Frenchie To Go, Terroirs d’Avenir and L’Arbre à Café

Pastrami sandwich at Frenchie To Go

I don’t gush all that often, but one of the people in Paris that I really admire is Gregory Marchand. He’d probably be a little irked that I said that (or maybe not), but he’s one of the few chefs in Paris that’s been successful at creating what have become some of the best places to eat in the Paris. His restaurant Frenchie is always complet, and I went to Frenchie wine bar the other night, getting there just before opening time, and there was already a line of folks waiting outside for it to open so they could snag a table. And the food, from cornmeal-crusted “nuggets” of sweetbreads to the pulled pork sandwich, was as good – if not better – than dishes I’ve had in multi-starred restaurants. A friend who I worked with in San Francisco was there as well, and he kept giving me the thumbs-up from across the room.

Gregory took a previously deserted street, set up shop, and now it’s a bustling, charming little rue with a seafood shop where the fish is purchased directed from the fisherman, an excellent butcher, and a vegetable shop that has bins of things that you rarely see in Paris, from gorgeous (and giant) citrons from Corsica to leafy greens like dinosaur kale, and crates of curious root vegetables – parsley roots, tiny celeriac, and something else that I forgot the name of, but went by a Latin name that I never heard of before. (So, of course, I want to try it – whatever it was.) I was tempted to pick up a bag of the bright-yellow, smooth quince that were no larger than tennis balls, until I realized how much peeling would be involved. So I put them back.

Bacon

His other talent, which is perhaps the most profound – and rather challenging, is that he’s great at taking American flavors and using French products, making them appeal to the French palate. This is obvious when you bite into a sandwich at Frenchie To Go, a take-out place with a few stools for those who want to eat & run.

On the day I ate there, it had just turned noon and people were already crowding in. There are probably about a dozen stool clustered around a few tables, and not sure how many people actually get their food “to go”, but since I’m not a fan of trying to juggle a sandwich as I walk down the street, we were fortunate to snag two seats by the window. (If you can, I recommend going during off-hours, when most people are not on their lunch breaks.)

Frenchie to Go sauces for French fries

I’d had the pulled pork sandwich with house-smoked pork, sauce bbq, with the crunch of coleslaw at the wine bar the previous week, where it’s cut into 4 wedges for easy eating. And it was hard to pass up the house-curd bacon hanging in the butcher case, which goes on the egg and English muffin sandwich, but we went in a different direction.

Because Romain is crazy for pastrami – he once brought his sandwich into the kitchen of a restaurant in Paris, handing it back to the cook and telling him that it’s supposed to have a thick layer of pastrami – not one or two measly slices – we went with the double-whammy of beef sandwiches as we guarded our coveted stools.

Pastrami sandwich at Frenchie To Go

The pastrami on rye is made from British beef on the famed pain des amis from Du Pain et des Idées. While I like that bread just fine (it seems to be in the bread basket of virtually every hip and new restaurant that opens in Paris), it’s almost too-flavorful to go with the seasoned meat and I found myself pulling out pieces of the tasty pastrami and nibbling on them, before chowing down on the delicious slices of crisp, griddled bread afterward.

Frenchie to Go

A Reuben’s sandwich is layered with pastrami on light rye from baker Gontran Cherrier (Warning: Link contains music) along with melted cheddar and choucroute (sauerkraut) that was the team favorite. Although I’m not sure why it’s called a Reuben’s sandwich, with a possessive apostrophe “s” at the end, but perhaps whoever Reuben is, he’s finally taking credit for this deli favorite.

The fries were excellent and two kinds are offered: thick-cut ones, and thin ones. I was a little overwhelmed when I was at the register ordering, so wasn’t sure which was which. (Kind of like those root vegetables – both proof that my mind may be slipping away…) But when the cashier told me that one of them came with a choice of sauces, I immediately chose that one. I guess I hit the jackpot, because not only were those fries some of the best I’ve had in Paris (crisp and well-cooked), but they brought me all the sauces to try. The best of the lot was the housemade harissa, although the herbed mayonnaise was no slouch either. And I toggled between the two repeatedly, until they were both gone.

(Final proof there’s something wrong with me; I took a nice shot of the cone of fries – which I even wiped my hands clean to take so I wouldn’t get my camera button dirty, but can’t find it, so can’t share.)

Because the place was threatening to burst at the seams, I decided to come back a few days later to try the pastries by Camille Malmquist, including the famous Brillat-Savarin cheesecake, made with the triple-crème cheese that’s a great example of Gregory’s matching up French ingredients to align with something American, and creating tasty that showcases the best of both cultures. And I’m interested in trying the sticky buns that have been garnering raves from everyone who’s tried them.

Because the shop opens at the early hour of 8:30am, if Camille can get up at the crack of dawn and bake, I have no excuse for lying in bed past the break of dawn and not getting myself over there to test the pastries. Right? (However with the sun coming up now at 8:30am or so – and my new bed warmer from Germany, it may take a little more effort than any normal person might think, to get me out of bed to bike over there.)

Frenchie to Go brownie

After I left, I was thinking how perhaps in the future, Gregory Marchand should try his hand at some of the French classics, like toasting up a Croque-madame, using top-quality ham and cheese, served a tangy sourdough (levain) bread with a farm egg resting on top. I am certain he could add his own touch that would take it over-the-top. Truffles? Tarragon salt sprinkled on top? Piment d’Espelette béchamel? Or maybe do something like a Hachis Parmentier “walk-away”, with crisp-edged potato cakes encircling braised meat. Am not sure how he’d pull that one off (honestly, I can’t even get out of bed or pull off posting a picture of French fries), but if he could pull off a string of successful restaurants in Paris, I’m confident he could do it – and do it right.

Terroirs d'Avenir sausage

On the same street is Terroirs d’Avenir, which runs the butchery, fish shop, and épicerie, that sells all sorts of elusive vegetables, fruits, and a well-edited selection of cheeses.

Terroirs d'Avenir

Over at the butcher shop, the friendly fellow was happy to offer us tastes of chorizo (spicy sausage) – which was marvelous, and Jambon noir de Bigorre. They also carry the true Jambon de Paris, which is the only ham made in Paris, without any additives – and is available smoked and unsmoked. It may look like your everyday boiled ham, but it has a dense, rich flavor that makes you realize you’re eating something that ain’t your average “deli cold cut.” And if someone doesn’t start making a jambon-beurre sandwich with it, a perfect French sandwich if I ever imagined one, I’m going open my own stand just down the street and do it myself. Well, once I get through the mass of paperwork it takes to open a place. So perhaps don’t hold your breath.

Jambon de Paris

There was a nice French guy there that we started talking to, who I found out was a neighbor of a friend who lived nearby, who was grabbing some things for lunch. I saw in the exact same spot, by the butcher, a couple of days later. Making me think I should start looking for a closer place to live as well.

I was so full from lunch I didn’t think I could slide anything else in my gullet. But I was glad I did when I tasted some of the charcuterie from the shop, especially that jambon de noix, which is a close relative to the acorn-fed Spanish hams that I had in Seville, and every bit as good. Next time I go, I’m bringing an empty stomach – and a shopping bag.

L'arbre à café

Last up is coffee, and you can sip a pretty great cup at L’Arbre à Café, perhaps the most focused coffee shop in Paris. I was amazed at some of the tools they had for making coffee including a hand-cranked espresso grinder that wasn’t cheap, but was a fraction of the cost of one of those fancy machines – and a lot less noisy. (Which is the main reason I stopped grinding my own coffee.) And there is an extensive selection of Claudio Corallo chocolates, too.

L'Arbre à Café

They also carry what is perhaps the oddest coffee I’ve ever seen in Paris – or in the world – Jacu coffee, which is made from beans collected from the droppings of Jacu birds. Which, unlike the now-industrialized civet coffee, is collected from birds that run wild on an estate.

L'arbre à café

It’s pricey stuff at €312 per kilo (about $422 for 2.2 pounds), so it’s not something your going to scoop into your percolator. But was served cold-brewed – and in wine glasses, which was the best way to capture the flavor of this elusive coffee. My palate isn’t refined enough for that kind of coffee experience, but for those experts out there, here’s your chance to taste it. I’ll stick with my usual café express.

cold-brewed Jacu coffee

All the coffee in the shop is from single-estate and single-farms. (You can get coffee from L’Arbre à Café from European Coffee Society.) And although my tastes run more toward espresso, citrons, quince, pastrami, and chorizo, it’s nice to know that I can have them all on one street.

Terroirs d'Avenir in Paris

Frenchie to Go
9, rue du Nil (2nd)
Open Tuesday though Saturday, 8:30am to 4:30pm – no reservations
Métro: Sentier

Terroirs d’Avenir (Facebook page)

L’Arbre à Café
10 rue de Nil
Open Tuesday through Friday, 12:30 to 7:30pm, Saturday from 10am to 7pm.

(Note that opening hours are subject to change.)



Related Posts and Links

Frenchie: New Bistro Cooking (Amazon)

Frenchie Wine Bar

Brillant-Savarin Cheesecake Recipe (in French)

Verjus Sandwiches

Freddie’s Deli

43 comments

  • And now Camille is making bagels for Frenchie to Go as well. Very excited to try them.

    I love the idea of a modern twist on a Croque-Madame…that sounds great!

  • How would you compare the pastrami sandwich to the one at Freddie’s Deli ?
    I’ve been there recently, and although everything was “nice enough”, the pastrami was tough and chewy, which was really a shame… but it’s made me crave real good pastrami even more.

  • You chose my favorite sandwich to review. It looks absolutely delicious, even if it means taking the meat out and nibbling on that separately than the bread.

  • Hi David, We are here and would like to know how to find the chicken lady at Bastille market Thursday. We have been dreaming about that chicken but know the market is huge and don’t want to screw up and get the wrong one since it is our one shot. Thanks for the help but understand if you can’t answer. Or maybe we could “meet up” for dinner. Just kidding. Absolutely love your blog, Regina

    • Hi Regina: Catherine’s stand is at the top of the market, near the bridge by the Breguet-Sabin metro station on the west side. She is now dividing her time between her stand in Paris and one in Bordeaux, so she may or may not be there, but usually there are some fellows there that have chickens that are really good that work for her. Enjoy!

  • Forget the sandwich, I want one of those brownies!

  • how can you tease us by mentioning a new bed warmer from germany and not share the details? ;) i am using a heating pad myself when the down comforter is not enough!

    This place looks delicious!

  • Frenchie to Go is on my list for next summer. Big fan of the wine bar and resto. Love that rue du Nil has become a lovely not-so-hidden foodie destination. I remember when I lived in Paris it was a street with pretty much nothing in it. Now it’s one of the most sought-after spots!

  • You have an idea for a Croque Madame? ….would you possibly share a recipe?

  • Oh, David, you serve up some of the best food porn anywhere. God bless you.

  • Hi David!

    I just returned from a lovely birthday trip to Paris a couple of weeks ago and had a great time exploring Rue du Nil, sampling delicious espresso at L’Arbre à Café and having a marvelous dinner at Restaurant Frenchie. Thanks for the insights here as well—it’s such a gem of a street!

    Love your posts and insights, which I read with a mixture of pride, joy and envy–ha!

  • My reservations at Frenchie were cancelled without notice, and without explanation. The same happened to several friends. I should be comforted that I can go to Frenchie to Go but am not.

    • I know that the restaurant and wine bar were immediately slammed upon opening and they were overwhelmed by the amount of people that wanted to go there. (The wine bar has since expanded but it’s quite popular so often full.) And there were likely glitches in reservations and service – which is no excuse for canceling a reservation without offering a reservation another nighty. (At a well-known wine bar in Paris, we showed up, our table was in the reservation book, but they didn’t have room for us – and all they did was give me the phone number to another wine bar…on the farther edge of the city..) Sorry you had a less-than-stellar experience.

  • Romain is AWESOME. Marching into a kitchen to demand more pastrami? My hero.

  • So which fries are the ones that come with the sauces, David?
    Enquiring minds want to know!

  • So what is this German dude’s name?

  • Eating at Frenchies a year ago, there wasn’t much on that street but GMarchands fabulous food.
    http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.fr/2012/08/frenchie.html
    things change fast in Paris.
    *any details on ‘the bed warmer from Germany’ would be most welcome in my current heat-free sublet…

  • Merci Daveed, Regina

  • Alexandre Drouard, an owner of Terroirs d’Avenir, showed up recently for a panel discussion on “The State of French Food” at the American Library in Paris. I learned so much from this talk (Daniel Rose, chef of Spring, which is supplied by Terroirs, was also there) about how the French market system works. Later we had a great time buying produce from the vegetable shop and fish from the poissonier. Your post reminds me that it’s time to head back and try the butcher!

    You can find my write-up of Drouard and Rose’s discussion of the State of French food at http://rachelhopecleves.com/2013/09/17/the-state-of-french-food/

  • You had me at ‘bed warmer from germany’… :)

  • Terroirs d’Avenir is the cool kid of the moment– do you have any thoughts on Comptoir Correzien? Apparently they now sell retail.

  • Wow, it looks delicious and brings back memories of the pastrami sandwich I grew up on, at Billy’s Delicatessen on Orange St. in Glendale, Ca. I could never bring myself to order anything else, for fear of disappointment…it was the best sandwich I’ve ever had – served on a French roll with a bowl of au jus for dipping. Too bad I live about 10 hrs. away or I’d be there once a week. My mouth is watering.

  • For those of us living in Paris I warmly recommend the “La Ruche qui dit oui” (“the- beehive- saying- yes”)movement for buying directly from local producers outside of Paris. Check movement at http://www.laruchequiditoui.fr

    You buy and pay with credit card online from a long list mailed you by The Ruche, your weekly shopping ends by Wednesday midnight. Orders are handed out
    during three hours Saturday morning in a locality (very simple) in the arrondissement where you live by the divine producers themselves. Adhering is free of charge. Passion drives this very ecologically minded movement. Farmers are happy, quality wonderful, products not all that cheap but worth every euro considering the small scale production whether it be vegetables, fruits, cattle,pigs, chicken, eggs dairy products, heavenly homemade breads cakes jams .

  • Thanks, David, for an amazing post. I am hopping in a TGV and will be salivating all the way to Paris.

  • mon dieu, i won’t see much of paris next time i go, as i will be hanging out on rue de Nil tout le temps.

  • What delicious photos! And Claudio Corallo too! I went to his shop in Berkeley as part of a tasting tour and grabbed one of everything to bring home – such stunning chocolate. Re the cute little quinces – depends what you want to use ‘em for, of course, this wouldn’t be of much use if you want to serve them whole, but for quince paste I cook the entire thing for a few hours and take off the skin and core at that point.

  • … And now…. I could eat a horse!

  • My wife is friends with Camille and we were lucky enough to join her and her husband for dinner at Frenchie. I’m glad she’s getting noticed! Also, the food was super good and we got a quick hello from the chef.

  • My favorite pastrami on rye lives at Katz’s Deli (yes, eventually made famous in When Harry Met Sally) where I still remember eating as a child, the man behind the counter reaching all the way over to pass be the little cut of meat to taste as he prepared my sandwich. When I occassionally make it back there it is good, but…. memories are hard to live up to I guess. But if you haven’t had a chance to bring Romain there, it is still more than worth the trip next time here! He won’t have to storm the kitchen there.

    • Last time I went there in NY, I was really disappointed with my sandwich. It was something like $18 (plus tax – and yes, I tipped the guy to get better corned beef, too) – but all of our sandwiches were full of gristle and nearly impossible to eat. There were also tourist buses in front of the place and hoards of people in there at all hours. We now go to Pastrami Queen on the Upper East Side. It’s pretty good, although I do miss the atmosphere at Katz’s (and the old Second Avenue Deli, too!)

      • RE Pastrami: next time you’re in SF, give Wise Sons on 24th Street a try. They make their own beautiful pastrami and bake their own rye bread. Not unlike Americans re-inventing things in Paris, these guys are re-inventing the classics here with a fresh outlook while staying true to the tradition.

  • David, thank you so much for those words on L’Arbre à Café!

    For the occasion, we offer one Espresso of Jacu Bird to the first fifty of your readers coming at the shop till the end of November!

    The password is “RueDuNil” (with the accent :-))

    • Thanks for showing me all your coffees! And for being part of the movement in Paris to make good/great coffee : )

  • Oh my goodness, perfect, beautiful, delicious post.
    German bed warmer? Please elaborate
    All those yummy, cosy Autumn foods, we are welcoming peaches and apparently a short season of cherries.
    Can anyone comment on Zabar’s rueben, I enjoyed one two years ago and am heading to New York in the New Year.

  • Peeling makes me nuts on the little ones. Food mill for the quinces, no need to peel for puree, I’m sure you know this, David, but with my own perpetual hunt for quinces, so rare, I felt the need to pitch that in. This year a student brought a bag of quinces, very ripe, from her neighbor’s tree. I’d bought a few giant ones (California to Michigan) and there was no comparison. Worth grabbing the lumpy small tree ripened quince whenever you can. BTW, I follow up the food mill with running it through a fine screen to catch the missed bits.

  • That sandwich looks ridiculously good. :)

    If given the chance, I would’ve tried the Jacu coffee, but I am a huge coffee fan.

  • David, this is tangential to this post, but I wanted to say thanks so much for the recommendation (via the blog) of eating dinner at wine bars in Paris! I didn’t make it to Frenchie when I was there this summer, but did have some of my favorite meals in Paris at others. I especially liked Le Petit Matieu, a newish place in the 10eme — have you been? I’d be curious what you thought.

  • Thank you for the link to the recipe of cheesecake on my website. I like this way of cooking of Greg Marchand I tried other recipes always a success , so good .The famous chocolaté pudding with candied ginger and passion toffee http://ondinecheznanou.blogspot.co.at/2012/05/pots-de-creme-au-chocolat-caramel.html and this mackerel with cauliflower and spelt , so fantastic http://ondinecheznanou.blogspot.co.at/2012/09/filets-de-maquereaux-grilles-petit.html

  • Is there a specific name for that loin-in bacon? It must be somewhere in the US…

  • I was very lucky to score an apartment on this wonderful little street. Camille’s brownies are fantastic (the salt puts them over the top). As are her sticky buns, and when they have them, the canelles are sublime.

    My personal favorite at To-Go is the pulled pork, or the bacon fumé english muffin avec d’oef et cantal.

    Reservations at the restaurant are hard to get, but very worth while. We had to make ours about 3 months in advance.

    David, I was intrigued by the ventreche noir at the boucherie, I ended up turning some of it into an omelet, but I was wondering if you had any recommendations for cooking with ventreche?

    They were serving hot chocolate at L’Arbre á Café rcenently. Made with Corallo’s 75% cocoa, and just a touch of water to thin the mix. Amazingly decadent.

  • That sandwich. Make it stop.

  • Eating dinner at wine bars – The best of both worlds! Next time I’m in the area Frenchie’s is at the top of my to eat list. The Jambon de Paris looks like quite the tasty piece of ham and I don’t know how that’s escaped my taste buds this long! Please keep these delicious posts coming.