La Régalade Saint-Honoré, Paris

Interior, La Régalade Saint-Honore

Even better than a good restaurant in the middle of nowhere is a good restaurant in the center of town. One of the only faults of La Régalade, started by Yves Camdeborde in 1992 and turned over in 2004 to up-and-coming chef Bruno Doucet, was its location in the southern 14th arrondissement – horrid by Parisian standards. After several years at the helm at La Régalade in the 14th, Doucet opened another branch of the restaurant on Saint-Honoré, right by the Louvre. How convenient! Now he is installed in the open kitchen at this sharp new bistro moderne, which has been a tough reservation since it opened last year.

Chef Doucet, La Regalade Saint-Honore

The decor here indicates what is to come: the elegant curve of the ceiling is a nod to the restaurant’s lofty ambitions, but a plain polished cement floor signals its lack of pretention. The dichotomy makes you think twice, as does a lot of the food –  its initial simplicity gives way to layers of complexity.

Terrine, La Regalade Saint-Honore

Cornichons, La Regalade Saint-Honore

For starters came a traditional bistro pork terrine served all-you-can-eat style in a casserole dish, cornichons and bread. La Régalade’s terrine was meaty but light, perfectly balanced.

Calamars, La Regalade Saint-Honore

An appetizer of calamari with squid ink risotto was like a fabulously complex “surf and turf”: porcini mushrooms and shallots inflected the risotto beneath with woodsy flavor, and the ribbons of tender baby calamari layered on top were sauteed in garlic infused olive oil in the traditional seaside style.

Thon Mi Cuir, La Regalade Saint-Honore

An appetizer of thon mi cuir was a triumph of simplicity: excellent quality tuna, barely cooked, with few distractions. What’s underneath looks like beets, but it’s actually celery root sliced razor thin, soaked in red wine for an acidic note that brought out the richness of the fish.

Boeuf Bourgignon, La Regalade Saint Honore

A modernized boeuf bourgignon has all the stewy goodness of the original with much more pronounced notes of smoky bacon, which perfumes the whole dish with umami flavor, further accentuated by the demi glace, mushrooms, oniony carrots and red wine in the sauce.

Duck with Potatoes a l'ancienne, La Regalade Saint Honore

The tender duck arrived in a Côtes du Rhone-based sauce, served with potatoes cooked “à l’ancienne,” which seemed to mean under the duck, in duck fat. Delicious.

Rice Pudding a grandmere, La Regalade Saint-Honore

I rarely get dessert in the States, but I rarely skip it in Paris. And, dessert was part of this very reasonably priced €32 prix fixe meal here – an incredible bargain for the quality of the food, atmosphere and service. The rich and creamy rice pudding à grandmere had all the comfort factor of granny’s rice pudding plus the Scandanavian spiciness of cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon, much like Marcus Samuelsson’s cooking.

Aged Goat Cheese, La Regalade Saint Honore

An aged, dense and creamy goat cheese, the cheese du jour, arrived with a tangle of greens and freshly cut baguette.

Exterior, La Regalade Saint-Honore

Just as it’s a pleasure to see an excellent band in a small venue before they’re so big they’re playing stadiums, it’s a treat to experience chef Doucet’s cooking in such an intimate setting, so go while you can. Before Yves Camdeborde became Yves Camdeborde, he was doing exactly the same thing.

La Régalade Saint-Honoré
123 rue Saint-Honoré
1st arrondissement, Paris
01 42 21 92 40
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Posted in food, Paris, restaurants | Tagged , , | 1 Comment
  • lucette Gilbert

    J’ai entendu tant de bonnes choses au sujet de vos restautants!

    J’ ai des clients que seront a Paris du 28 au 30 mai. J’espere qu’ils pourront diner chez vous le 28, le 28 ou le 30.(je suis leur agent de voyage)

    Tous mes compliments pour votre succes et merci!

    Lucette Gilbert (Parisienne de naissance)