The generous eggs-mayo at Chez Georges came with a garnish of sliced tomatoes.
On a steaming day back in July, I sank gratefully into my seat in the comfortably air-conditioned back room at Chez Georges, an old-style, seemingly eternal …
Pros: Kind service, lots of space, good wines, a perfect bistro experience.
Cons: A pain in the pocketbook
On a steaming day back in July, I sank gratefully into my seat in the comfortably air-conditioned back room at Chez Georges, an old-style, seemingly eternal bistro I had often passed by and shied away from after seeing the prices. My friend had heard that it had changed hands (an urban myth?) and remembering it fondly from times past, suggested we give it a try.
It is definitely the kind of place you would like to adopt if you won the lottery, a madeleine among bistros, with its kind, matronly waitresses and changeless postwar aura. Only the patrons have aged. Untouched by nouvelle cuisine, or even bistronomy, it does old favorites, and does them in generous style: frisée au lardons with a poached egg, egg mayonnaise, sweetbreads with morels.
Both of us homed in on the sweetbreads, at an eye-watering €34, and, all resistance being useless, we ignored inner promptings that we should be trying as much of the menu as possible.
For starters, the salad and eggs mayo were perfect incarnations of those dishes. The chefs were not playing with our food. We did not have to worry about whether it would come deconstructed. Built like houses, they were, and they would have set a manual laborer up for the afternoon.
The sweetbreads, too, were perfectly executed. My companion had been disappointed by a foray into sweetbreads the previous day, but now he positively glowed. Nor was there the slightest hint of grit in the notoriously difficult-to-clean fungi served with them. Nor again, any attempt to depart from hallowed cooking and presentational practices.
This, and the cheery bottle of Loire red, set us up for dessert – a rum baba (the bottle left on the table), which we shared. Had we been observing Ramadan or been manual laborers ourselves, we might have been tempted to go a whole one each. But one, however delicious, was more than enough for two mature, sedentary types.
As fall creeps up on us and the mind turns to comfort food, the attractions of Chez George grow stronger by the day. Just think what they must be doing with seasonal ceps…
Chez Georges: 1, rue du Mail, 75002, Paris. Tel.: 01 42 60 07 11. Métro: Bourse or Sentier. Nearest Vélib stations: 2, rue d’Aboukir, 11 rue de la Banque. Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner. A la carte: around €50 at lunch, more in the evening.
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