Le Vieux Chêne

June 8, 2010By Paris UpdateArchive


Le Vieux Chêne, restaurant, paris

A typical Parisian bistro with just the right amount of atmosphere.

In Paris, if you want good value for money, lunch is the right time to try a restaurant. The other day I was planning to meet one of my cookbook-writing friends for a midday meal. We don’t get together very often, as ours is quite a solitary job, so I was looking forward to gossiping about famous chefs and incompetent food writers (the others, of course).

It was my turn to choose the venue, and, as I wanted to be sure he’d be happy (foodies can be so hard to please), I chose a restaurant I’d already tried with great success in the evening. It’s a beautiful, wood-paneled Parisian bistro with just the right amount of atmosphere.

For lunch they offer a two-course menu for €13.50, which is what you’d pay for a fat, uninteresting salad in many brasseries. An extra €3 will get you dessert. For that price, you get to choose between three starters and three main courses, which change often.

My millefeuille de chèvre frais et betterave (beetroot and fresh-goat-cheese millefeuille) was true to its name, fresh and full of sweet, earthy flavor, and my friends’ rillettes de lapin (rabbit rillettes) were nice and tasty.

For the main course, we both opted for the tendron de veau, legumes au jus (veal breast with vegetables) rather than the filet de maquereau, chou pointu (mackerel with pointed cabbage) or the magret de canard, purée (duck breast with mashed potatoes), which sounded pretty good, too. The meat was lovely, caramelized and moist, and the seasonal vegetables (carrots, turnips, peas) perfectly cooked. The tangy “jus” brought them all together.

At the Vieux Chêne, they spend as much time making your plates look pretty and appealing at lunchtime as they do in the evening, so everything looked as wonderful as it tasted.

We were so busy talking that I didn’t pay much attention to the service, which means that it was unobtrusive and professional.

We didn’t have wine (work in the afternoon and all that), but having had dinner at the Vieux Chêne, I know that they have a good wine selection in all price ranges. Dessert was also a no-no for me, but my friend’s (yes, of course, I tasted it) compote de rhubarbe, glace calisson (rhubarb compote with almond ice cream) was yummy.

The little chocolate and salted-caramel buttons served with the coffee rounded off a happy meal at a very reasonable price.

If you go in the evening, you’re more likely to spend €40-€50, but it’s still worth it.

The Vieux Chêne has a small terrace, so if you want to eat outside, don’t forget to ask when making a reservation.

Marie Tatin

Le Vieux Chêne: 7, rue du Dahomey, 75011 Paris. Tel.: 01 43 71 67 69. Métro: Faidherbe Chaligny. Nearest Vélib station: Bibliothèque Faidherbe. Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner.

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