Cherry clafouti with pistachio cream.
Le Grand Pan
20, rue Rosenwald, in the 15th Arrondissement.
01 42 50 02 50. Mon–Fri, noon–2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.–11 p.m.
In Greek mythology, Pan is the god of nature, reigning over pastures and flocks, and the shepherds who keep them. While there is nothing particularly pastoral about the 15th Arrondissement of Paris, there nature’s bounty is yours for the eating at Le Grand Pan.
This bistro often comes up in conversations about where to find a good steak. While it’s true that the côte de boeuf is superb, the generous use of seasonal vegetables at Le Grand Pan makes it more than just an address for meat and potatoes. A refreshing crab gelée was topped with a pile of tender green beans, a nest for a few sweet and rosy shrimps. An earthy mound of girolles was livened up by a marinade, tangy with vinegar and red peppers, and a salty strip of crisp bacon.
Girolles made another appearance with my main course, underneath a beautiful filet mignon of pork, and enriched with a touch of cream. The pigeon that my friend ordered looked comparatively austere, accompanied only by a red wine sauce, but the flavor of this little crisp-skinned bird was anything but.
The best way to eat at Le Grand Pan, though, might be with someone who likes to share. On the wall is a list of pedigreed meats—pork from Eric Ospital, veal and beef from Mauléon—all meant for two mouths, all served with thick, golden fries and, if you’d like, a salad of delicate greens from vegetable goddess Annie Bertin.
Filet mignon of pork with girolles.
The wine list is oriented mostly toward the southwest, and includes a number of by-the-glass pours and carafes for under 20 euros. What’s not to like about that?
Keeping with the season, we had a very successful cherry clafouti for dessert, topped with a spoonful of pistachio whipped cream (something I will be trying out at home, for sure). That wasn’t before enjoying some cheese, though, a serve-yourself board of five beauties.
When we walked into the room, the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. I had the distinct impression that most of the diners were neighborhood regulars, and when we left, I remember thinking that I would be a regular at Le Grand Pan, too, if I lived nearby.
In a nutshell: Le Grand Pan deliciously brings the best of French flora and fauna from the fields to the table.
Price check: First courses, 8–16 euros. Mains, 21–25 euros. Desserts, 7 euros.
If Le Grand Pan sounds good but the location doesn’t, visit La Régalade Saint-Honoré, smack dab in the middle of Paris, for great seasonal bistro cooking:
La Régalade Saint-Honoré
123, rue St.-Honoré, in the 1st.
01 42 21 92 40. Mon–Fri, lunch and dinner