Paris still has the power to seduce. Lunch at Les Elysees du Vernet, was outstanding and this is a staggeringly good restaurant, located just a few blocks from the Arc de Triomphe, at the back of a small hotel. By the time you reach your table a bowl of olives is already waiting to accompany your aperitif. I have to say that it is very nice to be called by your name and led to a table set especially for you when you have reserved. Service is great and all around you, the ham is shaved into thin, pink curls; whole , large fish are separated into fillets and a neat amount of bones, fins and fennel branches. The scallops are amazing , toasted to a blackened crunch but still slightly underdone with the unmistakable fragrance of the sea. The Parmentier de Sanglier au panais ( like a sheperd's pie of stewed boar with mashed turnips). Dessert was a thin wafer of sugared pastry, vanilla ice cream and autumn fruits. With the dessert a Beaumes-de-Venise was served. On the way out the door, women are given long-stemmed roses and men , a bag of sugared nuts. The food was perfect and I highly recommend the restaurant located in the middle of one of the most touristy neighborhood in the world. A lot of people that I know have not even heard about the place. Even though, despite all its widely publicized setbacks Paris still got it!.
Even when you least expect it to be in a brasserie like The Vaudeville at one o'clock in the morning, perhaps the deliciousness of a frisee salad practically knocks you backward, or when having oysters at a basic Les Halles tourist bistro is sweeter and brinier than anything you have ever tasted in New York or San Francisco or when an anonymous Miromesnil Wine bar serves you a plate of out of this world garlic sausage. You don't have to throw the big bucks around , believe me Paris still has it! , a small bistro or a bar where you still taste amazing food, you will be surprised, very surprised. A lot of gourmet lovers will always look for " Les tables Branchees" but I would recommend you be more adventurous and try the small local bars or small brasseries, you maybe surprised.