27, Rue Malar
75007 Paris, France
Tel: +33 (01) 4705 8689
Before we left for our Europe trip, we were pretty diligent in our planning. We already had in hand a number of places to visit and necessary reservations for the restaurants we wanted to dine at were all made well before we left. Chez l'ami Jean was never in the itinerary. But after dining at quite some crappy places on days we decided to "wing it", we decided to try our luck to get a table at Chez and as you are currently reading this, you guessed right. We got lucky. In fact, we got lucky twice because I went for dinner there 2 nights in a row. Yup, that's how much we liked the place.
Chef Stéphane Jego, originally from Basque, is one of those chefs who has trained in French formal kitchens, worked with top chefs and is now part of the "casual dining" movement. And honestly, I think he is doing extremely well. On both nights, the restaurant was packed. On the 2nd night I was there, the restaurant was still bustling at 11pm (I know Europeans dine late but still!).
Deep Fried Pork Fat
Chez basically offers a 3 course prix fixe menu, a couple of sharing ala carte items and some specials on the board that change daily. Wanting to sample different things off the menu, we ordered a 3 course menu and 2 specials off the board on the first night. Noted for his Charcuterie, we also couldn't leave without trying Chef Jego's Bayonne Ham. I have to say I don't specifically remember the details of every dish I ate but I felt it would have done the restaurant injustice if I just didn't show you what we ate that night. I do remember the Salmon dish however where the fish was cooked the way I liked it; slightly raw in the middle. R really enjoyed his dish of Sweetbreads and the Assiette of Pork that I had for my main was excellent as well.
What sealed the deal and led us to return with the rest of the pack was this dessert - Chez l'ami Jean's famous Riz au Lait also known as White Rice Pudding.
AMAZING. That's the only word that I can think of to describe this dessert. Easily one of the best desserts I've ever had in my life. 2 nights in a row simply just wasn't enough actually. The rice pudding used bomba rice which is usually used in paellas so it was able to keep its shape and texture without turning to mush. The pudding was so creamy and smooth and yet so light that we were able to continue eating it without feeling like the cream was weighing us down. The accompaniments were all important to bring this dish together too. I loved the salted caramel butter which I thought was necessary for the pudding. The flavoured meringues and roasted pralines added the crunch. Did I mention that I loved the self assembly aspect of this dessert as well?
We got to try a different set of dishes the next night. Between the 6 of us, we had the sharing portions of Kurobuta Pork, Wagyu Beef and a whole roasted Foie Gras.
The meats were all cooked to perfection; the pork was nice and pink, the beef was a spot-on medium rare and the thick slabs of foie were so rich and so good. I didn't have get a good picture of the beef and foie in its entirety but the below should give you an idea what it should have looked like. That's the first portion that was given to me. Erm.. should I be shy about admitting that I had another 2 more after that?
Call to book in advance. I'm sure you don't want to give this place a miss.