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  • “How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm

    (After They've Seen Paree?)”


    As foodies’ attention shifts from process to provenance, some of the prestige that attaches to modern cheffing is beginning to trickle down to those at the bottom of the food ladder, and so it is inevitable that some artisanal food producers are tempted to become restaurateurs. Ex-butcher Jean-Phillippe Latron, self-taught in the kitchen, started l’AOC with his charming wife heading front-of-house; together they have created a worthy successor to Le Petit Navare, the distinguished seafood restaurant whose premises they had taken over.


    In February of this year Jean-Christophe and Stéphane Dutter, a self-identified pair of farm children, opened Les Fils de la Ferme in what had been the Michelin-listed restaurant Pascal Champ, offering menus at approximately the same price: 26€, with a lunchtime option of two courses for 17€. They have also kept the same telephone number. The agricultural medals and certificates posted on the wall above the bar indicate that they came to this new venture with success already behind them.


    Unlike some rough-and-ready farm-related bistros such as Le Domaine de Lintillac, this one does not shy away from modest elegance, either in the décor or sur le plat. It is significant, perhaps, that the façade identifies it as a restaurant, not a bistro. It is attractive to look at (as are its proprietors) and the food comes to the table in a modish plating which suggests that Jean-Christophe did not come straight to the kitchen from the farm without some serious cheffing along the way. My Medaillons de foie de volaille aux morilles, fine gelée au verjus were sliced from a supurb soft mild pâté, together with a sharply flavored jelly, as delectable to the eye as to the palate. Mary’s Filets de rouget sur peau croustillant et un coulis d’olives vertes [left] were artfully arranged as well as delicious, while my own Travers de porc laqué aux épices douces [right], though presented nouvelle cuisine fashion, were of such a size that one alone would have been ample. (This bistro seems to make a habit of serving items generously in pairs.) The meat was richly flavored but had dried out somewhat in the caramelizing; at a neighboring table it appeared to be more juicy, so I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again. Mary’s Poêlée de Cerises, émulsion et sorbet au lait de coco was a warm dessert of stewed stoned cherries with frothy juice, coconut milk and a scoop of coconut sorbet in the middle—a pleasing contrast of textures, temperatures and flavors.


    I learned of this delightful little bistro from the reliable and omnipresent Sue Style, who discovered it by chance on her way through Paris. It hasn’t been serving long enough to make it into the guide books, no celebrity chef is glad-handing the punters and no models have been disrobing on-camera in the dining room, so a Google search only brings up a solitary Frenchman who declares it has become his favorite local. Whoever he is, he has good taste; lots of others will surely join him.


    Les Fils de la Ferme 5 rue Mouton-Duvernet, 14th, Tel: Mº Mouton-Duvernet


    2006: This excellent little bistro is now in all the fashionable lists. Remember—you saw it here first!

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