La Régalade Conservatoire
7–9, rue du Conservatoire, in the 9th Arrondissement. 01 44 83 83 60.
Open for lunch and dinner, Mon–Fri; dinner, Sat; closed Sunday.
Bruno Doucet is going for a culinary trifecta of Paris restaurants with the opening of his third under the Régalade umbrella. La Régalade in the 14th was his first, after a takeover from Yves Camdeborde in 2004. La Régalade Saint-Honoré followed in 2010 in the more posh location on Saint-Honoré in the 1st. And now comes La Régalade Conservatoire in the Hôtel de Nell, a beautiful new boutique hotel in the 9th.
Warm walls reach around the modern, L-shaped dining room with windows on both sides and a black-and-white checkered floor beneath. Service is attentive and swift. There’s no lengthy French lingering between courses. We had to swoosh away our server when she tried to take the communal terrine before we each had our share. Doucet keeps the lovely tradition of starting all diners with his hearty, but smooth, house-made terrine that comes with a basket of rustic bread and a jar of cornichons. You want to make sure you have enough time with the terrine but also save room for the three courses ahead.
I began with a rich, warm mushroom soup that was poured tableside over a small mound of foie gras and chewy croutons. There was no expense spared in the butter and salt department. Luckily those are two of my favorite ingredients, so every last morsel of the soup was mopped up with the accompanying bread.
I fear my starter may have used up all the salt and spice in the kitchen, as my main of beef cheeks was profoundly lacking in flavor. It was cooked perfectly, with a long braise that allowed me to eat the beef without a knife, but the red wine sauce didn’t add enough heft. I did sample my dining companion’s caramelized pork, and that was the winning dish, properly seasoned and delicious to the last bite.
My friend’s riz au lait was delivered in a large bowl, enough to feed four. The consistency was a little runnier than most, but once the salted caramel was poured over it, it didn’t matter what was underneath, as that could have been a delicious dessert on its own. My kouign amann was actually lighter, with the chewy pastry between lightly caramelized apples and homemade sorbet. It could have been highly decadent, but again Doucet showed some restraint, which was a welcome way to end the meal.
In a nutshell: La Régalade Conservatoire is the latest in Bruno Doucet’s Régalade empire and offers a reasonably priced three-course bistro menu in a warm, inviting dining room.
Price check: 35 euros for three courses.
If La Régalade Conservatoire sounds good, you might also like Bruno Doucet’s bistro in the 1st, La Régalade Saint-Honoré. Read the review.
La Régalade Saint-Honoré
123, rue Saint-Honoré, in the 1st Arrondissement. 01 42 21 92 40.
Lunch and dinner, Mon–Fri.
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La Régalade Conservatoire