Frenchie Bar à Vins
Wed 13 Jul 2011
Watermelon with ricotta salata and fava beans.
Frenchie Bar à Vins
6, rue du Nil, in the 2nd Arrondissement.
Mon–Fri, 7 p.m.–10:30 p.m. No reservations
Scoring a reservation at Frenchie is no easy feat. This modern bistro, run by chef Gregory Marchand, is small, widely lauded, with a deserving reputation for great food at a reasonable price. Thanks to abundant press coverage, every visiting American food lover seems to want to eat at Frenchie. If you don’t get in (though do try, at least once) or don’t want to go through the reservation rigmarole, there’s good news: Frenchie now has an annex across the street, where you can get a taste of Marchand’s cooking, washed down with a glass or bottle (or three) from a fantastic list. It’s the Paris wine bar of the moment.
Of course, it may not be easy to score a seat at the wine bar, either. Arrive early to improve your chances. There are a couple of places at the counter, and just a few tables with high, tractor-seat stools. If you’re not a fan of classic rock, I’ll warn you that the sound track plays like a Cleveland radio station. (That’s my home city. I know.) The windows are open to the cobbled street—which feels almost like Frenchie’s private courtyard—offering a view across to the happy diners who managed to book at the mother ship.
Several dishes on the wine bar menu are served at the restaurant as well, though they will vary—Marchand is nothing if not a market cook. We had a clever cherry-tomato salad, not made of cherry tomatoes at all but of multicolored heirlooms and actual cherries tossed with bread cubes and a dressing braced with white balsamic. Watermelon cubes were paired with ricotta salata and fava beans. A bulging burrata was fantastic with a minty green-pea pesto. Don’t miss the delicate, house-smoked trout. It’s one of Marchand’s signatures, and on my last visit it was paired with pickled red onion, avocado and some delicate herbs and flowers. Very good, and very good looking.
To drink, a nearly effervescent Spanish white and a lively Austrian Riesling, both of which went down a little too easily. There are French wines, of course, but I love sommelier Laura Vidal’s border-crossing, reasonably priced list. “They’re wines I would want to drink,” she said.
I would, too.
In a nutshell: The Frenchie wine bar offers interesting wines and market-fresh cooking from one of the biggest stars in Paris at small prices.
Price check: Most dishes, 7–11 euros.
If Frenchie Bar à Vins doesn’t sound French enough, consider the lively southwestern small-plates place Dans les Landes. Read the review.
Frenchie and Frenchie Bar à Vins
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