The dining room at Jacques Faussat-La Braisière.
I don’t usually pay much attention to the press releases I receive, but I was intrigued by one that arrived in my inbox recently for a one-star Michelin restaurant, Jacques Faussat, formerly La Braisière. I had never heard of it before, and neither had my food-blogger friend, so we decided to try it out.
As befitting its location in the chic part of the 17th arrondissement, the restaurant, with a recently refreshed decor, is comfortable, spacious and attractive, in neutral colors brightened by touches of blue and yellow, with paintings on the walls and soft lighting.
The first impression made by a plate of wafers was less than exciting. We supposed they were made with Parmesan, but we weren’t sure
because they were tasteless. The next amuse-bouche, a tiny dish of goose rillettes, was better.
My starter was a “cappuccino” of chestnuts and pheasant hen, not very appetizing to look at with its pinkish color but in fact very tasty with
its chunks of meat and chestnuts. My friend really lucked out with the oysters in seawater
gelée with celery cream and herbs, the best dish of the meal.
For the main course, he had veal kidneys, served without any flourishes on top of delicious crushed potatoes with onions. I
opted for the boar stew, even though my friend worried that the meat would be dry. It would have been, perhaps, if it weren’t saved by the admirable sauce. Surprisingly, this dish had
no accompaniment at all, even though the sauce contained only wild mushrooms. Luckily the crusty dark bread was perfect for mopping up the sauce.
The desserts were simple and good: a classic floating island (a dessert that rarely appears on
Parisian menus these days) with caramel (salted, of course) sauce, and an apple
croustade accompanied by a delicious confiture de vieux garcon (literally, aging bachelor’s jam; really fruits marinated in eau de vie).
The waitress was lovely and very professional, but her male colleague was a bit cold and unfriendly. The chef, whom I saw at least three times during our meal, did not greet his customers. Maybe he’s just shy, but his obvious lack of interest in public relations did not leave a favorable impression and may explain why, even with a Michelin star and a new decor, the restaurant was half empty when we were there, and the chef had to hire a PR firm to drum up new business.
There was nothing wrong with the restaurant – our meal was really very good, solid and comforting – but it lacked not only the warm reception but also the spark of inspiration one would expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant. In any case, Faussat managed to hang on to his star in the new Michelin Red Guide ratings, published on Feb. 1.