Generallyspeaking, Parisian restaurants fall into one of two categories: multi-starredand legendary or tourist-focused horrors. So when a Parisian friend – a native– recommended that I try La Maison, I accepted her suggestion with optimism.
It proved to bewell founded. Located in the 17th arrondissement, La Maison isabout to celebrate its fifth year of business. The owners, Thomas LeFrançois and his friend and business partner Christelle Boutié, run it with a simpleethos: to produce the same sort of food – traditional, home-cooked and honest –they had experienced with their respective grandmothers. Although both have worked in restaurants, neither does the cooking – that is left in the capablehands of executive chef Yvan Sternat, who hails from Normandy and has alifelong love of butter. So if it is calorie-restricted or cholesterol-reducingdishes that you seek, look away now.
What I wanted wasproper French steak – as meltingly rare as possible. I was not disappointed.Both my guest and I opted for fillet steak (€23), which came with a choice ofsauces. As we couldn’t make up our minds, we shared two: the sauce aupoivre and the sauce au Roquefort. The first was superb,but the second was taste-bud heaven. We washed them down with Crozes-Hermitage wine(€7 a glass) – very more-ish – and shortened our life expectancy furtherwith the most magnificent brioche façon pain perdu,accompanied by salted caramel butter and Bertillon vanilla ice cream (€8.90).Writing this now makes me long for it all over again.
The restaurant ticks every box in terms of comfort, atmosphere and excellent serviceby traditionally attired white-aproned waiters. Le François says he and Boutié aretrying to “create a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere where people feel at home” – and, in my experience, they certainly have. (For the record, his own recommendationsfrom the menu would be the veal stew or the whole kidney – the latter beingrarely found in Paris today.) There are no set menus – or, thank heaven, touristones – but the extensive à la carte options mean you should beable to eat very well for about €30 to €35 per person.
The duo are soon to take on another restaurant (in the 16th arrondissement this time) called Le Beaujolais d’Auteuil, which will embrace the same ethos and atmosphere as LaMaison. You heard it here first.