Rue d SEINE
I first went to the La Palette with my buddy Raoul in March of 1999. I went as I heard quite a bit about this bistro from my friend John Lee, who went to Paris once or twice every year. For years. He told me of the bistro which he said was a classic Parisian Bistro on Rue d Seine, just down from St Germain de Pres. He had told me of the owner Jean Marie who, though he was the owner, he dressed and worked as a waiter. John Lee told me that Jean Marie had a reputation as a bit of a hard-ass, but that he took a liking to my him (John Lee). John loved the place, and talked about it all Raoul and I were going to Paris for a week to meet up with Vicky and Raoul’s girlfriend who were in the fashion business and going to Paris for the Prete-a-Porter (Ready to Wear) fashion shows in Paris. Vicky worked for Jean Paul Gautier, and Lisa was a editor for Marie Claire Magazine. At the time, I had my restaurant Bar Cichetti on Houston Street in Greenwich Village, and one night when Lisa was there with Vicky, Lisa said to me, “Danny why don’t you come to Paris with Raoul and meet me and Vicky?” Lisa didn’t have to ask me twice, I’d be there. And so I booked a couple flights on Continetal Air, and Raoul and I flew over. We took a taxi into the city where Lisa was staying at the Hotel Montlalemert. We walked into the hotel and Lisa and Vicky were right there in the restauarant having lunch. Raoul and I joined the girls, I had a Club Sandwich, hung out for a bit, then got a taxi to go and check-in to my hotel, the Hotel Lille on Rue de Lille. I checked in.
That night we went to dinner at some new trendy restaurant that was not very good. Not my choice, but the Editor in Chief of Harper’s Bazzar Magazine, Glenda Bailey. I remember having to wait forever for the cocktail I ordered, and the food was just OK. Not good, but my friends would find out that when it came to me picking bistros and brasseries for us to eat at, I really knew my stuff and they loved my choices.
Each day of this trip, I’d get up early in the morning, have my breakfast, and walk around for about an hour before walking over to the Hotel Montalembert to pick up Raoul who wouldn’t get up until 11 am, and I’d meet him at the hotel at 12 noon. We walked out onto the street and Raoul asked me where we were going to eat. I told Raoul that we were going to La Palette, a place recommended by John Lee.
When we got to La Palette, the place was packed, every table was occupied. It was a quite likely scene, and it was getting my charged. Jean Marie greeted us and told us to wait at the bar, and he’d have a table for us in a few minutes. So we bellied up to the bar and I studied the menu. They had Gigot (Lamb Shank), Pate, Bouf Bourguignon and other bistro classics. And when I saw they had Pomme Dauphenoise, I told Raoul we had to have some. We waited just about 10 meinutes, and then Jean Marie brought us to a table. We got a Charcuterie Plate for started, then we both ordered Steak with Pomme Dauphenoise for our mains. I was disappointed when they said they were out of the Daupehnoise, but we could get Pomme Saute instead. We both drank Beaujolais with our meal. The meal was quite tasty, and when Raoul pulled out a couple of Cohiba Cuban Cigars that he bought the night before when we stopped at a cigar bar on Monparnasee, Jean Marie replied, “but of course.”
Well we had a really nice time at La Palette. Jean Marie was very nice to us, the food and the ambiance wonderful, and Raoul and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. So the next day when I met Raoul at his hotel, and asked him where he wanted to eat, I shouldn’t have been surprised when he said, “let’s go to Palette.” I asked him, “you want to go there again?”
“Why not?” Raoul replied. Ok, let’s go. It was jumping when we walked in. Jean Marie saw as and smiled, “Hello my Friends! Just a moment.” We were in like Flin. Jean Marie liked us, they had great food, and it was a wonderful old Parisian Bistro, where we’d be having another great lunch. Jean Marie even put us at the same corner table we sat at the day before. It was great.
The Bar at La PALETTE
Rue de Buci
Yes we had quite a good time on the trip. We had dinner one night at La Coupole and a great lunch one day at Brasserie Lipp. We hung out Cafe Duex Magots, and went to Hotel Costes. We were having a great time until Lisa and Raoul had a fight, and then a pick-pocket stole Raoul’s wallet when we were at Cafe Select. Raoul wasn’t feeling it and wanted to go home, so we cut our trip a couple days short, 5 instead of 7. Anyway we had a good time when we were there, and as you see here, I have fond memories of the trip.
Blvd. St Germain
Me at Cochon L’Orielle