August 19th, 2009 § 3 comments

The name is cute, but this is a seriously good restaurant.

There’s a story behind the name: 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. His coworkers there called him “Frenchie.”

For starters, there was a choice of crab ravioli or gazpacho. Most of us had the ravioli, delicate handkerchiefs of pasta plump with crab meat, with a bright herb sauce studded with mussels. (I wish all cooks were so judicious with the tarragon.) For mains, we had 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 dining partners.

And thank heaven for Drappier Brut Nature Zéro-Dosage Champagne, and for the person who had the good sense to order a bottle to get things started.

To finish, most of us chose the gorgonzola with Amarena cherries to go with what was left of the dolcetto (this Frenchie does not discriminate against foreign wines), but thankfully someone ordered the silky passion fruit tart. 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

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