France: Nothing on earth as elegant as posh Parisian palace of cuisine

l'Avant Comptoir in Paris

l’Avant Comptoir in Paris

By Staff Writer Larry Wilson

With many Parisian restaurants closed Sunday nights, I asked food critic Jonathan Gold where to go.

“I would go to L’Avant-Comptoir,” he replied. “Open Sundays and they don’t take reservations anyway so just get there and get in line.”

We met up with a young lawyer friend of Phoebe’s I’d taught to surf eight summers ago when he was in L.A.; he was now transitioning to a career in fashion photography.

His height and local French helped in the no-menu, no-chairs restaurant with offerings on the chalkboard where everyone eats small plates passed through the crowd and where we eventually landed a place at the zinc bar to lean on, gulping glasses of red Burgundy and eating nose-to-tail (well, ears at least) pieces of pig.

Paul-Antoine took us around the corner to the Assemblee Nationale where brass markers laid out the original length of a meter in revolutionary France.

Monday night we were booked, nostalgically, in our only highly fancy restaurant of the trip, Michel Rostang, a Michelin two-star, where I had first eaten more than 30 years ago and where Phoebe and I had dined a decade ago as well. The lobster menu, the bottle of extraordinary Chablis, the desserts that keep coming even after dessert — there is nothing on earth as elegant as a quiet, posh Parisian palace of cuisine.

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