NEW TABLE: Chez Julien, A Missed Opportunity

May 3, 2008

Though the recent renovation of Chez Julien is a big success–its beautiful painted glass ceiling of pudgy cherubim has been cleaned up and some tromp l’oeil fun created by the peek-a-boo window between the main dining room downstairs and the bar area, the food–a typically dumbed-down for trendy young Parisians menu–was an expensive disappointment at dinner the other night. Green asparagus were overcooked, boringly sauced with asparagus puree, and almost chilly when they came to the table after a very long wait, and foie gras had a curiously waxy taste and sheen. Both a cod steak and a sole meuniere were disasterously over-cooked, and the Fleurie from a vertiginously priced wine list was completely forgettable at 41 Euros. The only reason to consider this place is that it has a charming little terrace that will doubtless become one of the hottest al fresco dining scenes in Paris this summer (especially since this restaurant is run by Thierry Costes of the Hotel Amour and Alex Chapon of the Bistro Vivienne is targeting the same bright and pretty young things who frequent both of these establishments). So yearning for some fresh air in a quiet corner of the Marais, order as simply as possible–maybe the terrine maison, a bavette (hanger steak) or a cheese plate, but give anything more ambitious a miss. 1 rue Pont-Louis-Philippe, 4th, Metro: St-Paul or Pont-Marie. Open daily. Average 45 Euros.