Letter from Paris: Granite
By Alexander Lobrano
Stepping through the front door of talented young chef Tom Meyer’s restaurant Granite in Paris unleashed a rush of memories and also inspired hope during a profoundly testing time. Though the COVID epidemic is still very much with us, as of this writing (December 16, 2021), restaurants in France remain open, with assiduous verification of your vaccination status before you’re allowed inside, and the Gallic gastronomic scene has recovered smartly this year with the opening of many outstanding new restaurants.
Deprived of restaurants for much of 2020, the French have a deeper, fresher and more urgent understanding of how important they are to their well-being today than probably at any time since 1945. This is of course because they love good food so much, but it goes way beyond simple–or complex, gastronomic pleasure. What we all missed terribly last year was the easy conviviality, piquant social voyeurism, and random sociability of dining out, since no other idiom more powerfully feeds and frames the finely grained drama of daily life than a restaurant meal.
So while it was exciting for me to be trying this new restaurant for the first time, it was also a poignant occasion. Because it takes a lot of courage to open a restaurant right now when we’re still pretty much flying in thick fog … continue reading
Alexander Lobrano’s new memoir is “My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris.” Lobrano grew up in Connecticut and lived in Boston, New York, and London before moving to Paris, his home today, in 1986. He has written about food and travel for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur, Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. He is the author of Hungry for Paris: The Ultimate Guide to the City’s 109 Best Restaurants (Random House), which was published in a second edition in 2014 and is a Contributing Editor at Saveur Magazine. Hungry for France was published by Rizzoli in April 2014. Visit his website, www.alexanderlobrano.com. Photo Steven Rothfeld.