Chez Les Anges


"Chez les Anges", a restaurant near the Invalides in Paris opened 65 years ago.  It was cited almost immediately in the Michelin restaurant guide, and has since been so cited continuously.
It's difficult now - in a time of mass tourism, instant communication, and investment-seeking funds, banks and governments - to conceive the risk any entrepreneur, restaurant or other, faced in 1952.  
There'd been enormous destruction and depredation during the Nazi occupation  It all had to be restored and rebuilt.  Many many trained French artisans had come back from Germany free, but  - if one may imagine it thus - perhaps not free in their minds.  To galvanize and inspire the creative craft which underlies French cooking, and has for centuries, the entrepreneur needed more than capital in 1952.
Cut to the present.  This week I went to Chez les Anges for the first time in at least 20 years.  It had been a favourite during my first time in Paris, in the 60's - as much as limited money allowed.
It was always impeccable.  Happily it still is.  Not echoing its past, but newly-redecorated and furnished, with so far as I could discern no real change in the superb cooking.  Service and the elusive accueil - I really don't like to use French words when something can be expressed in English, but the French accueil, literally "welcome", is far more than that, and hardly exists in language or life in the US - made one feel comfortable and at home.  Indeed in the most fundamental way: the actual furniture, the table and chairs, are squarely-settled, solid, made for real people, quiet, separated.
I discovered and have never forgotten certain Chez les Anges dishes.  For example: after a home and school upbringing in which calves' liver was an unpleasant-smelling gray mess, covered with onions or bacon, I was amazed to see how they did, and do, it at Chez les Anges.  First step is probably the most important.  The escalopes, scallops, are only cut from the whole once the dish is ordered.  Then quickly sauteed in butter, a few drops of vinegar, a handful of parsley, and onto the plate.  Revelation.
And oeufs en meurette.  Another untranslatable.  Again not used for pseudo-intellectual oneupmanship; the key word has no equivalent.  I could write a paragraph about meurette, so the reader'd understand exactly why there's never been a need for such a word in English, but that's not the point.  Point is, it is a sublime combination of red-wine infused, rich veal stock and tiny onions.  In which an egg is lightly poached.  When served, the still partly-liquid yolk is stirred into the sauce and becomes one.  Glorious.
And memorable.  Literally, since I remember it so clearly from my first visit to Chez les Anges some 52 years ago!  This is a place worth going to, among other reasons, to create your own such memories.
54 boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg, 75007 Paris

 12h à 14h30
 19h à 22h30

Tél. +33 1 47 05 89 86
Email. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Metro: La Tour Maubourg, Invalides

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