Brasseries used to be the reliable mainstay of Paris’s restaurant world, open seven days a week and serving seafood platters and familiar dishes, usually of good quality. Nowadays, however, there are fewer of them, and the quality of many has become unreliable as some of the best have been bought and sold by uncaring corporations. Luckily for us all, new ones are popping up, notably, the low-cost Bouillon Pigalle and Bouillon République (both have the same owners), and Chartier Gare de l’Est (cheap, but the food is better in the former two). Now there is another new one, La Grande Brasserie, right across the street from the famed Bofinger and located in what used to be Le Petit Bofinger. It is more expensive than the aforementioned bouillons, but what a great meal it provides, both food- and service-wise
My friend started off with a wonderful take on escargots, which arrived in the form of cromesquis, small, deep-fried croquettes. When you bite into the crunchy crust, they explode in your mouth and release a burst of melted butter, garlic and parsley before giving up the tender snail meat inside. Highly recommended.
While jealous of those juicy snails, I was thoroughly enjoying my œufs mayonnaise, an old staple that has recently come back into fashion. The eggs were fresh and not overcooked, and the homemade mayo was delicious. They sat atop a bed of tarragon-laced céleri remoulade, a dish I avoid because it is usually insipid and made with too much mayo. Here, it was a flavorful delight.
For the main course, we shared the slow-cooked (seven hours) lamb shoulder for two (€75). As tender and flavorful as one could hope, it was served with a gratin dauphinois, a model of the genre.
Could we possibly find room for dessert after all that? Yes, we could. My friend took a minimalist route with a coupe colonel (lemon sorbet with a shot of vodka), while I went overboard with the profiteroles, which couldn’t have been more perfect: crispy pastry filled with excellent vanilla ice cream and topped with a rich, dark chocolate sauce.
When you are looking for a brasserie or classic French food and are ready to pay for it (though not extravagantly), do try the Grande Brasserie. With its simple but handsome wood-paneled decor, and cheerful, reactive servers, it is a great all-round success. We enjoyed every moment.
See our Favorite Restaurants by Arrondissement page to find a good restaurant in the neighborhood where you want to eat.Favorite