Friday, May 26, 2006

Chez Stella

I mentioned Chez Stella on my list of cheap restaurants, promising a post soon enough, and returned to this small restaurant in the 1st this week. Surrounded by Japanese restaurants, Chez Stella stands out, offering traditional French cooking for bargain prices. There is the 3-course 12€ menu, the 2-course 11€ menu, or a big salad + dessert for 10€ (click to enlarge):
The choices are simple but satisfying. Entrées include classics like a slice of pâté, a hardboiled egg, or an assiette de crudités - grated carrots, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and their take on potato salad (it has green peas). The main dishes include the inevitable steak haché (ground beef patty), the family dinner-friendly rôti de porc (roasted pork), a fully loaded omelette, turkey, and some additional specials that require supplements as well as the plate of the day. You choose your side - rice, french fries, green beans, baked potatoes - and either Stella or her obliging husband/cook will bring it out to you soon enough.

The desserts are Chez Stella's strong point, where the options go far beyond simple renderings of classics: as you walk in you can't help but notice the table on the left, overflowing with all sorts of cakes, pies, puddings, and creams. If Stella likes you she'll even let you choose two! I've had the fromage blanc cake before, which is like a heavier angel food cake, and the crème caramel, but this time the chocolate cake looked so good I couldn't resist. It was a chocoholic's dream, covered in a rich frosting, even though it was unfortunately drowned in crème anglaise (the husband asked "with a little bit of crème?" and I replied "Yes, just a little bit on the side", but I guess we have different understandings of un petit peu).

When you walk into the restaurant you enter Stella's kingdom. Stella is coquette - always perfectly made up, with jewelry and a dress, she presides over the restaurant like the queen that she is. Just because she's queen doesn't mean she forgets about the little people, and you will be well taken care of here. Stopping by to ask you how it is, she'll crack a joke or two if she deems you worthy. Last time I went there was a large dinner party of gay men, and since Stella and her husband were enjoying the home videos that this table was passing around (oh yes, that kind of home video), the entire restaurant got to see them, as Stella made the tour with the man's digital camera, cracking the same jokes at each table and making suggestive (seductive?) faces & gestures to her husband. At the time I thought to myself "Don't bring the parents here!", but this week, both Stella and the clientele seemed to be more serious, and we didn't get to see any dirty videos nor hear any dirty jokes. Her husband was soo friendly as usual, describing our table with flourish as he sat us. Even though we were crammed in the back corner, he tried to be nice about it, "Here you will have a bit of room, it is more calm," and was always smiling and cheerful.

Since it is small, with friendly service and rock-bottom prices, it is always packed and reservations are necessary. I can't recommend it highly enough - this is the best 12€ meal you can have in Paris. Entirely non-smoking.

Chez Stella
3, rue Thérèse
75001 Paris
01 42 96 22 15
M: Pyramides
Closed Saturday & Sunday

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5 comments:

Julia said...

Oh wow, I love the sound of this and am sure I'll end up having a meal here too! I love simple well-done food and warmth from the hosts themselves, which is sadly rare these days.

Fred said...

I am going to Chez Stella anytime in Paris for the last 13 years and anytime I go I have a good time. Stella and her husband run this place with pride and excellent service and this has never changed. Highly recommended. And the deserts are just to die for!!!!

Anonymous said...

Chez Stella is not a fancy restaurant. Think of it as that little homey joint around the corner. Generally you get what you pay for and the €12 price for a three course meal seems right. Chez Stella isn't serving the latest nouvelle cusine, they just feed hungry people who want a nice lunch. Menu selections are simple and I think this would be a good place for anyone who might be a fussy eater. There are no snails, guts or intestinal foods served here.

Service at Chez Stella is sweet and friendly. They do not deliver any attitude and seem happy that you are visiting.

For friendly service, cute atmosphere and good food I give Chez Stells 3 hearts.

Anonymous said...

Chez Stella is not a fancy restaurant. Think of it as that little homey joint around the corner. Generally you get what you pay for and the €12 price for a three course meal seems right. Chez Stella isn't serving the latest nouvelle cusine, they just feed hungry people who want a nice lunch. Menu selections are simple and I think this would be a good place for anyone who might be a fussy eater. There are no snails, guts or intestinal foods served here.

Service at Chez Stella is sweet and friendly. They do not deliver any attitude and seem happy that you are visiting.

For friendly service, cute atmosphere and good food I give Chez Stells 3 hearts.

dkaluzny said...

OK, so we're American . . . saw a review for Chez Stella in Gourmet magazine and thought I'd take my family there. We were NOT disappointed. Food was fabulous. We had turkey in a cream sauce, pork tenderloin, turkey escalope, and Missippi steak and a bottle of
Bourdeaux.

My 14-year-old daughter who usually eats nothing but pasta LOVED the turkey in cream sauce with mushrooms and rice on the side.

My older daughters (17 and 19 years old) were devastated when we initially arrived due to the very intimate atmosphere, but they were pleasantly suprised by how much they enjoyed themselves by evening's end.

I'm sure we had interrupted a town council meeting which was planning Stella's life-time achievement award in the community; however, even though the ex-mayor and myself disagreed whole-heartedly on the ethics of life, we enjoyed each other's company immensely.

Stella is closing her doors June 30, 2009 so get there while you can!

Stella gets 3 hearts for sure!