More is more or L’Insoutenable gourmandise de l’être

When I first got to Paris, I went to have lunch at Chez l’Ami Jean with Aurélia Filion and Caroline Loiseleux, two of my friends and ex-colleagues of Club Chasse et Pêche. At the time, I hadn’t really experienced the Paris food scene and I was slightly shocked by the frenetic service and the abundance of the food.

I had no idea that this was going to become one of my favorite restaurant in Paris.

Every time I go out to eat in restaurants where the portions are too tiny for my insatiable appetite, I think of Stéphane. Mostly because I wish he would give those chefs a tip or two about “gourmandise” a word that, saddly, does not exist in the english language.

Anyway, since then, I have returned to l’Ami Jean again and again and I have never been disappointed.

Wendy Lyn and I were kidding the other day about the best technique to come out alive of a dinner at L’Ami Jean. She said that it’s better to have a good lunch, that way your stomach is expanded and prepared for what’s coming… I argued on starving myself for days to be able to make the room for all that food.

Now, thinking back, I do believe she was right.

This debate is a realistic one however when you decide to go for dinner at Stéphane’s.

This man does not know the meaning of “Less is more”. But in the departement of generosity and gourmandise, Stéphane is king. I suspect he may have learned a trick or two from mentor and friend Yves Candeborde.

Armed with your best prepared stomach (whatever method you pick), grab some foodie-friends or family who love to eat everything, aren’t anal about a little rock and roll service that gives the place all its charm, like to watch a chef in action, and aren’t afraid to make noise and endure it.

Tell the waitstaff that you want the chef to cook for you and get ready for the best ride of your life! You are about to enter the wonderful world of Jégo. It ain’t always pretty for iPhone pictures, but it’s always delicious and at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.

For the wine, I admit that this time I spotted a magnum of Philippe Pacalet’s Bourgogne Rouge  2010 and couldn’t pass up the opportunity since there is so little in Paris and I ran out of my stock at Frenchie a long time ago. In general however, it’s good to ask the staff what they think is tasting well.

Two magnums later, we polished off the riz au lait (absolute MUST: the best in Paris!) with Champagne Drappier Zéro Dosage.

All in all, eating (and drinking) at l’Ami Jean is a real treat. I don’t think I would inflict it on my stomach every week but I need my trimestrial fix.


if you dare