Letter from Paris: La Poule au Pot
By Alexander Lobrano
Tucked away in one of the ancient and atmospheric side streets that survived the massacre of Les Halles*, the great central food market that was once ‘the Belly of Paris,’ La Poule au Pot is a long-running address that once attracted a bon-vivant crowd of celebrities and night owls with a comforting version of the dish from which it takes it name.
Now, happily, it’s been saved from becoming yet another clothing boutique or sandwich shop–the most common fate of any commercial space that changes hands here today, by talented chef Jean-Francois Piège. Piège, 47, has three other excellent restaurants in Paris–Restaurant Jean-Francois Piège, his gastronomic table; Clover Grill, a steakhouse that’s also near Les Halles; and Clover Green in Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
This fourth restaurant, however, is the one that feels like the most personal expression of the chef and the traditional French cooking he loves. I’ve been smitten by Piège’s cooking ever since I first discovered it back in the days when he was head chef at Les Ambassadeurs, the now-defunct restaurant of the Hotel de Crillon … continue reading