Racines

racines

No complaints about the food at Racines. In fact, it’s one of the best places I’ve eaten in Paris in a long time.

tattoo

Unfortunately I took some of the worst pictures of one of the best-looking—and probably the most heavily-inked—restaurateurs in Paris, so you’ll have to go meet Pierre Jancou for yourself.


He was waiting on the tables that day and was happy to chat in French, English, and Italian, as necessary.

pasta

The pasta showed off how Italians (particularly in Bologna) are able to coax lots of flavor from the thinnest, almost non-existent ragù. While it didn’t look like much, it was sensational. And although I’ve written about the lack of excitement over organic products in Paris, at Racines I was happy to eat my words.

salad

The menu changes daily and on our visit, there was a salad of thinly-shaved vegetables from Alain Passard’s garden and very light rabbit rillettes to spread on slices of fresh baguette.

tartarbefore

We ordered each of the main courses: steak tartar with real, honest-to-goodness, made from scratch frites, braised pork cheeks with tiny, excellent roasted potatoes, and Festonati pasta.

With Meg and Dorie, our quick lunch ended up lasting almost 3 hours—or more. The wines are fascinating to sample and “more than organic.

Racines
8 passage des Panoramas (2nd)
Tél: 01 40 13 06 41

UPDATE: Sadly, as of October 22, 2009, Racines has been sold and is no longer owned by Pierre Jancou. The future of the restaurant is unclear but I wish him luck in future endeavors.

15 comments

  • Hi, David: I visited Racines when I was in Paris last November. Pierre was very nice and accomodating. At the time, he still was waiting to have the gas turned on, so no cooking was being done. He did serve me a selection of great bio-wines and some great meats and cheeses, but the Lardo was just spectacular! It’s on my list when I return in October. Cheers, Ed

  • Hi, David!
    I took note of Racines.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge about Paris in such a funny brilliant way in your site! I will be there in July and thanks to your valuable posts and of other (lucky!) bloggers living in Paris I was able to plan a great (I hope!) trip.
    If you ever visit Vienna, do let us know!
    Au revoir,
    Carolina

  • Mmm, I intend to go ASAP. I know my bosses and some of my fellow chefs really like this place and now you: there’s nothing more I could want in terms of recommendations!

  • As if i needed another reason to want to be in Paris….geez! That looks awesome, and Pierre & his ink would fit in perfectly here with some of my Portland restaurant pals. Thanks for sharing…sigh………..

  • I think these photos are great. :) The salad is a work of art.

    By the way, I made your Devil’s food cake last week and it was wonderful. thanks.

  • I sent the restaurant info to my mom, who’s in Paris right now. wish I was there with her. sigh.

  • All right! You might not recall, but I told you you’d like this place. Hope you got some lardo di Colonnata too!

    I don’t recall, but perhaps if you’d mentioned the lardo, that would’ve made me remember your suggestion! -DL

  • I’m glad owner Pierre Jancou was in the mood for customers when you visited. Unfortunately when we tried to enter this establishment recently to enjoy some wine and lardo, my wife and I were told that Racines is NOT a wine bar. M. Jancou then went on, slouched over a cigarette and espresso, to explain to us “how things work in France”. I guess this is code for “how I get away with treating customers rudely and still manage to be in business”. He then hands us a business card and invites us to make a reservation by telephone; I was tempted to ask if we could at least borrow his mobile but I wanted no further contact with this preening fob and left as quickly as possible. An insufferable jackass to say the least and in no way would I give this Pierre Jancou one euro of business no matter how good a bolognese he makes (and I have travelled far and wide for great bolognese.)

  • Hello David !

    Too bad you didn’t get a chance to take a picture from behind the bar because there is often an ugly coke can throning there.

    I know this might sound as a detail to you and eventhough I know Pierre Jancou’s cuisine, a coke can should have nothing to do in a place that claims a “more than organic” philosophy, hasn’t it ?
    You can’t just stand for things you don’t apply to your life.

    I do agree with Charle’s comment and the top never shows the bottom of things.

    But I still love Paris for its generosity and its quality of food… As long that you know where NOT to go.

  • Hi Charles: Well, it wouldn’t be the first time someone was rude in Paris! ; )

    Joking aside, the first time I ate there, Pierre knew my dining companion. But the second time, we were just ordinary customers and we were treated well. One thing about Paris wine bars; some aren’t allowed to serve wine without food. So you can’t walk in and have a glass. I don’t quite know the details of the law, but like another favorite wine bar of mine, Le Verre Volé, neither can’t allow people to drink there unless they’re seated & eating.

    Another thing is that in Paris, if you walk in without a reservation, you’re much less-likely to be warmly welcomed than if you call first. It took me some time to figure that one out, but restaurants are more intimate here (like a ‘home’) and it’s best to call ahead. Also, Pierre is not just running the restaurant, but is the host, busboy and waiter so he’s usually a bit frantic during service.

    Still, if you didn’t feel welcome or he was rude, I wouldn’t go back either. However I would give it another try. As mentioned, the food is really good and he was always nothing but gracious whenever I’ve eaten here. And he has no idea who the heck I am.

    John L: I didn’t see any cans of soda stashed away, but he also smokes, too! Still, I know a very famous chef in America who lives & dies by the motto “local and organic”, but every once in while, they have to have a hot dog. I won’t reveal their name, but even I’ve succumbed to an occasional root beer or burger myself!

  • Had the same (bad) experience yesterday when a friend and I went in around 7pm. We were told in no uncertain terms that Racine’s is a restaurant and NOT a wine bar. We were both a little hungry and would have been more than happy to order a couple of entrees to enjoy with a glass of wine, but not having a reservation, that was probably not an option either. I came home and searched the internet to find where on earth I had gotten the idea that Racine’s was a wine bar, and lo and behold, it’s everywhere. Even the owner comments on articles that call Racine’s a wine bar and never says it’s not a wine bar. I guess as an American I have an idea of a wine bar being the kind of place where you can go in sans reservation and have a glass of wine with a little bite if you so choose. And even though I live here, there are too many good places to eat in Paris for me to go back to Racine’s.

  • Hi Gina: Sorry you didn’t have a good experience. I would like to know the French definition of ‘wine bar.’ When I started going to Le Verre Volé, I was surprised when they said they couldn’t serve wine at the (albeit tiny) bar, only at tables with food. (Which are always full.) I think you can call yourself a wine bar if a number of wines are listed somewhere by the year and producer, like on a blackboard, but don’t quote me on that.

    Since you live here, you might want to try Le Rubis where you can stop in for a glass of wine and a plate of charcuterie. They’re not open for dinner, but they are open early evening if you want to prendre un verre and they’re pretty friendly.

  • Hello David,

    I am so sorry that these people don’t understand how things work.
    Once for all: We are not a bar.

    We are a very small restaurant having some success and ALWAYS
    fully booked.

    If someone wants to come to have dinner at Racines they will need
    to book.

    Most of the people who came were very glad and are coming back. Why on earth are some other people angry, overexcited and very RUDE only because I am fully booked?

    It is not my fault and I always try to make people happy.

    Take care,

    pierre jancou

  • Hi Pierre: Thanks for chiming in. As mentioned, I love your restaurant and consider it one of the most special places in Paris. Not just to eat, but because of you, and the service.

    It is a very small place and always booked. I don’t feature restaurants on the site unless I think they’re very special, which to me, Racines is. And I wouldn’t recommend a restaurant if I didn’t think the staff was going to be friendly. Each time I’ve been to Racines, I’ve had a terrific meal. While I certainly respect the comments of others, I honestly think this should not deter others from eating there.

    I, too, tried to go recently without a reservation and was disappointed, since I was in the passage and really wanted to eat there but it’s a small restaurant and I understand the challenges it faces as it becomes well-known.

    (And that pasta I ate was really one of the best I’ve ever had—anywhere. It’s worth reserving for!)

  • Thank you David for your support.
    As you said its impossible to make everybody happy…
    but the recognition of so many people and americans
    is one of my joys in this business.
    Hope to see you soon,
    pierre