Le Comptoir

Address: 5, Carrefour de l'Odéo, Paris 

Phone: +33 (0)1 44 27 07 97

It's been about five months since our Paris food tour in February, and I'm missing Le Comptoir more and more each day. Of all of the places we have eaten in Paris this last trip (L'Arpege, Chateaubriand, L'atelier de Joel Robuchon, Frenchie, L'epi Dupin), Le Comptoir is definitely our favorite. Maybe we are bias because we stayed in Relais Saint Germain hotel next door (also owned by Le Comptoir Chef Yves Camdeborde and his wife Claudine) and get to eat the most amazing breakfast at Le Comptoir every morning, but it was the restaurant's $57 five course set menu dinner that totally blew us away. I haven't had baby eel (angulas) since Asador Etxebarri, and Chef Camdeborde's angulas with roasted garlic was superb, enhanced by the slight smokiness and aroma of the perfectly roasted garlic, this dish was to die for. Similarly, the mackerel with squid ink was the single best fish dish that we have ever tasted. The mackerel was grilled to perfection and served on top of a bed of squid ink. Who knew they'd go so well together? We were thoroughly impressed! The other dishes like oysters with lemon zest, lobster with macaroni and sweet breads were sublime as well. The highlight of the dinner was definitely the Le Comptoir generous cheese course; which restaurant in this world would hand you a large tray of different types of cheese like Timanoix, Beaufort, Brie etc with lovely Cerise Noir and tell you to enjoy it as much as you can before passing the tray to the next table? Needless to say, Gan and I were in cheese heaven that night. You may be surprised to hear this, but getting a reservation at Le Comptoir was actually harder than getting a reservation at Chateaubriand or Frenchie. When I first called the restaurant for a table in February, I was told that it was fully booked until May, and it will be impossible to get a table. But with a combination of research and luck, I discovered that the restaurant does reserve a few tables for its hotel guests at Relais Saint Germain hotel next door, and that was the only other way to score a table at Le Comptoir in February besides personally knowing the chef! 

Some of you may not know, but Chef Yves Camdeborde is actually a legend in the restaurant industry, known as one of the first few chefs who started the food culinary movement in Paris known as "Le Fooding" in the early 90s. Le fooding movement is all about going against the old fashion and inflexible standards and rules for French cuisines and their single and most important lifelong goal of pursuing the Michelin stars by reaching for perfections in every single aspects. Le Fooding is all about presenting elegant and creative food minus the pretense, snobbery and hefty price tag. It is about giving every food lovers out there a chance to taste world class, ambitious French cooking that is used to be available only for those who can afford to eat at places such as Le Meurice, Ritz and Hôtel de Crillon. We love Chef Camdeborde for paving the ways for new generation of Le Fooding chefs like Inaki Aizpitarte of Le Chateaubriand and Gregory Marchand of Frenchie restaurant, and for cooking amazing French food that does not cost an arm and a leg.

Just like the Noveau cuisine movement that had modernized French cuisines in the early part of the century, Le Fooding is the 21st century French culinary movement that will once again propel French cuisines to the next level, making it a world class cuisine that is current and here to stay.
Restaurant interior
oyster with lemon zests
angulas with roasted garlic
mackerel with squid ink
sweet bread
Lobster with macaroni
out-of-this-world cheese course