04 Sep Priscilla’s Picks: Brasserie Lutetia in Paris
I’ll admit it, day one in Paris is exhausting and when it comes time for booking dinner reservations for the first jet lagged night’s dinner I try to stick close to whatever hotel I am staying at. Maybe that’s lazy, but I prefer to call it being smart. Know thy limits! Day one on this July’s trip we toured the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, shopped and had a photo shoot. The thought of being able to drop off our bags and walk next door to eat was very appealing come evening. I booked us at our hotel restaurant, Brasserie Lutetia and didn’t regret choosing the easy option.
We were greeted by the kind maitre d’ and shown to a lovely table inside near the window overlooking the busy rue Raspail with lots of people watching. It was a hot evening in Paris and we were up for a chilled bottle of wine. Normally we are Bordeaux obsessed gals, but when in Paris, do as the Parisian’s do, non? A 2012 Cuvée Alexandre from Chateau Beaulieu in Aix-en-Provence was in order. This rosé was refreshing, light, crisp, flowery and just a tad sweet according to my tasting notes. At a little over 30 € it was a reasonable choice.
I tend to judge a restaurant immediately by the bread they serve and it sets the tone for the rest of the meal. Some people prefer their French bread al dente – not cooked so much, but I like a brown crust and a soft inside. Their bread was perfect! I dug right in and committed the ultimate faux pas by dipping it into the sauce of my entrée to sop up the sauce after. That’s how good the bread tasted!
One unique thing about the restaurant was they had a specials chalk board for just wines. Who doesn’t love that? Their wine list was extensive, but to have suggestions already prepared and displayed I think is a very good idea, especially for tourists who find the job of picking a wine in Paris a difficult challenge.
Comfort food was in order, fatigue had set in and I needed a “sure thing” meal to pick me up. The French version of chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy was served piping hot in a porcelain coated cast iron pot (think Le Creuset). The garlic chicken fell off the bones, no knives needed. The creamy, buttery mashed potatoes were a cardiologist’s nightmare, but oh so yummy! The brown sauce was delicious and not overwhelming, it merely enhanced the fusion of flavors including rosemary, garlic and a bit of red wine. Now you know why I committed the faux pas and dipped my bread into the pot to make sure I didn’t miss a speck of the gravy. Healthier options were available and the chef serves portions that are perfect – not too large, but plenty satisfying.
If the night had been a little cooler, we would have definitely taken advantage of the outside patio. As it was too warm, we opted for air conditioning inside. When the sun goes down, it would be a lovely spot for an aperitif and dessert. Located across the small park from Le Bon Marché, this would also make a great spot for lunch. Bon appétit!
45, boulevard Raspail 75006 Paris
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 49 54 46 90