-Mitch Weinstein, NY World-Eats Ambassador
Yeah, I know, I know - still blogging about Paris, even though we've been back for 2 weeks now. Whatevs, right? I mean, when you're on vacation, how much do you actually want to sit at the computer and write (I think I did OK by posting 3 or 4 times)? But, now that we're back in NYC and I'm doing some reflecting, there's some stuff I missed, and since the very nature of a blog is self-indulgence, what the hell. Also, by writing I get to refresh my memory - before I forget everything.
Now - where was I? I wanted to talk about two places which, even though there are those who'll argue, reminded me of NYC - and since we're talking about hip, young and happening (not that I'm any of those), we might as well just call it, like I did in the title of this post, Brooklyn on the Seine.
Paris didn't stay the same.
Paris has changed a lot since the first time Significant Eater and I visited...at least a dozen or more years ago. Cocktail places abound. There's great coffee. And there are plenty of places to eat that don't take reservations, that have counters, that have lines waiting to get in...all unheard of back then, at least to these ears. Of course, since that's often the way we like to eat and drink, we had no problem at all dealing with the Brooklynish-ness of it all.
Take Le Mary Celeste - a fine place for cocktails and oysters. There's more on the menu, but we used it once as a nitecap place for Sazeracs and once as a pre-dinner place for Martinis and oysters...
Now, if anyone wants to argue with me about certain Paris eateries and drinkeries not trying to co-opt the alleged hipness of Brooklyn,
I'd ask - what's with all the Brooklyn beer on tap?
Be that as it may, I love Brooklyn. Shit - I was born there. And the cocktails, the service and, indeed, the oysters at Le Mary Celeste, I would gladly consume any day of the week.
Is Monday still a dead zone?
But what about Monday nights in Paris? Used to be it was as hard as a Sunday night to find a place that was open. Not any more. Take Le Richer, in the 9er. No website, but a Facebook page, of course. No reservations, counter seats if you want 'em, open all day...just like...well, you know. So in we wandered on a Monday evening, around 7:30 - and no, we weren't the first ones there, wiseguys. Plenty of younger types - we were seated next to a party of 6 celebrating a birthday. Le menu...
Short and sweet, with 4 entrées and 4 plats. We began with a platter of this...
Which was quite delicious. And since we'd had a big lunch earlier, Sig Eater just ordered an entrée for her dinner, the vitello tonnato, not exactly French, but a winner nonetheless...
I had a full plat, the lapin, simply the best rabbit I've ever eaten, so nice and juicy. Plates were cleaned. Cheese and dessert were ordered - and shared. Not a traditional French meal in the least, but apparently the way some French men and women eat now. A couple of cocktails to start, a bottle of wine, a bottle of water, and this great food - all at a very reasonable price.
So - Brooklyn on the Seine? Not really. As much as they try, as many tattoos and piercings as they get, as many no-reservation, uncomfortable-counter seat places that open up, it'll still be Paris and the Seine, not the Gowanus Canal.
Where to go:
Mary Celeste Address: 1 Rue Commines, 75003 Paris, France