As you may know from reading this blog, I have been making my way through the Bib Gourmand restaurants in the Red Michelin Guide. The Michelin guide is one of the most reliable guides I have come across, and I have only been disappointed a few times when going by the trusty Michelin man. Looking for somewhere to go on a Saturday (you'd be surprised at how many of these restaurants are closed all weekend), I finally wound up at a Jean-Pierre Frelet, a small, serious restaurant in the 12th. I say serious because it seems like a place my grandparents would take me to - the decor is simple but classy, and there is enough space to almost forget about your neighbors while still remaining aware of their conversation (making me feel like I had to whisper).
They have a 3 course set menu at 26.50€ (pictured at right), which changes daily. By the time R. and I were seated the chef still hadn't returned from the market with his fresh picks; when he pulled up a few minutes later his wife hastily erased one of the main dishes (the brandade de morue) and replaced it with encornet, a type of squid. Market fresh, indeed!
We both went with the daily menu, since it is much cheaper than à la carte (which would be at least 40€ for 3 courses), and for the first time ever we ordered exactly the same thing: the bavaroise de homard, the encornet, and the soupe de fruits. The meal got better with each course. Neither of us liked the bavaroise, which was a heavy, whipped lobster cream. Something was just off -- was it too sweet? almost cloying? a clash of flavors? -- and I couldn't eat more than a spoonful. It came with a side of toast and a very garlickly tapenade that I would stay away from if you are going on a first date! The main dish was great - sliced squid served over a bed of julienned vegetables with a light pesto sauce - and the fruit soup was delicious. More of a fruit salad, really, this was a large bowl with whole strawberries and raspberries and quartered figs that were bobbing in a sweet sauce. We both tasted the liqueur in it and R. insisted that it was Grand Marnier or Cointreau, but when we asked the lady about it she informed us that it was a mulled wine -- and tea! -- reduction. Perfection, and just like the main dish, appropriate for the season: so simple but so good.
I would recommend Jean-Pierre Frelet for the fresh daily menu, which offers a very good value for the quality of the meal. The service is a bit slow, to be expected with only the wife running the floor, so don't be surprised by the leisurely pace (even by French standards). I have posted the menu below to give you an idea of your other options if the daily offerings don't appeal (click to enlarge):Jean-Pierre Frelet
25, rue Montgallet
01 43 43 76 65
Open Monday - Friday, Saturday dinner only.