Restaurant Joséphine “Chez Dumonet,” a 112-year-old bistro in the 6th arrondissement that’s known for its brilliant and bountiful execution of French classics, was my top pick for our inaugural dinner in Paris. The restaurant’s distinct old world feel set the mood perfectly for our first night in The City of Light.
As with all of the desirable tables in town, reservations were made weeks in advance to secure our spot. Though the restaurant was fairly empty when we arrived at 7:30, by the time we left a few hours later the petite bistro was bumpin’. The local set tend to eat late.
Small saucers of gazpacho were delivered to the table as we were making our final decisions about what to order. Cool, smooth, and sweetened by summer’s early tomatoes, the soup offered a lovely sip to start.
Knowing that the portions here tend to be generous, we shared a half order of the foie gras terrine (€18) to start. While it may look reasonably sized in this photo, in person we thought that our waiter had mistakenly served us a full order.
Foie gras is usually paired with something fruity or nutty to reel in its intrinsic richness, but at Chez Dumonet the liver was served straight up with only toasted baguette rounds. We found the terrine perfectly balanced and simply delicious; no reeling in was necessary.
With a bit of prodding from me, my mother settled on the cassoulet (€36) for her main course. This rich, slow-cooked stew from southern France was thick with plump sausages, tender duck, pork skin and belly, and creamy white beans. For a little pot, it sure had a lot of soul.
My half order of beef Bourguignon (€19) was served in a similarly adorable pot resting on a doily. Served on the side were noodles slicked in butter and cream.
While I was thrilled to be reunited with noodles after several days in London without, the highlights of the dish were the glorious beef and mushrooms coated in a shiny, rich, and luscious sauce. The flavors were intensely savory.
The Astronomer’s confit de canard (€23), considered to be one of Paris’ finest specimens, was as great as we had anticipated. The skin, well crisped from hip to toe, shattered and crackled as he cut into it, revealing succulent meat underneath. Served alongside were mesclun greens and potatoes fried in duck fat.
We finished our supper with an impressively tall Grand Marnier souffle (€18) that tasted like liquor-tinged clouds.
A shot of Grand Marnier was served on the side. We opted to sip the extra booze rather than pouring it into the souffle.
Chez Dumonet served up the kind of quintessentially French meal that I always dreamed about before coming to Paris. This style of old-fashioned cooking has become a rarity in Paris these days, so it’s good to know that locals and visitors can turn to this century-old restaurant for a hearty helping of the classics.
Joséphine “Chez Dumonet” Restaurant
117 Rue du Cherche-Midi
75006 Paris, France
Phone: 01 45 48 52 40
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Three years ago: 101 Noodle Express – Alhambra
Four years ago: Sentro Restaurant at Greenbelt Mall – Manila
Five years ago: Canh Chua Chay – Vegetarian Sour Soup