Taxi Jaune

October 14, 2008By Heidi EllisonArchive

Yellow Cab Cuisine

Cheerful dining with often sublime results.
February 2005; updated Oct. 15, 2008


The cheerful Taxi Jaune, located in the wholesale leather-goods section of the Marais (where tourists often fear to tred), has changed owners more often than its yellow-cab-based decor since it first became the Taxi Jaune 35 years ago, but has always had a lively ambiance and a loyal clientele.

In its current incarnation, evening meals are prepared by the youthful owner Otis Lebert (whose parents had the good taste to name him after the great Redding), a native of the southwestern city of Cahors, with often sublime results.

The menu concentrates on traditional French dishes and changes with the seasons (e.g., hearty stuffed cabbage, beef cheeks with red wine sauce or guinea fowl with prunes in winter), with a slight preference for such Southwestern staples as magret de canard, along with handpicked wines from the region.

Rotating exhibitions of art with a sense of humor further enliven this friendly, colorful spot.

Update, Oct. 15, 2008: The decor is just as funky and chef Otis Lebert’s cooking just as fine, if not better than ever. The menu evolves over time – on a recent visit we sampled a spectacularly good chicken, with one piece stuffed with baby vegetables and the other with gizzards, and a delightful “cannelloni” of hare meat wrapped in leeks and flavored with orange zest – but some of the old favorites remain, among them the brick du chèvre au cumin (goat cheese in filo pastry with cumin) starter.

Lebert, who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, is one of the few chefs in Paris to dare to serve horsemeat. We tried it in a stunning pot au feu not long ago, and he is now serving horse steak with anchovy butter.

Special mention for the carefully selected, reasonably priced wines, many of them from Cahors, like Lebert himself.

Heidi Ellison

Taxi Jaune: 13, rue Chapon, 75003. Tel.: 01 42 76 00 40. Open Mon.-Fri. for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and drinks in between.

© 2005, 2008 Paris Update


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