The Duo Behind Le Coucou Have Resurrected a Paris Bistro
Daniel Rose and Stephen Starr, the brilliant minds behind New York's Le Coucou, just resurrected a new restaurant while no one was looking, this one in Paris.
Chez la Vieille, which sits in a worn corner of Paris's Les Halles neighborhood, originally opened in 1958 under owner Adrienne Biasin and was one of city's most sought-after restaurants. The menu was known for staying true to classic, home-style French cuisine—something that appealed to Le Coucou's chef, Daniel Rose, when he first spotted the unassuming bistro in 2008.
At the time, Rose was busy opening his restaurant, Spring, which later became famous for breathing new life into Paris's restaurant scene, with its modern, seasonally driven food. But to Rose, Chez la Vieille represented something different than the restaurant that would put him on the map: "It was still very unique and represented something profoundly French for me," he explains to the New York Times. "It very much reminded me of my first years in Paris when France was still very different."
When you’re behind one of the most praised new restaurants in New York City, perhaps even in the country, what comes next? For the restaurateur @stephen.starr and the chef Daniel Rose (@danielroseadventure), who recently opened the aforementioned @lecoucou_nyc to rave reviews, the answer is simple: open another restaurant. But this time in Paris, in an old bistro that was originally opened in 1958. Here, their latest endeavor, @chezlavieille, which Starr and Rose quietly reopened in late October. While the design was refreshed by Elliott Barnes (@elliottbarnesarchitect), the restaurant's 16th-century bones, exposed wood beams and restored rustic tiles were all preserved — even the black-and-white photographs from the era of the original proprietor, Adrienne Biasin, still line the walls of the downstairs bar. And in the kitchen, Rose elevates classics like herring with carrots and potatoes, lentil and foie gras salad, blanquette de veau and blood sausage. Bon appetit, indeed. Photo by Jean-Marie Heidinger.
His dream to revive Chez la Vieille to its former nostalgic glory recently came true, thanks to Stephen Starr, who preserved as much of the restaurant's original architecture as possible. This is the restaurateur's first venture overseas, and it might also be his smallest: The snug bistro may not have the high ceilings and cavernous dining room of Le Coucou (Chez la Vieille seats only 28, 10 of which are part of a bar), but diners can still experience the type of French classics that have made Le Coucou so famous. Think blanquette de veau, and lentil and foie gras salad.
So, hey, if you can't get a reservation at Le Coucou, you now have a valid reason to book a spontaneous flight to Paris.
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