Le Richer

Le Richer

I’ve had a swirl of visitors lately, and every morning it seems like I open my Inbox to find more “We’re Coming to Paris!!!” in subject lines. I’m not complaining because I love seeing my friends, especially those I don’t see often enough, but the joke about needing a social secretary has become a reality for me – just so I can get my other stuff done. I could probably also use a personal trainer at this point as I’m in the midst of 3-days of non-stop eating out. (Sunday is a day off, then Monday, it’s back out there to eat some more.)

In addition to having a great time catching up with friends from afar is that I get to try restaurants in Paris that I’ve been meaning to go to, but haven’t had the time to. Of course, everyone wants me to pick a restaurant and telephoning for reservations is another task for my yet-unnamed social secretary. I had suggested to my other-half to do it, but judging from the look he gave me, I don’t think he’s the right person for the job.

Le Richer

Taking a breather from eating copious amount of food, yesterday I had lunch at Le Richer with a friend from Nice, and decided to share it with you. It’s in that “happening” little area in the 9th, clustered around other new and interesting places that have popped up in recent years, such as Vivant and L’Office, the latter owned by the same team that owns Le Richer. And yes, that was me having dinner at L’Office last night, just after having lunch at Le Richer, right across the street — see? I wasn’t kidding..

Le Richer doesn’t take reservations so we arrived just after the noon hour, and got a lovely seat by the window. The friendly staff gave us menus and a wine list, and left us to decide. At the beginning of the carte de vins, instead of a list of specific wines by the glass, it just says “Verre de vin blanc” – so all you do is decide if you want white, red, or rosé, then the waiter comes over with a few bottles for you to choose from, after explaining a little about each. We both had Chablis as we agreed that we were tiring of red wine, which seems to be a trend, I think. (At least in my mind.) Don’t get me wrong, I like a good red. But most just seem too filling and full-bodied for me these days, so I’ve been sticking to whites lately, which seem to agree with me more.

Le Richer

With our wine, we had the Œuf 63º, crème de butternut et brioche à la chataîgne, an egg cooked for 63 minutes sous-vide, enveloped in a silky butternut squash puree with a strip of toasted chestnut brioche. A little black pepper from the grinder on the table added a bit of zip, although a pinch of piment d’espelette (Basque red pepper powder) would have been the spot-on touch, a zesty contrast to the naturally sweet puree and runny egg.

Le Richer

Beautifully presented was Tartare de bœuf, huîtres, granny smith, radis et sesame (raw beef with oysters, Granny Smith apples, radishes and sesame), with a familiar nod to Japanese cuisine, which many of the young chefs in Paris are intrigued by. (Curiously, Vietnam, Thailand, and China don’t seem to hold the same interest.) In spite of there being things together on the same plate that may not seem to go together, the dish worked. However I had wished that green sauce on the side had a bit of chopped seaweed; that distinct iodine flavor would have been the perfect liaison for all those disparate elements.

Since my friend probably has a social secretary at home working on her schedule for her, she was able to treat herself to a second glass of wine, while I gazed at her (and her glass) longingly. But since we’d ordered the same main courses, I didn’t have to be envious when they brought out two plates of Canard rôti/confit, purée de choux-fleur, shitake confit et figue.

Le Richer

There was a nice Japanese-inspired maki-like roll of shredded duck confit wrapped in a piece of Savoy cabbage that we both loved, along with slices of duck breast, lovely shiitake mushrooms, and fresh figs that weren’t quite ripe. (Fresh figs should either be cracking on the sides or oozing juice from the bottom, and nearly falling apart when served. Otherwise, they taste milky and crunchy, not jammy sweet, which fresh figs taste like when they are at their peak of flavor. Roasting figs helps bring out the flavor of figs that aren’t at their peak, and that would have dialed the dish to the top.) One things I’ve noticed about Americans (…or maybe it’s just me — again), is that our tastes tend to favor brightness and some “zing” – bits of spice, sharpness, acidity, and heavy searing of meats, are things we tend to favor in our cooking – or at least mine, which tend to be finishing touches like a flurry of salt, grinds of pepper, a few extra moments on the heat, or some lemon juice or vinegar swirled in at the last minute.

Le Richer

For dessert, we went with the crème brûlée of milk chocolate with passion fruit ice cream and croquant noisette, which was nice, although I’m a fan of dark chocolate whenever possible. And when adding milk to creamy things, like custard, it tends to dilute the flavor of the chocolate. Still, it was well-made and I appreciated the heavy ratio of sugar topping to the thin custard underneath. That one was gone in a flash.

Le Richer

Prunes rouges, or poached plums, were served with a few tiny white jellied squares flavored with peach and lime, topped with tumble of bugnes, deep-fried pastry strips, and glace au foin (hay ice cream) which is another tendance (trend) popular with the young chefs of Paris. I haven’t munched on a lot of hay, but I find the flavor when used in ice cream to be a bit elusive, especially when paired with something as strong as poached plums. A touch of cornmeal or rosemary in the bugnes would have given them a little more of a textural difference, or some contrast of flavor, with the beautiful plums.

The dining room staff was exceptionally nice, one waiter even feeling comfortable enough to make fun of me for making the “we want the check” gesture with my left hand, which I agreed, was kind of weird the way I was doing it. (I joked back that I was ringing an imaginary bell.) We both finished up with two cafés express, which were made from micro-bathed Guatemalan coffee beans, provided to Le Richer by a specialty roaster. The server told us that they didn’t serve sugar with their coffee because of the specialness of the coffee bean, and the coffee was best appreciated without sugar. But my friend was making a face, enough of a clue for them to appear with a ramekin of sugar moments later. From the looks of the sugar bowl, others had requested sugar as well. (Hard to change those local habits.) But when we left, we were very happy to have dined well on food prepared with care and good ingredients, in pleasant, modern surroundings that weren’t trying to hard to be hip or edgy. Just comfortable and unobtrusive.

Le Richer

At lunch, first courses were €9 and €10, mains were €17 and €18, with desserts at €8. Our check for two, with three glasses of wine and two coffees was €88. Le Richer is open every day, from breakfast through dinner (8am to 1am) and doesn’t take reservations. (And in case anyone thinks that the French don’t work hard, I noticed our waiter at lunch was also waiting tables at dinner.) When I passed by at 9:30pm on the way to dinner at L’Office, there were people waiting around the sidewalk, waiting for tables. So if you go, plan accordingly. But you might not want to plan two meals on the same day, if you can help it.

Le Richer
2, rue Richer (9th)
Métro: Bonne Nouvelle, Cadet, or Poissonière)

(Le Richer on Facebook)


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47 comments

  • November 7, 2014 6:08pm

    yum, yum, yum! looks so good. couldn’t agree more about dark vs. milk chocolate tho. the french seem to be using the latter more and more. too bad!

  • November 7, 2014 6:32pm

    Thanks for the beautiful Friday morning trip to the 9th! Sitting here in Southern California for a few weeks, it is a true delight to enjoy my simple breakfast, espresso, and read your transportive blog, which I am very new to. My husband and I don’t have much European travel planned for the near future, so I deeply enjoy living vicariously through your adventures.

  • November 7, 2014 6:40pm

    Lovely presentation and colorful food. Truly delightful. Oh, how I wish to take another trip to Paris.

  • Bebe
    November 7, 2014 6:54pm

    David, your readers are always in for a treat, whether it’s a new recipe, your travel, or your visits to restaurants. Through your eyes (and keyboard) we can “be there”. You have a rare gift for sharing your experiences and your opinions on how you like food to be, what might have made a dish even better.

    Thank you.

  • November 7, 2014 6:59pm

    The plates are all beautifully presented, obviously done with care and I love that you didn’t think they’re trying too hard to be hip. A nice change from so many places in Paris these days!
    Too bad about the lack of “zing” though – I totally know what you mean. But it looks like a place to try. Merci!

  • Brian Wilbur
    November 8, 2014 3:22am

    Thanks for the comment on the hard working waiter. My French friends are some of the hardest working people I know. That stereotype needs to be swept away.

    • November 8, 2014 12:22pm
      David Lebovitz

      Most waiters in France work quite hard and unlike other places, in smaller places they are often the busboy, sommelier, host, and more! Since they don’t get tips like they do in the U.S., it’s not as profitable work either. However the younger generation seems to be doing it because they are knowledgeable about food and wine, and energetic.

  • Kristine in Santa Barbara
    November 8, 2014 5:55am

    Are you accepting applications for the personal assistant/social secretary position? Alas, I can’t relocate for the job. My loss! Rest assured that you have many readers and fans who would happily sign up to manage anything you care to allocate. Probably free of charge or in exchange for a scoop of ice cream or a cocktail now and then. Think about it…..

  • Teresa Erickson
    November 8, 2014 7:23am

    David,
    I’ve been following for years and this is my first comment. My husband and I have been inspired by you to take a plunge towards living in our favorite city in the world. On a crazy whim, we have just closed on a tiny but lovely little apartment in the 11th in Bastille. We’re on our way to Paris now to spend a whole 6 weeks as residents of Paris. I can’t quite believe it! I wanted you to know that I’ve been collecting your reviews and helpful articles on Facebook and Pinterest, and I feel that you’re this amazing friend I’ve never met that tells me what I need to know before I even KNOW it’s essential. Thank you for your writing, your amazing spirit that comes off the page (or computer screen, and your inspiration.
    Hope to see you in the market someday, neighbor!
    A bientôt! Teresa

  • latw
    November 8, 2014 8:43am

    David, I have a (sort of) unrelated question to this article, but you mentionned figs, and I’ve been meaning to ask: be it raw or roasted, do you always eat the skin of the figs? I can never get used to it and always remove the skin, haha.

    Thanks for continuously sharing your bons plans with us :)

  • Cher Lewis
    November 8, 2014 9:17am

    Thank you for your inspiring writing about my most favorite city in the world!

  • November 8, 2014 10:45am

    Beautiful presentation – the tartare looks amazing!

  • kathryn
    November 8, 2014 12:23pm

    Wow what a fab post David.
    Guess what ‘we are coming to Paris’… lucky for you we are not friends cos we LUV to eat.
    Will be checking out this lovely restaurant as well as others you have mentioned.
    Thankyou so much for your wonderful posts,
    Regards,
    Kathryn from Austarlia

  • JudyMac
    November 8, 2014 4:01pm

    For this novice, could you please explain “an egg cooked for 63 minutes sous-vide”?

  • Isabella
    November 8, 2014 5:46pm

    Wait, *hay ice cream*? Could you explain this one for us non-Parisians? Is the cream infused with grass?

  • Jere Wineman
    November 8, 2014 5:52pm

    I am only your friend via your delightful blog/books (However at 88 yrs. I am more in the Mother category) Just emailing to say I am not coming to Paris…to relieve your busy mind, and give you a few less hours of stress. So slow down, learn to say “No’ (nicely of course). …always the Mother. Thank you for your perfect enjoyable blog (I really dislike that word) Fondly, Jere.

  • Katherine
    November 8, 2014 5:59pm

    I’m staring longingly at my screen for a taste of the duck with figs. That, with a dark chocolate dessert, would be nirvana. Though the crème de butternut et brioche à la chataîgne looks and sounds pretty amazing, too. With what kind of camera do you take your pictures? They are so crisp and clear!

  • November 8, 2014 6:02pm
    David Lebovitz

    Isabella: It’s ice cream infused with hay. A famous chef, Marc Veyrat made it a few years ago (he wears a distinctive wide-brimmed hat and a long back tunic, and uses mountain herbs and so forth) and he was the first time I saw anyone make it in France, which he did on television. You can see a Hay ice cream recipe here (in French).

    (Personally, I’ve spent a little time on farms and I’d be very, very sure that the hay I used was not stepped on by animals, because they tend to, um..”go” anywhere…)

    JudyMac: It’s cooked in a slow cooking machine, called a sous-vide machine, which cooks food (in a plastic pouch) in a water bath at a lower temperature than conventional cooking. The slow cooking gives the food a particularly soft and silky texture, but care must be taken to make sure the temperature is at a certain level as it can be dangerous to “long cook” certain food at low temperatures.

    latw: I always eat the skins of figs. People in France often peel fruits and vegetables (I’ve seen people peel nectarines, figs, tomatoes, and apricots) – but like the skin.

    Jere: I love seeing my friends. It’s just having a lot of meals out is a lot (now I know what food critics complain about!) and trying to schedule everyone, because people are coming at various times, etc.. thanks! : )

    Katherine: Glad you like the pics! I like when they seat me near a window, because I can get better snapshots. You can check out my post: My Food Photography Gear for info on what I use.

  • November 8, 2014 6:04pm

    The food presentation is tempting, but it’s those desserts I’m longing for. As usual, very nice review!

  • Sherry
    November 8, 2014 6:31pm

    It all looked lovely, except for the bloody rare duck. I know the French like all things cooked rare, but a few years ago my husband had duck that was bloody rare at a well-known and highly regarded restaurant not far from the Bon Marche, and wound up with a horrible case of food poisoning…so bad that when we returned home and he saw his doctor, he had to report it to the CDC. They actually called us to find out where he’d eaten. The type of bacteria he had was specific to fowl. Luckily, since I love to taste his food, I was so put off by the degree of rareness that I didn’t try the duck, or the two of us would’ve been sick. So, no undercooked anything for me, ever.

  • Abi
    November 8, 2014 7:01pm

    I’ll totally be your social secretary–if you hook me up with a place to live in Paris!
    Love a restaurant that isn’t trying too hard but is executing things with skill and heart!

  • Pam
    November 8, 2014 7:03pm

    Great post such terrific photos. It took me a while
    to read tho I kept accidentally clicking on the
    pop-up ads :(

    There shouldn’t be any pop-up ads on the site (some of the ads in the sidebar may be “roll over” ads, which enlarge is you drag, or hover, over them) – If it wasn’t one of those, can you let me know what the pop-up ad was for, and I can ask the ad network to remove it? Thanks – dl

  • pam
    November 8, 2014 7:18pm

    Wow….thank you David for a most attractive and enticing post! The photos and the ingredients and the creativity of these dishes is so refreshing to imagine. Those finishing touches you added were just perfect. I found myself wondering what this was costing ….et voilá…vous avez pensé à tout! I know my future holds another couple of trips to Paris….Le Richer here I come!

  • Jake Sterling
    November 8, 2014 7:28pm

    I want to hear about that toasted chestnut brioche!

  • Kim B.
    November 8, 2014 7:36pm

    Please do find a social secretary, and fast!! We need YOU to stay on the exploring, evaluating, writing, and photographing beat!!

  • claudia harris
    November 8, 2014 7:43pm

    David, this is not relevant to this post, but had to share this with you. One can get more nasty comments in 2 languages…

  • November 8, 2014 8:13pm

    I call first in line for the social sec position!

  • Teresa Bentley MD
    November 8, 2014 9:52pm

    Dear David….friends should always treat you (of course they do…) for your time and immense talent. I certainly would (love to) . What a treasure your posts are. And we fall more and more in love with Paris

  • Jessica
    November 8, 2014 10:26pm

    I’m curious about the oysters and the beef tartare. Were they served as part of the beef (as in mixed in) or separate from it?
    I love raw meat, oysters not so much, so the combination sounds intriguing.

  • Miyo
    November 8, 2014 10:34pm

    Hi David! Big fan with an unrelated question. I’m wondering why in your coffee ice cream you use whole coffee beans? Is there a way to do it with ground beans and possibly therefor use less?
    Thanks!

  • November 8, 2014 10:41pm
    David Lebovitz

    claudia: Ha! Good way to bring people out of the woodwork ; )

    Miyo: It’s very hard to strain custard after ground coffee has been steeping in it. They swell up and close the stainer.

    Jessica: I don’t remember since it was a neat pile of food and I was busy chatting with my friend, that I didn’t really pay attention to how it was put together ~ sorry!

    • Jessica
      November 8, 2014 11:17pm

      Oh I’ll survive without knowing. I’m just a very inquisitive person :)

  • Jim Hanlon
    November 9, 2014 1:16am

    “Œuf 63º … an egg cooked for 63 minutes sous-vide” — I think that’s the soft-cooked temperature, not an egg cooked for more than an hour which would hardly be a “runny egg.”

  • Christine
    November 9, 2014 1:54am

    David, thank you for the wonderfully detailed commentary, analysis and review of your lunch at Le Richer. Very informative, with lovely photos, while also making the reader aware of how much you enjoyed your meal. cyh

  • Gavrielle
    November 9, 2014 2:27am

    @Jim Hanlon: as far as I understand it, a sous vide egg is cooked at both a 63 degree temperature AND for about an hour. So David’s comment is correct.

    Re the sugar in coffee thing: I don’t even take sugar in my coffee, but I have to say I’m getting rather annoyed at restaurants who want to dictate how you eat/drink. It’s worst at super-fancy places where the waiter stands tableside with a long list of instructions as to how you should eat what they’ve given you. Telling you how they think it will taste best is OK, but in the end, it should be your choice, not theirs.

    • Jim Hanlon
      November 10, 2014 9:22pm

      Re: Œuf 63º / Œuf 63 minutes / sous vide

      Elsewhere in France I have seen (and eaten) Œuf 63º (or sixty-something degree) on menus and they have been sort of under-done soft-boiled eggs (with varying acoutrements.) I assumed the 63º to be a reference to the cooked temperature of the egg. I had never seen a reference to 63 minutes nor sous vide and so I don’t know whether they are fundamentally connected or a take-off from the original concept. I find it hard to imagine cooking an egg for 63 minutes (at any temperature) and having it be “runny.”

  • November 9, 2014 10:32am
    David Lebovitz

    Jim, Gavrielle:

    I took a snap of the menu which noted the egg was a 63 minutes egg, cooked at 63ºC. I haven’t done any sous-vide cooking, because you generally need one of those machines, but here’s the technique at Serious Eats and Williams-Sonoma using one of those machines. (Which are pretty pricey, but some people/chefs like them, especially for eggs and meat.)

  • November 10, 2014 1:20am

    I really must say that your photographs are top notch.

    I’m thinking about replacing the family photos that I have on my walls with your photos.

    If the family protests…I will just throw them out.

  • Sheila
    November 10, 2014 1:49am

    Food is so weird these days in these chic places. I’m so happy I went through my trendy restaurant phase in the 70’s and 80’s. (I know that this is actually part of your job, so that’s different than myself of course) Most of this stuff sounds just awful. These people seem to be competing to see who can come up with the latest freakiest dish. Yukks!
    It makes for a good post for you to write about however and I enjoy it because it’s just so absurd. These types of dishes remind me of the story where the emperor has no clothes and everyone just goes along with it. A 63 minute egg cooked at 63 degrees…HA, HA, HA, HA.
    I understand that you can’t just write about the really delicious things all the time. It would get boring, I guess.
    Yes, it was a very different world back in the dinosaur days when I went to culinary school.
    Sheila

  • hafshah
    November 10, 2014 3:00am

    We all love your blog posts – you even have my children hooked – thank you

  • thea
    November 10, 2014 6:40am

    Those photos! The light, the clarity! which I suspect you know, because you’re working it. The framing of shots takes and artist, and you qualify. After all these years, still reading the blog — because who could not?

  • Vicky
    November 10, 2014 9:05am

    Mmm…looks really delicious (I use your restaurant recommendations whenever I find myself in a part of the world that you’ve already sussed out – and it would be awfully convenient if you could soon make a trip to Toulouse ;-)).

    By the way, do you know L’Escargot d’Or on rue de Bagnolet? The owner roasts and grinds his own cacao beans to make bean-to-bar chocolate…

  • Kate Keenan
    November 10, 2014 5:53pm

    A 63 minute sous-vide egg?? How is this done??? Any way to replicate this at home without special equipment?? I too loved developments in the 9th and spent many a day wondering around there when I spent two months in Paris last year. My only solution to the constant eating out was to walk every where and it was the best diet I’ve ever attempted…..lost 15 pounds in two months and ate anything I wanted, anytime I wanted. And another name for a social secterary is “wife”, a skill I keep forgetting to list on my resume. LOL Planning to return to Paris in 2015 and have my restuarant list ready thanks to your blog….Thanks so much!!!

  • November 11, 2014 7:07am

    mm, beautiful. thanks for sharing!

  • LML
    November 12, 2014 1:07am

    Perhaps, David, you should consider a virtual assistant.

  • Liz
    November 14, 2014 2:30am

    I went in July, I was in Paris alone on my final night and staying at a hotel around the corner. The bar is excellent for a solo diner! Because it is so laid back and not trying too hard it felt very accessible for that..

  • November 16, 2014 7:33pm

    Cheers to spontaneous visits from friends!