Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Les Cocottes (Paris, France)

We read about the 'in', the 'hip' and the 'happening' place to eat in Paris right now...and it is Les Cocottes. Here is a quick description from"The place was opened by the famous Christian Constant; who has already proved his ability to relate to the Parisian masses with his highly popular bistro Le Café Constant and Le Violon d’Ingres brasserie."

His winning streak continues with Les Cocottes, in the same street as his three other successful restaurants (including Les Fables de la Fontaine, a seafood bistro). We are going to try them all for sure.

The concept is simple: diners choose a high seat along the long counter and mix-and-match from a menu of salads, soups, verrines, cocottes and savory tarts. No reservations are taken, but you can be in and out within 45 minutes (which is the idea). We knew that the place would be packed with office workers and tourists. So we came to the restaurant late; around 14:00 and the place was about half full so we got two places right away. Last order is 15:00 (which is very very rare & unique in Paris) and the restaurant closes at 16:00 (another rarity in Paris). So, the secret is to arrive after the lunch crowd.

The first starter was Terrine de campagne (8 euros). The terrine had very nice textures (rough, smooth, chunks, etc.). The terrine had the perfect balance spices & loads of flavours. It went perfectly with the toasted baguette.

The second starter was Entree du jour...Ballantine de pheasant (9 euros). This terrine was a great blend of the pheasant and fois gras in the middle, giving this dish a lovely consistency and taste.

The first main dish was Cocotte Boeuf bourguignon (16 euros). The beef was so tender, juicy and tasted wonderful. The pastas that accompanied the beef was cooked perfectly and soaked up the tasty sauce.

The second starter was Cocotte du jour...Tranche de porc (15 euros). Another great looking dish; however, when my friend tasted the pork and mashed potato, he noticed that it was on the cold side. So, he asked the waiter if it was possible to heat up the dish. He said no problem. But it did turn out to be a problem!

We waited for a bloody 30 minutes for the dish to be re-heated. No one even payed attention to this; it was us who finally had to ask if the dish was actually going to come out again. The waiter went to check in the kitchen; he came back out and told us it was taking so long because they were making a new dish.

OK.....the 'new' dish finally came out in five minutes and the supposedly 'new' dish was actually the 'old' dish which was stuck in the oven for too long and the pork was overcooked and mashed potato was dried up. How did we know it was the 'old' dish? Because the pork had the evidence where my friend cut off the earlier piece and the mashed potato had the mark where he ate off it the last time.

We really don't know what happened here; either they were being stupid and playing games with us because they were unhappy that we sent the dish back to be re-heated (a lot of chefs hate this). Or they forgot that they put it into the oven and had to make up a lousy excuse but so stupid to forget to cover their mistake by trying to at least remold the dish so that everything on it looked new. But either way; this was NOT a sign of a professional kitchen. It was immature & down-right pathetically idiotic.

My friend was so hungry to complain any further at this point. He did not eat the mashed potato and did mention this to the waiter who did not even give a damn and did not even make an effort to be sorry.

The woman filling bottles with wine from the pouch. We ordered one glass of Rasteau (5 euros) and glass of Morgon (5 euros) and they were accompanied the food very well.

Overall: we entered this restaurant with so much enthusiasm because so so so many reviews have praised the place. The menu looked wonderful. My dish was excellent; my friends dish was in the beginning great; he just wanted it 'a tad hotter'. Something so simple imploded into something juvenile. What started out nicely, turned the experience into a bad taste. We have not decided if we want to return. Not that they care or anything because the place is packed packed packed.

The staff were friendly and efficient at first. But after our incident and the waiter who handled the situation for us; I could not help but looked at him with the 'evil eye'. I was mentally making voodoo spells and curses on him for the our treatment.

The total bill was 65 euros (including a bottle of eau gazeuse, two glasses of wine and two coffees). Which was not bad at all. Let's see if I can let this episode off my chest so that I can give them a second chance.

135, rue Saint Dominique
75007, Paris
(Pas de réservation) There is no phone number because they do not take reservations


Thailand Club said...

your France section really made my eyes open, and inspire me what to eat in Paris ..

a blog between two cities, Happy New Year!

Riya said...

Thanks for blogging this post. I really do want to try this restaurant. It will be in my list on my next trip to Paris.

Have a happy & healthy New Year.

Your big fan.