When a famous chef opens a restaurant, be it in Paris, New York or Kansas City, expectations always run high. Yannick Alleno’s new outpost, Terrior Parisien – open since March in an über cool space in the Latin Quarter – was certainly no exception.
Adding to the buzz was Alleno’s fresh concept – using ingredients sourced primarily within Ile-de-France – that led to almost frenzied expectations.
Would the passionate maestro behind the three-starred Le Meurice live up to the hype? Most critics and foodies have answered with a resounding “oui.” On a recent breezy summer evening, my husband and I happily agreed.
If I hadn’t been seduced by the bistro’s sleek styling, complete with a massive central bar, handsome blond wood and airy floor plan, Alleno’s fresh take on Parisian classics would have been enough to woo us. Together, it’s a lethally fabulous combination.
Here are three reasons to bump Terroir Parisien to the top of your must-try list.
The concept. Unlike top foodie cities in the U.S., the locavore movement has been slower to catch on in Paris. Alleno has been steadily changing that, first by introducing a wildly popular regional menu at Le Meurice, then by publishing a book on the topic. Now comes his bistro offering a menu of refreshed traditional Parisian recipes with goods sourced from the Ile-de-France region.
Trend-setting? Perhaps. But the locally born-and-bred chef prefers to think of it as a return to tradition – to the days when Parisian chefs bought locally-raised and farmed goods from Paris’ central market at Les Halles. But if a concept alone is no reason to try a restaurant, Alleno’s food is.
The food. Alleno’s dishes are fresh and exciting. Highlights include navarin printanier d’agneau (a classic for spring) served with crisp, sweet baby veg and a handsome sauce. Soup lovers (my husband is a devotee) will love Alleno’s take on the classic onion and his sumptuous potato-leek.
Do Alleno’s dishes taste any better for their regional provenance? Maybe. The knowledge that your perfectly nutty asparagus comes from a family farm in Argenteuil surely makes eating them that much sweeter. As for worries about fish, cheese and wine (do they produce these in Ile-de-France?), Alleno does source goods from farther afield, then unites them in distinctly Parisian combinations.
The table. As recently as May, nabbing a table at Terroir Parisien without reserving was quite doable. It’s a large airy space and dining before 9:00 P.M. meant you could count on a table. No more. (Word is out, so go sooner rather than later).
Stop by for a glass of superbly well-priced wine (Beaujolais at under 3€) or light bite at off-peak hours (“le snacking” of classics like croque-monsieur and charcuterie are available between lunch and dinner). But for dinner and even lunch (both served seven days a week), best to call ahead.
You’ll be greeted by servers whose style is as distinctly modern as the bistro’s décor – handsome and chic with just the right touch of classic Paris. All this plus the work of a three-star chef at bistro prices. What’s not to love?
20, rue Saint Victor, 75005
Open: Mon-Sun, for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Written by Paige Frost for the HiP Paris Blog. All photos Didier Gauducheau. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.