The magnificent glass-roofed 1900 Grand Palais, the city’s renowned exhibit hall, is drawing crowds with a new blockbuster—the Mini Palais, a restaurant behind the majestic colonnade on the building’s eastern flank. The vast dining room is a lively place with a sleek décor—16-ft high ceilings, massive chandeliers and a long buffed-cement bar. Restlessly innovative chef Gilles Choukroun, who also runs the Angl’Opéra restaurant and the Café Very in the Tuileries Gardens, has cooked up a clever contemporary brasserie menu that’s served non-stop from breakfast through dinner. A recent meal for two began with marinated oysters and poached egg in a lemony chive-garnished broth, and—one of Choukroun’s signatures—foie gras crème brûlée with peanuts. Both were delicious, as were main courses of steamed cod on crunchy raw cucumber “spaghetti” with almonds and coriander seeds, and poached chicken with caramelized tomatoes, chorizo and dates. Though the Saint Marcellin, the only cheese available, was served stone cold, a shared dessert of sautéed raspberries with yogurt ice cream and a warm madeleine was terrific. The wine list is organized according to styles of wine rather than by region, an emerging trend in Paris.
Perron Alexandre III, Ave Winston Churchill, 8th, 01.42.56.42.42. €60 per person without wine
Originally published in the September 2007 issue of France Today