-Frenchie is a restaurant where reservations are a must- don’t bother showing up without one. The challenge here for those who don’t think ahead is that it’s a tough reservation to book, both because it’s a bit of a trendy spot and has very few seats.
-Across the street is Frenchie’s sister, a casual wine bar.
-They do something that I find somewhat strange, which is to have two strict seatings at 7 pm and 9:30 pm. Most people in the first seating probably start filing out of the restaurant beginning around 9 PM, giving the staff a few minutes to reset the stage for round two. So at 9:25, there was a crowd of 20 or so dining guests congregating on the street awaiting permission to come in- thank goodness it’s warm in France!
-Tight and rustic. There are old vintage books stacked in the window and a small wooden bar near the kitchen.
-There isn’t even much room for a bar, so I noticed the servers running across the street to the wine bar’s cellars to accommodate wine requests.
-The kitchen, by the way, can be viewed via a little tiny window pass that the chef hands off dishes to the servers through.
-We were sat at the end of a communal banquette that the servers would sneak past to tend to guests in the other nook of a room and where fellow diners would squeeze themselves into the airplane-sized washroom.
-Remember- a seat here is prime real estate so if you’re dining as a party of three, expect the third diner to get tacked onto the end of the table. Cozy.
-The demographic is predominantly hip young friends and couples- approximately half of which were locals and the other half tourists. Since the seating was so “intimate”, we ended up chatting with a variety of our neighbours, a group of which ended up inviting us out for post-dinner drinks until 2 AM. Good times.
-So back to the whole two-seating policy – usually restaurants like to scatter reservations to allow the service staff and kitchen to work at a continual pace rather than waves and to keep diners from waiting long periods. I was concerned that we may get stuck at the end of the wave and be uncomfortably waiting all night. Unbelievably, the timing was fairly palatable. Because the menu is pretty straight forward (it’s a pre-fixe with one choice per course), everyone was able to operate fairly efficiently. Our drinks came promptly and the two-hour four course meal was leisurely but not uncomfortably lengthy.
-The servers themselves, however, were less than cheerful. I don’t think I saw our main server crack a smile even once throughout the whole meal. It wasn’t that she was explicitly rude, and because of the nature of the menu (we just ordered one of each item), it wasn’t like I had asked her any questions to get any better sense of her demeanor but she really made no effort to be friendly. It was a wham-bam-thank-you-mam kind of service – which works for me in a diner but not at a middle-price restaurant.
-With the wine bar across the street, there were plenty of tempting options to choose from including about a few wines by the glass and 4-5 pages worth by the bottle.
-He continued on drinking what he had started with when we popped by the wine bar an hour prior, while I opted for a Gin and Tonic.
Gin and Tonic (€12)
A simply well made G+T, but certainly nothing memorable.
-With the tables being sat so close to one another, we couldn’t help but make friends with groups on either side of us. One young guy we met sent us over a couple glasses of the wines he was drinking, so to reciprocate, we bought a bottle of Tokaji (€60) for dessert and divvied it up around the room. It was, as it always is, quite delicious indeed.
-The food concept at Frenchie is simple – three courses for €45 with the option to add cheese or foie gras.
-The food in general is simply prepared, fresh, colourful and well balanced– there is a mild nod to modern technique but nothing on the plate is indiscernible or over-the-top
Foie Gras Torchon, Figs, Walnuts (+€16)
A massive slab that while plentiful, lacked the luscious creaminess of most torchons. I did, however, love the toasty country bread and the chewy dried fruit compote.
Quail, Ventreche, Girolle Mushrooms, Black Current
The delicate gaminess of the quail paired beautifully with the tangy black current, while the buttery girolle mushrooms showed like dainty gems on the plate. My favourite of the two starters.
Smoked Mackerel, Tomato, Redcurrant, Watermelon, Hyssop
The fatty mackerel merely melted on the tongue, while the refreshing red accompaniments brightened its flavour.
Monkfish, Eryngee Mushrooms, Coco Beans
My favourite of the two main dishes (though it would be tough to choose)- the monkfish could not have been more succulent, the meaty mushrooms more enticing, and the broth was so flavourful I sopped it up with extra bread. I could eat this dish every day and feel fabulous.
Tamsworth Pig, Sweetcorn, Pickled Cucumber, Orange Blossoms, Harissa
I loved the fatty pork with the aromatic spice of the harissa and the tangy juicy pickles. The sweet corn puree on the bottom was also a surprisingly craveworthy accompaniment.
Wild Blueberries, Lime, Chestnut, Marigold
I loved the bright acidity of the sorbet with the gorgeous berries, and the chestnut streusel added contrasting texture. Super simple but simply delicious.
Sorbet of Red-Pepper-Raspberry, Yogurt, Basil, Cornbread
Another very interesting dessert- I quite liked the hint of savoury elements in the dish. In particular, the red pepper in there really added an unusual vegetal note along with the herbaceous basil and cornbread. The bread itself was a touch dry for my preference, but at the very least it added interesting texture.
-For two pre-fix, an add-on foie course, 1 glass of wine, 1 cocktail and a bottle of tokaji, the bill came to €205 ($280 Canadian) – certainly no where near the range of some of our Michelin star meals, but a touch expensive for the overall experience we received.
-Now, don’t get me wrong, the food was quite tasty, and I quite enjoyed the convivial atmosphere, but as someone who works in food and eats out quite a lot- I probably wasn’t blown away for the price. It was a good meal, and something I’m sure a lot of people would thoroughly enjoy (and for that reason, I would recommend it), but for those looking for a memorable meal in Paris, I wouldn’t peg Frenchie as the place.
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger, a cookbook author and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.