As I sit here at my desk and write this blog post, my little doggy is sitting on my lap. It's her preferred spot when I'm writing at my desk. Yes, I am lucky, aren't I ?
I mention this because it feels so right to have such a comforting presence so close by while writing about Eric Frechon's newest restaurant, Lazare. Eric Frechon is one of France's star chefs. He has 3 Michelin Stars. The restaurants he oversees are at Le Bristol Hotel, the Paris Palace that is a stone's throw from the Elysée and favored by that sort of lofty and VIP crowd. And now, in addition to all that, he's opened up his own independent restaurant in Paris called Lazare.
Chef Eric Frechon at his new Paris restaurant Lazare photo by Paige Donner copyright '13
So it was with curiosity and no real pre-set expectations that I set out to discover Lazare. What I found was a chef who has remained connected to his kitchen and, more importantly, to the people he's preparing and serving his food for.
At Lazare what you'll find are Mom's recipes, re-visited a bit with Frechon's flair. The whole restaurant, from the food to the ambiance has Comfort Food stamped on it. And within it. The dishes are hands down a delight. And I hate to say it, but that's sort of to be expected from a 3-Michelin Starred chef, isn't it ? I mean, right ?
So why would I choose Lazare on a Sunday morning for its €36 brunch over dozens and dozens of other venues in Paris, all outstanding ? Besides being a fan of the kind-hearted and gentle Frechon, his new restaurant speaks to me on several levels.
I like, for example, how the dishes are served tableside. My pumpkin soup, the lightest, creamiest, fluffiest pumpkin soup I've ever tasted, was served from its tureen at the table by my courteous and friendly server. As was my dining partners poached salmon with autumnal roasted vegetables. It made me feel like I was eating at a friend's house. And I could be sure that none of the dishes had been kept even for a moment under a heat lamp awaiting the server's return .
What else ? I liked how the big black chalkboards hung on the tops of the walls that reach up to the high ceilings were written like a train schedule, with departure times and then the indicated destination, which in this case was a culinary one. Such as departure 15 :47 Aperitif and Snacking.
And of course I loved loved loved how Mr. Frechon explained to me that his signature Paris – Deauville dessert was one that he had poached first off his mom and then tweaked a bit to get it just right to serve in his new restaurant, located at the famous – and fully refurbished and renovated – Gare St. Lazare train station. If you haven't guessed it yet, the station is known for its departures to Deauville leaving from Paris.
Frechon has achieved here comfort food. Yes it's stylish but not so fancy that it's unapproachable. It's more like the comfort food that a 3-Star Michelin chef would imagine. It's a Paris Newest not to be missed and the restaurant's proximity to the Galeries Lafayette – Printemps shopping district makes it a perfect stop-in for lunch, dinner, and/or a snack at the bar. And of course Sunday Brunch. Tip : Call ahead for reservations.