ever since i heard about this little restaurant located near the eiffel tower described as being a french take on the american diner, i’ve wanted to check it out. so of course, when i found myself in paris during the holidays, i convinced hubs that he really wanted to leave the warmth of our hotel room and trek about 30 minutes in the cold for lunch at les cocottes de christian constant. we got to the restaurant about 10 minutes before the 12 noon opening time. unlike le comptoir du relais, there was no line. i don’t know if it was due to the holidays or not, but it seemed as if one could easily breeze in as late as 12.30pm and be seated immediately.
the interior of the restaurant features a long counter (probably the source of the diner reference) and a few smaller tables with high bar seats scattered around the perimeter — all done up in a contemporary manner. i’d say the whole thing is closer to david chang’s momofuku experience, rather than a traditional roadside diner. we were seated at a table, rather than the counter. our waitress hailed from australia, which was a relief, as we didn’t have to stumble through with our rather broken french.
just about everything at the restaurant is served in either a jar, or staub cookware. the staub cooked dish goes straight from the stove to your table.
hubs and i both ordered the crab salad. it comes served in a glass mason jar. they really stuffed in the ingredients. it seemed as if it took me a good 20 minutes before i found the bottom of the jar. a few days later when we returned stateside, we agreed that it was one of the best things we ate on our trip.
for our mains, hubs ordered a halibut cooked in a staub pot. yes, that’s halibut under all that foam. i recall hubs remarking that when something is flavorful and perfectly cooked, you really don’t need a huge portion to feel satisfied.
i got the milkfed lamb in a thyme sauce. even though a few pieces of the lamb were tougher than others, i quite enjoyed the dish. like the halibut, it was perfectly seasoned and brought me back to my summer vacation in provence just a few months ago.
hubs topped himself off with an apple crisp, and i ordered a plum clafoutis. while these were definitely your better than average desserts, i expected something more. there are so many transcendental dessert experiences in paris, that if given a tight quota of calories to consume or dollars to spend, i would recommend skipping dessert at les cocottes and heading over to the domain of those pastry gods that rule the saint-germain area.
there coffee is, however, excellent! the cappucino comes deeply foamy and is accompanied with a buttery, spoon shaped cookie from poilane.
our 3 course lunch ran us about 80 euros for the both of us including wine, coffee, etc.
Les Cocottes de Christian Constant
135 Rue Saint-Dominique
75007 Paris, France
01 45 50 10 31
Lunch:12 noon – 4pm
Dinner: 7pm – 11pm
Closed on Sunday