Echo Deli in Paris

I don’t get out for lunch as much as I used to, or want to, but a dizzying amount of cafés, restaurants, and pastry shops have opened while I was holed up writing books. One that was getting an inordinate amount of good word-of-mouth, from friends and other restaurant owners, was Echo Café.

Entering the restaurant late morning, I was startled by the amount of sunshine that was flooding the place due to its location just across from an open place. I got there at 11 am and there wasn’t much going on. But by the time I left, the place was packed with sun-starved Parisians flocking to the café during their lunch break to get some Vitamin D, as was evident on a busy weekday afternoon.

But the other very good, and better, reason for the crush of Parisians is Chef Mailea Weger who worked at Gjusta and Gjelina in Los Angeles, places I’ve wanted to go on every single trip to L.A. that I’ve been on, but I’m usually on the other side of the city. And as anyone familiar with L.A. traffic knows, it’s a long haul from one side of Los Angeles to the other.

But proof that good things – and good food – come to those who wait, Mailea has arrived in Paris. And I was primed to go.

Les Echos newspaper noted that she’s an ex-modeuse, a word that I had to look up in my Larousse French dictionary, and presumed it means model. (Which would be mannequin, in French.) But when I asked six French friends I had dinner with the following night, they refused to believe that was a word. I made a bet with someone it was, the wager being a bottle of Champagne. Since it was in the newspaper, I say it’s a word. but if it’s not in the dictionary, maybe they’re right? So I’ll have to ask her next time and see if I won a bottle of bubbly, or if I’ll have to eat – or drink – my words. But I did ask owner Matthias Gloppe why he chose to have a chef come from Los Angeles to helm his café.

He’d gone to school in Los Angeles and fell in love with the fresh, ingredient-based approach to food. (And probably the exceptional access to sunshine.) So he brought a little bit of both to Paris. Interestingly, the café is in a quirky area, between a slew of prêt-à-porter shops (wholesale clothing stores), where at night, a few working women also take to the streets. But the other end of the street is Sentier and leads to the rue Montorgueil, an area that’s become decidedly more hip in the last few years.

I am still kicking myself for insisting a friend buy an apartment there. She didn’t want to budge from the 6th arrondissement and had to be convinced. When I saw the spacious top-floor apartment, and figuring the area was soon to be on the up and up, I insisted she buy it, which she did. And now she couldn’t be happier. I, on the other hand, am still regretting talking her into it, and not buying it myself. Now that’s a good friend…if I do say so myself.

But that’s eau under the bridge, and I’m happy that she’s happy. (Grrrr….okay, I’m not over it.) I’m still waiting for my neighborhood to blossom, which is happening at a more, uh, relaxed pace. So I have to make the short trek to Echo Deli, where I started out with a fleur d’hibiscus-citron vert (hibiscus and lime) cooler while I waited for my friend Hélène to join me.

I was a little bouleversé (bowled over) by the drink selection on the wall, not knowing what a Dirty Chai was, and a few others things. But there’s also turmeric-ginger beer, cucumber-rose and grapefruit-clementine juices, as well as Lebanese iced tea. I was surprised to see La Croix flavored water, from the U.S., which for years I’d assumed was French. (As in, one of those French things that’s available in the U.S., but not in France.) But it’s from Wisconsin, and that was another thing Matthias from his time in the States.

Although it’s not the focus of the café, careful consideration is paid to what’s vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free. I eat, and drink, just about everything, so I was safe. Although I still feel really bad about being invited to dine at someone’s house, who set a big casserole of squid stew in the center of the table, which was dinner. I politely declined, and made a note to let hosts know of my aversion to anything with tentacles in the future.

But I love me some vegetables, any and all kinds, especially when they’re pickled. Another thing that Matthias told me he loved about Los Angeles was the interest in fermentation. While the French have their own much-cherished pickles, les cornichons, it’s lovely when someone takes fresh, local produce and lightly pickles it, not enough to overwhelm, but to compliment the flavors of the vegetables.

Mailea is definitely the master of the pickle and I swear, I could eat pickles at every single meal – especially hers – and be happy. Because it was still breakfast time, the menu was focusing on egg-based dishes, as well as a number of tartines. The Scrambled egg and Mexican chorizo sandwich, above (where’d she get Mexican chorizo?!?) had melted Gouda cheese and fermented chile sauce.

Since she’s recently arrived in Paris, we did some back-and-forthing about sourcing certain ingredients that one takes for granted living in California, like chiles and tortillas, and she’s been sleuthing around town herself, stocking her larder.

But there’s no shortage of great bread in Paris and she’s using it to make a variety of tartines, which range from soft egg, capers, aïoli, and dill (above), to turkey, labne, and za’atar (below).

(Note that I’m still learning my new camera, so the bread edges may look dark, but they weren’t. Once I learn what all those dials and buttons on the back of the camera do, I’ll learn how to edit photos, afterward.)

I was especially intrigued by two things on the menu. One was the Chilaquiles with an organic fried egg, fermented carrot salsa, chermoula, chicken tinga, and pickled onions (above). It was delicious – and huge! An American-sized portion for sure. My local friend wondered at the precisely cooked egg on top, a very #California, too. Most of the young French chefs are focusing on sous-vide eggs, which I like as well. But a perfect sunny-side-up egg is a thing of beauty.

The other thing on the menu that intrigued me was the vegan “bacon.” I’m always up for trying new things (unless they have tentacles…), and thought it would be fun to try that, rather than the housemade fennel-spiced bacon they had on the menu. What came out was a plate of shiitake mushrooms that had been rubbed with brown sugar and maple syrup, and while they didn’t have the crispness of regular bacon, I kept nibbling on them incessantly, which is a sign that I liked them. That portion, too, was very generous.

We also had to try to Avocado toast with togarashi, in-house sprouted grains, pickled onions, and (another) perfectly cooked egg. We were too full for dessert, but my friend sent me a text later that day that she liked Echo Café, and Mailea Weger’s cooking, as much as I did. Someone told me the salads were very, very good, and I’d like to go back on another sunny day and try them, along with some of that fennel-rubbed bacon, and perhaps a slice of the Spanish orange & almond cake, and one of those Lebanese iced teas. Because I’m intrigued.

Echo Deli
95, rue d’Aboukir (2nd)
Métro: Sentier

Fresh market-based cooking in Paris, in a bright, sunny café.

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43 comments

  • February 18, 2018 5:47pm

    These kinds of dishes are just perfect for lunch. This will go on my must-visit list, and in the meantime, I will revisit your photos for ideas on how to jazz up my midday tartines.

  • February 18, 2018 9:11pm

    Pieces of art! Can’t wait to try this spot!

  • Daria
    February 18, 2018 11:13pm

    I think we need you to try a Dirty Chai on your next visit and report back.

  • Y
    February 18, 2018 11:55pm

    What a great looking addition to Paris. Everything looks delicious.

  • june2
    February 19, 2018 2:51am

    Photo’s are excellent. The one with her hands on the chorizo sandwich? Lovely! The tartines? Awesome!

  • Margaret
    February 19, 2018 5:59am

    The last photo must be the Spanish orange and almond cake? I like Claudia Roden’s recipe but never thought to put orange slices on top.

    • February 19, 2018 9:28am
      David Lebovitz

      They really add something to the cake, for sure! I made one with candied oranges on top, the recipe is here.

      • Margaret
        February 20, 2018 7:37am

        Thanks so much for the link :)

      • Kelly
        February 20, 2018 7:01pm

        We can’t wait to visit Echo Café this summer. Have you been to Galerie 88, which is right off the Rue de Brossie on the Quai de l’Hotel de ville?
        We stumbled upon this hole-in-the-wall with it’s delicious menu a couple of years ago. Give it a try.

  • Emma
    February 19, 2018 11:36am

    To answer your question, modeuse is a word that does exist, it used to mean an embroidery worker doing a specific embroidery pattern (found that on wiktionary) but now it means being very interested in fashion and keeping up the trends and dressing in the latests trendiest clothes, kind of like fashion victim

    Well in

    • Victor
      February 19, 2018 11:40am

      Fashionista

    • February 19, 2018 12:20pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yay! I win Champagne : )

      Yes, someone on my Facebook page found it on Wiktionnaire, but it wasn’t in my Larousse or Robert Collins dictionaries. I guess it’s too new? (Although I wonder what the Académie Français, which is in charge of the French language, has to say about it…)

      Fashion victim (in English) usually means someone who is badly dressed, or think they are better dressed than they are. Mailea was dressed nicely…especially for cooking!

      • Emma
        February 19, 2018 4:08pm

        OK, in French conversation fashion victim does not convey the notion of badly dressed, only really in fashion and trends and well dressed.

        • February 19, 2018 4:26pm
          David Lebovitz

          Hmm, my French partner uses it to describe someone who is overdressed, or whose outfit is “too much.” I assume that meant the same thing as it does in English, but thanks for the correction.

          Interestingly, I Googled it in English and Wikipedia credits Oscar de la Renta for coining the phrase, to describe someone “a person who is unable to identify commonly recognized boundaries of style.” Thankfully the chef at Echo does fit that mode! : )

    • sundevilpeg
      February 20, 2018 5:50am

      A fashionista, in other words.

  • Christina
    February 19, 2018 5:13pm

    Beautiful photos of some beautiful food! I have to ask though…what is it about “anything with tentacles” that you have an aversion to? Is it the texture aka rubberbandy! :)

  • Linda Beuret
    February 19, 2018 5:14pm

    I read this with interest but couldn’t find the address, did I just miss it?

  • ParisBear75
    February 19, 2018 5:18pm

    don’t you usually list address, hours, etc at end of review? Is it on rue d’Aboukir?

  • February 19, 2018 5:18pm

    Bonjour David.. an off topic question if I may.. when you go out and take your pictures of the dishes do you use a cell phone or an actual camera to take those shots.. trying to find a good app with my Iphone 8 by itself its ok.. but.. while doing my Table D’hôte at my home wanted better shots.. thanks.. JD

  • PeterCL
    February 19, 2018 5:25pm

    The address is —
    95 Rue d’Aboukir
    75002

  • Linda Yuen
    February 19, 2018 5:30pm

    Thanks for the great photos and the heads-up on Echo!

    On another note, the upcoming release of The Perfect Scoop-are measurements in specific amounts or grams/ decimal rather than ‘ pulp of two mangoes’?

    Many thanks,

  • February 19, 2018 5:37pm
    David Lebovitz

    ParisBear, Linda and PeterCL: I usually add it but forgot. (I did link to their website a few times in the post – whew!) I added it – thanks : )

    Linda: In the new edition of The Perfect Scoop, the recipes are all in metric and cups/tablespoons, like all my books. The mango recipe in the book lists the size and weight of the mangos used in pounds and kilos. Most fruit and berries are by weight and/or volume.

    Christina: They’re scary.

    Jean-Audouin: If I know I’m going to write about a place, I try to bring a regular camera, although the iPhone does take very good shots is there is sufficient light. I don’t use an app for iPhone photos but a friend swears by Snapseed, and his pictures look good on Instagram. (Not sure how well they work for desktops and laptops.)

  • Mary
    February 19, 2018 6:17pm

    Fabulous report on the restaurant. So good in fact i’ve probably gained 5 pounds reading the review and scrutinizing the pictures.
    I hope it’s still there if I ever get back to Paris!

  • cinzia
    February 19, 2018 6:18pm

    found lots of websites for the dirty https://hellolittlehome.com/dirty-chai-latte-recipe

  • Wendy Picot
    February 19, 2018 6:25pm

    Hey David, we fell in love with Gjusta in LA while visiting “home” last Winter, and I have really enjoyed the cookbook … it will be interesting to eat this food in Paris next trip, with
    French products, how fab! In the meantime I will use your pics to inspire bfast and lunch in Brittany :-).

    On another subject, have you any idea why drinks like “dirty chai” (which just be some kind of spiced tea) have started to cost upwards of €5 ? LA prices have crossed the pond!

  • E. Weaver
    February 19, 2018 6:48pm

    What is a “sous-vide” egg? Thanks!

  • Bill McKinley
    February 19, 2018 7:30pm

    Beautiful pictures and a wonderful article – as usual. I was wondering what the little round Couscous like objects in the pickles and on the tartine was.

  • February 19, 2018 7:35pm
    David Lebovitz

    Bill: Those are mustard seeds from the pickling bring.

    E. Weaver: It’s an egg cooked for a longer time in a gentle water bath so it’s very soft. In France they often call it the 63º egg since it’s cooked at 63ºC for 63 minutes, although some people cook them different times and temperatures.

  • Parisbreakfast
    February 19, 2018 8:08pm

    So California! Their menu via your link is as mouth-wateringyour pics. And that grainy bread!

  • February 19, 2018 9:07pm

    This looks so delicious — I wish I’d known about this place before I left Paris! And it does remind me of California cuisine. Yum.

  • Stan Bradeen
    February 19, 2018 9:17pm

    Définition de modeux, nom
    Personne travaillant dans le domaine de la mode ou étant toujours à la dernière mode. “Elle est journaliste et modeuse.”

    m. s. un ⁠modeux
    m. pl. des ⁠modeux 
    f. s. une ⁠modeuse
    f. pl. des ⁠modeuses

    définition tirée de l’Antidote (www.druide.com)

  • Ann Winfield
    February 19, 2018 11:44pm

    Can’t wait to try this place! I will be in Paris for a month in May. I live very close to Gjusta and Gjelina in Venice they are a wonderful addition to this very growing neighborhood.

  • Christina
    February 20, 2018 2:52am

    Here’s a little tidbit that may help you like Octopus(es) :) Not to eat but as in like them, like them. They are extremely intelligent…in fact, when Jacques Cousteau’s dive team was studying them, they actually befriended one that was always coming around them on their dives. It was the same one and she was so curious about the divers that she would try and touch them with one of her “arms”
    Sweet story huh? They stopped eating octopus after that! :)

    • Jeanne
      February 20, 2018 6:34pm

      Christina: Me too! When I learned how incredibly smart they are…like dogs but with more dexterity. I stopped eating them as well.

    • june2
      February 21, 2018 6:10am

      Exactly. I once saw a video (which I can no longer find anywhere online) documenting the relationship a lab octo developed with ‘his’ scientist: every morning when the scientist arrived, it would flash ‘love’ colors and give the scientist actual HUGS – the video showed it all and it was undeniably affection. The scientist was fully bemused by the whole thing, and realized the value. It was beyond touching.

  • February 20, 2018 3:39am

    Did you get the Dirty Chai info? It’s simply a hot chai with 1 or 2 shots of freshly pulled espresso. Not to my taste, as it’s kind of bitter but we sold a ton of them at my Cafe. It’s a very “Seattle” type drink!

  • Gavrielle
    February 20, 2018 5:38am

    Looks lovely, although I see the trend for serving smashed avocado on an enormous slice of toast is unfortunately international. No bread is *that* good!

  • Christine
    February 20, 2018 9:07am

    Where oh where can I find dried chilies in France? Guajillo? Ancho? Fresh jalapeño?

  • Shelley
    February 20, 2018 4:27pm

    The food at Echo looks delicious. We visited Gjelina for breakfast and it was a perfect meal and ordered so much more than we needed. I think it is a must visit restaurant in Los Angeles. The food at Echo looks wonderful all credit to the great chef. Thanks for sharing and loved all the images.

  • Jill
    February 20, 2018 10:24pm

    Bonjour Daveeed!

    I have just finished l’appart and cannot stop thinking about it. You have written a masterpiece.
    Please, if you would, can you say what year you purchased your apartment? I would like a time reference point, if possible.
    I recommend your book to everyone I meet!

  • ron shapley
    February 21, 2018 11:02pm

    Dave, as to your aversion to anything with tentacles, I’m dying to try Octopus, for the first time…

  • RaRed
    February 24, 2018 10:51pm

    Love hearing about modern restaurants in Paris! It’s on my list for next time!
    he avocado toast looks like it’s sprinkled with furikake (nori, sesame seeds, salt, sugar and spices) not togarashi (powdered peppers, sesame seeds). Traditionally, the former is often sprinkled on rice dishes; the latter on udon noodle soup (although, it’s delicious on fries!)

  • Sersha
    March 12, 2018 6:05pm

    Tried this and liked it so much I’ve been back twice since reading your review. Not sure whether to be proud or embrassed! Their coconut whipped cream was other worldly.

    After Echo Deli also tried what I believe is a newish place right inside the Palais de Tokyo (can’t remember the name) with a young American chef and it was so delicious.. such respect for vegetables! Have you been?