Frenchie and Fabulous…

frenchie2

Before I bid adieu to French cuisine I wanted to turn you on to one more amazing Parisienne restaurant, Frenchie.

This establishment has garnered fabulous reviews since the beginning and there is always a line outside the small, secluded restaurant which resides on a narrow cobblestone alleyway that used to be a landmark for thieves. It is now the center of the  textile industry in the 2nd arrondissement.

Reservations are a must so I emailed Frenchie one month in advance and secured the first seating on a Tuesday night in November.

We arrived at  7:30pm on the dot and a line had already formed for those who had reservations and a another line of hopefuls. Crowds have been queueing up since Frenchie’s inception in 2009. The staff has grown from 2 to 14.

The moniker is the nickname given to owner and executive chef, Gregory Marchand, by renown chef, Jamie Oliver, when Marchand was head chef at Oliver’s Restaurant Fifteen in London. Subsequently, Marchand met Frenchie’s present head chef, Harry Cumins at Fifteen.

Owner and Chef, Greg Marchand
Owner and Executive Chef, Greg Marchand

Marchand hails from Nantes, France and worked the restaurant circuit in London, Spain, Hong Kong and New York where he tolled at Danny Meyer’s, Gramercy Tavern.

Frenchie has a small wine bar and bistro across the alleyway that has a different a la carte menu and an active bar scene comprised of 20-something professionals.  You can secure a narrow corner without reservations. Last year we hung there after attempting to dine at the main restaurant.

Many of the servers are Americans…young women studying abroad and afflicted with wanderlust. The host, Bree Sage, (perfect name for a romance novel heroine) is a lovely take charge American. She helped to make our dining experience memorable and also informed us about a Les Potes au Feu that was happening while we were in Paris. Several chefs were merging their talents and setting up a Pop-Up 8 plate dinner for 57 Euros. Unfortunately, our commitments in Blaye (we have a loft outside of Bordeaux) precluded us from attending.

The pervasive atmosphere at Frenchie is one of being a guest in a local’s home…charming and comfortable. The interior is adorned with authentic wood beams and stone walls. The service is gracious and attentive.

We felt insulated from the chilly November night, dining with friends in a cozy cottage, indulging in seasonal products with a classic French base and an international twist.

Our meal kicked off with a fantastic bread and butter offering followed by an appetizer selection of stuffed rabbit saddle, quince, chestnut and wild mushrooms or our choice of red mullet, ventreche (French bacon) and smoked potatoes.

Red Mullet, Ventreche, Smoked Potatoes
Red Mullet, Ventreche, Smoked Potatoes

The mullet was sweet and tender, cooked to perfection.

Courtny and I shared the duck foie gras torchon with pear and oriental bread crumbs. (an additional $16 Euro charge…$22). The foie gras was rich and creamy and glided across the crispy, freshly baked bread. The additional charge was well worth the pleasure.

Foie Gras Torchon, Pear, Oriental Bread Crumbs
Foie Gras Torchon, Pear, Oriental Bread Crumbs

The main course was a choice between scallops and venison. The scallop dish was accompanied by spelt, Jerusalem artichoke and black pudding (boudin noir…a type of sausage made by cooking blood with a filler until thick enough to congeal…the description can gross you out, but the taste…tres bien!)

Scallops, Spelt, Jerusalem Artichoke, Black Pudding
Scallops, Spelt, Jerusalem Artichoke, Black Pudding

The scallops were pan seared to perfection and the black pudding seductive.

Venison was also on the fixed price menu with black trompette mushrooms and lingonberry condiment.

The couple next to us ordered both the stuffed rabbit and venison and raved about them. Neither animal is on my bucket list. After seeing animals roaming the plains in Kruger Park while on safari in Africa and then seeing them on the buffet, I draw the line at cow.

cheese frenchie

The final act was a selection of British Isle cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy and a choice of brown bread ice cream, clementine, chocolate, hazelnut or tapioca, mango sorbert, pineapple and marigold.

Brown Bread Ice Cream, Clementine, Chocolate, Hazelnut
Brown Bread Ice Cream, Clementine, Chocolate, Hazelnut

The desserts were simply spoonfuls of goodness…sumptuous. All this for 48 Euros (approximately $65.00).

Tapioca, Mango Sorbet, Pineapple, Marigold
Tapioca, Mango Sorbet, Pineapple, Marigold

Frenchie was an evening to remember…great food, charming atmosphere, inviting staff and all in the most incredible city in the world (New York notwithstanding).

Frenchie 5-6 Rue du Nil, Paris, France  www.frenchie-restaurant.com

 

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