchiefs of pasta over-filled with crab meat, with a bright herb sauce studded with mussels. If only all cooks were so judicious with tarragon! For mains, a choice of lamb or scallops. I had the scallops, seared and served in a bowl with white beans, artichokes, and barely-burst cherry tomatoes. It was excellent, and I would have been perfectly happy had I not tasted the lamb, so delicious and so tender, with bites of lemon confit over wilted spinach. Thank heaven for generous table mates.
And thank heaven for Drappier Brut Nature Zéro-Dosage Champagne, and for Sharon who had the good sense to order a bottle to get things started.
(Actually, we started the evening with an impromptu degustation of German rieslings at Willi’s Wine Bar. This is a dangerous group.)
For dessert most of us chose the gorgonzola with Amarena cherries to go with what was left of the dolcetto (this Frenchie does not discriminate against les vins étrangères), but thankfully someone ordered the silky passion fruit tart, and a pudding of large tapioca pearls topped with fraises des bois made its way to the table, too.
Italian reds and American resumé notwithstanding, Frenchie remains a French restaurant, and probably one of the best examples of a modern, chef-owned Parisian bistro, characterized by confident cooking, a short but ever-changing menu, a small space, and a gentle price: 35 euros will get you an entrée, plat, and dessert in the evening.
I would happily pay more for food this good.
Frenchie 5 Rue de Nil, Paris 75002, +33 (0)1 40 39 96 19 website