On Rue Saint Dominique, sandwiched between Violon D’Ingres and Cafe Constant, is the ‘’troisième’’ restaurant owned by Chef Christian Constant, Les Cocottes. Chef Christian Constant is usually seen here, unless he is sipping a cafe outside, at a table by Cafe Constant next door. Les Cocottes is the happy medium between the more upscale Violon D’Ingres and the casual Cafe Constant, but remains a chic hopping ground for the well-heeled Parisians of the Seventh arrondissement.
Sleek and narrow, with a long bar which serves as a main dining table for couples or those who are dining solo, Les Cocottes offers inventive cuisine, typically slow cooked in a Staub ‘’cocottes’’ (a hard enameled casserole dish). The food is, as usual with Constant cuisine, superb. Flavorful, colorful, sometimes whimsical, surprising, yet maintaining classical elements – Constant’s cuisine at Les Cocottes never disappoints.
Constant’s Caesar salad is the best I have ever had – and by French standards is a large enough entrée (i.e., starter) that it is enough to serve as a main course by itself. But don’t stop there. His soup du jour is fresh and bursting with flavor – I have had pea soup and pumpkin soup on separate occasions and both were extremely satisfying. His other entrées such as foie gras, are equally good. But his best dishes are the game, meat and fish, usually with a side of excellent vegetables such as pommes de terres (potatoes). This is not ‘’simple’’ fare either. Menu choices include such dishes as roasted lamb, scallops in a froth of orange butter and endives (not bitter), or a fine roasted daurade (sea bass) or cabillaud (cod), depending upon availability, as everything is fresh and served accordingly.
The entrées and plats are so deeply satisfying that dessert is almost an afterthought. The tarte au chocolat with chantilly (whipped cream) and other little favorites (e.g., mousse au chocolat, Basque cheese with cherry jam) are a fine little ending to the meal, but you could easily just pass for a glass of port or Armagnac.
Les Cocottes is family comfort food at its best, but with gastronomic flair that only Constant brings to the table. It reflects Constant’s roots – his mother’s cooking – with the culinary skills he developed at star restaurants such as Les Ambassadeurs at the storied Hotel de Crillon, Ledoyen (another Michelin three star restaurant), and The Ritz, which ultimately helped him become the genius Chef and restaurateur that he is today.
Les Cocottes does not take reservations, which usually means you need to show up early (promptly when doors open), wait a while, or show up late (after 10:00 for dinner). Les Cocottes is one of the perfect venues for dining alone, and is a great spot for when with friends or even a blind date. Prices are reasonable, with entrées in the 8-12 Euro range and most plats for only 15-20 Euros. A glass of wine is available for as little as 4-6 Euros, and reasonably good too.
To see more about Les Cocottes via video, click here:
Open for lunch 12-2:30 and dinner from 7:15-10:30, except Sunday.
135, rue Saint-Dominique, Paris 75007. No reservations are accepted.