Bagels, Burgers & Blood Marys at Joe Allen

Don’t get me wrong. I love Paris but there are three things that the French know nothing about: Bagels,Burgers & Bloody Marys and you can get them all at the Paris outpost of JOE ALLEN,the famed Manhattan theater district saloon. On the edge of Les Halles it arrived almost simultaneously with the destruction of that culinary icon. I had my first burger there in 1976.


Back to bagels. Paris is suffering from Bagelmania-local take-out cafés, McDonalds and the hideous reincarnation of Noah’s Bagels, itself an insult to real bagels, BAGELSTEIN, that is popping up all over the escargot with a chewy, tasteless product that is soft to the touch-all day long. Any serious connoisseur knows that a real bagel, after being expose to the air will become hards as a rock and become a viable alternative to a boomerang for inflicting serious harm on ones enemies.

Chef Graeme BENT, himself a New Yorker,became fed-up with this sorry state of affairs and he is now in the Bagel biz producing the closest thing to a true bagel that I have tasted in Paris.Crunchy to the bite, tender inside, they offer a nostalgic accompaniment to smoked salmon, a ripe tomato slice and a red onion.

As for burgers, the French start off by using expensive, low fat cuts of meat. It is the fat, especially when it rolls onto your fingers when squeezing the bun and opening your mouth to receive this juicy treat that gives the burger it’s distinctive flavor. Add a crispy slab of bacon, fromage, crunchy onion, pickles (on the side) and fries and you are back in the Big Apple.

As for the Bloody Marys, they rival my two favorite destinations for that Sunday brunch or post hangover libation: PJ Clarke’s and London’s Chelsea Art Club.

JOE ALLEN • 30 rue Pierre Lescot • Paris 75001

01 42 36 70 13

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