|Discovering Madonna & Renee Zellweger's secret Paris restaurant|
Travel & Leisure had previously outed the tiny Restaurant Petrelle in a "Best of Paris" round-up and more than a few publications have mentioned it as a favorite of Madonna and Christian Louboutin. A year ago, Katy's own Renée Zellweger and Bradley ...
Everyone who knows anything about Paris has a favorite restaurant or two or three. When we asked Paris-based designerAndrew Gn and his partner Erick Horlinfor a recommendation, they hesitated. You could see the ambivalence. Should they or should they not share their favorite spot with a member of the media who would surely blab about it back home in Houston?
But that cat was already out of the bag. Travel & Leisure had previously outed the tiny Restaurant Petrelle in a "Best of Paris" round-up and more than a few publications have mentioned it as a favorite of Madonna andChristian Louboutin. A year ago, Katy's own Renée Zellweger andBradley Cooper were sighted by People magazine as having a romantic dinner there.
So off we went on a 15-minute cab ride to the ninth arrondissement, making it just in time for our 8:30 reservation.
For all the charm that the neighborhood lacks, the interiors of this tiny eatery (named after its address at 34 Rue Pétrelle) pulsate with a country house-like warmth and a clever visual play that extends from the colorful murals to the zany chandeliers that gently light the nine tables. That's right, only nine tables. One waiter. One chef — Jean-Luc André. And one house cat, a friendly feline that strolls nonchalantly among the tables.
While you can't describe the playful interiors as romantic, the restaurant enjoys a certain sex appeal thanks in part to the soft lighting and in part to the seductive candlelight and fading roses on the tables.
My husband followed Gn's advice and ordered the oeufs en cocotte with fragrant morels as a starter. This wildly rich concoction of buttered eggs cooked in a ramekin and braised in a bath of heavy cream was heavenly. My fricassee of artichoke salad, at the opposite end of the calorie spectrum, was delectably satisfying in a totally different way.
We shared tastes of our main courses — my husband savoring his pigeon and I loving the country-style roasted lamb accompanied with a melange of eggplant and other garden vegetables. The ever-changing seasonal menu and selection of fresh-from-the-garden ingredients are what appeal most to Gn and Horlin. They report that the chef grows the heirloom vegetables and herbs at his country home not far from Paris. What he doesn't grow himself, he picks up in the neighborhood.
Moving on to dessert, again on Gn's recommendation, I opted for the chocolate cake while my husband ordered the cheese course. The rich cake with creme anglaise was to die-for. My husband chose his cheeses from a vast serving tray presented by the waiter.
It was a leisurely dinner that did not suffer from the absence of a full-blown wait staff. Chef André performed with remarkable accuracy on every course, particularly since there was only one assistant in the kitchen on this night.
Just before departing, the waiter arrived at the table with the a help-yourself basket of the restaurant's signature meringues. We finished that taste treat just as the taxi arrived to whisk us back to our hotel.