Spring 2016 - Jean-François Piège/Le Grand Restaurant

From Elizabeth Stribling, FHS Chairman of the Board - I recently had the enormous pleasure of spending an entire month in Paris due to the happy excuse of supervising some painting work in my apartment.  Without the time constraints of having to pack too much into a week or ten-day stay, I had the luxury of time – time to relax, time to waste, time to enjoy.  With that freedom, I discovered two new “grand” restaurants, as well as the enjoyment of fun and amusing times at more modern variations on the traditional bistrot.  In addition, I attended fascinating art excursions and lectures.  Of course, there is always the delight in Paris of shopping or just window shopping.  Here are a few of my recent finds.

  Jean-François Piège / Le Grand Restaurant
Jean-François Piège enjoys a merited reputation of being one of the most talented chefs in France today.  For many years, he worked as the chef de cuisine in a jewel box space offering gourmet cuisine above the Brasserie Thoumieux in the Rue Saint-Dominique.  Last year, he left and opened his own Left Bank bistrot “Clover” which highlights delicious vegetables and an overall lighter cuisine.  In September 2015, he opened his own signature restaurant, Jean-François Piège / Le Grand Restaurant, just off the Faubourg Saint-Honoré.  Grand it is, but in a playful, and very chic esprit. This is a place for a special evening, and a worthwhile spurge.  You will be cosseted by courteous and friendly service, and treated to both an inventive and delicious meal.  In its 2016 edition, Michelin has awarded this new restaurant two stars. Having entered into a partnership with Thierry Costes, the celebrated restauranteur, Piège engaged the Iceland-born interior designer Gulla Jónsdóttir to create a drop dead space that cannot fail to grab your attention but at the same time creates a warm backdrop in which to enjoy the food and service.  Upon entering, you pass by a million dollar plus gleaming open kitchen, with the “équipe” working away behind a zebra patterned marble counter and overhang.  Ahead is a 30-seat restaurant, with a contemporary spider design carpet which is echoed in a glass domed ceiling.  Dark walls and Baccarat sconces complete this chic cocoon. However, the cuisine is the star of the show.  Waiters, with smiles and charm, offer a welcome gift of tiny hors d'oeuvres displayed as an art work.  The menu is composed of classics with a distinctly new spin, which Piège labels “Mijoté Moderne”, a designation which follows many dishes on the actual menu.  However, whether you begin with “Ma version du Gâteau de foie blond” or a langoustine with wild sorrel and tiny turnips, you will not go wrong.  Main courses are equally divided between fish, meat, and game in season, many with the Mijoté Moderne twist.  I appreciated the “bar de ligne” under a crackling exterior with a hint of a smoked eel sauce while my guest was enchanted with veal sweet breads with a garnish of nuts.  There is also a gastronomic menu which can be paired with wines by the glass. For a very Parisian and a memorable occasion, you will be delighted by a meal chez Jean-François Piège. Jean-François Piège - Le Grand Restaurant 7 Rue d'Aguesseau, 75008 Paris, France +33 1 53 05 00 00