Monday, April 2, 2012

Paris Journal I: La Cordonnerie

Photograph by Hallie Cohen
If you can get a table in the kitchen of La Cordonnerie on the Rue St. Roch near the Tuileries stop on the Number One Line of the Metro (direction La Defense), you will get to see a gastronomic one man show, which is very much like magic. The chef Hugo's parents sent him to England for one month every summer, when he was a boy. So he speaks assez bien Anglais and he will talk to you about n’importe quoi, as he single-mindedly cooks up huge slabs of entrecote, lovingly garnishing the accompanying pile of pommes frites with parsley and coarse salt. Amongst the other specialities de la maison are escalope de veau, steak d’agneau and terrine de canard. His nephew waits on the tables and always asks moi je peut? as the finished dishes begin to decorate the counter. Hugo is a Baryshnikov of the kitchen and he moves balletically with great speed and grace around the small space in which he works.  For all this he still has energy to spare and at the end of a recent evening he was found experimenting on a full side of salmon which was to be the substance of the kitchen's dinner. We can assume the antique premises refer to the fact that the space the restaurant occupies once housed a shoe repair shop.  Hugo will flambé your banana and run your credit card, just in time for his next culinary triage.

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