You know Yves Camdeborde's Le Comptoir du Relais restaurant : it is an enjoying Parisian brasserie open all days which turns into a gourmet restaurant on evenings, from Monday to Friday. It is rather easy to eat at the brasserie if you don't mind your schedule : come to queue at 11:45 or eat on Sunday night at 18:30. But its a pain to book a table at the weeknights gastro restaurant.
All is about the Masterchef effect? I can testify because I had eaten there before, during and after TF1 culinary show that it has not changed much. Six years ago booking a table was as difficult as now, you had to book months in advance.
Months in advance? Yeah...
I called earlier this morning, as a small test. Hello, I would like to book a table for two at the weeknight gourmet restaurant. The first table is available for March 22, it will be on Tuesday. If you prefer a Friday night, it will not be before May 27. Remember: today is Feb. 8. In the best case you have to wait a month and a half. Or in three months and a half, if you want to celebrate before the weekend.
So, how do we do ?
Perhaps you know the boss? A phone call can arrange it, I was told by winemakers. I remain skeptical about this possibility, given the narrowness of the place. And above all, I have a problem: I do not know the boss, I do not know his cell phone number...
But I have a solution.
First think about your partners : 2 is much easier than 8. Then arm yourself with a telephone, patience and flexibility; this technique does not necessarily work everytime, you may try again several days. And needless to say my solution is better for Mondays that Fridays. Then you have to call every morning around 10h30 / 11h to see if there is a cancellation for that evening. Even sometimes later the day. You know Parisian people, you know the current reluctance of foreigners regarding Paris and it's true, some people have genuine impediments. So all this may get lucky.
If all goes well, you'll get the 60 euros menu..
Special mention for the extraordinary dessert. Citrus from Kalamata (I guess it comes from the wonderful company, Profil Grec) with a basil cream and ice cream made from sheep's milk. I nedd another 15 please, especially for my breakfast and my snacks !
In the glass, the odd enjoyable: Anne, Françoise, Joseph (version 2010) from Le Domaine des Griottes in Loire Valley. Yes, it still exists in the cellar! It accompanies all the meal (except the pigeon who gets along well with a glass of Burgundy) and is not so expensive on the bill.
Obviously when eating the cheese, I was drinking last moments of bottle, that's why it has this colour.
Top service, very good meals, an intimate moment without thinking months ahead... If all the Parisian places were the same...
Le Comptoir du Relais, Yves Camdeborde, 5 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 75006 Paris, +33 1 44 27 07 97.