This Paris neighborhood bistro serves a limited menu with really good food. At first, I was a bit concerned when I heard a lot of American accents, but we scoped out the room and half were French. If you spend a lot of time in Paris, you may notice restaurants will often seat Americans and other English-speaking people together with a server who speaks English better than other team members. It’s not being mean — it’s trying to make it easier for everyone!
The decor is typically Parisian, with a mixture of old photos, antiques, and paintings hanging around the dining room. On the menu, you’ll find traditional dishes like pigeon, langoustines roasted with citrus butter, cote de boeuf, cassoulet, beef bourguignon, and duck confit.
We went with our Parisian friend Xavier who said it’s a very local restaurant and was surprised how good the food was. Xavier and I both ordered the pigeon which came with a delicate Milliefoile layered with pigeon breast slices. We both agreed that it was like duck breast, but even better than duck. The two legs were even more tender. We don’t know how the chef does it but he has this dish down. The meat was delicate, flavorful, and juicy and the sauce was incredible.
Clayton had the chateaubriand with bearnaise sauce and roasted potatoes. Hands down the best bearnaise sauce I’ve ever tasted. The Chef-owner only serves steaks “bleu” (rare just seared) or “saignant” (rare but more than blue) which means no well-cooked meat will be coming out of this kitchen.
Do be sure to order your dessert when you order your meal. You’ll want the souffle au Grande Marnier, which is exactly what it sounds like — a tall fluffy souffle served with a shot of Grande Marnier. You pour the Grand Marnier over the top and make some cuts Into the top of the soufflé with a spoon so it can get down into the cracks.
There’s a small list of wines. They were out of what we ordered, so the server proposed something similar and another bottle at a much higher price point than what we had asked for. We only knew this because we knew the wine and year. If it matters to you, just be sure to check before you have the server opens the bottle. You don’t want to be in for a surprise when the check arrives. They also offer what seemed to be a gimmicky selection of “premium” wines by the glass with a system of wines in individual vials. We suggest avoiding it.
The chef was a bit crazy but also very generous, pouring many digestifs for the table. He’s very animated and has some stories to tell. It was a very Parisian experience. The server told us he poured digestifs for the entire restaurant at lunch. He told us a story about how the children’s hospital around the corner. The chef told the interns to come to his restaurant and that he would take care of them and feed them. Now they’re all doctors and come to eat and pay. Just an example of his big heart.
We closed down the restaurant while chatting with the chef until 1 AM, so Josephine’s is definitely a recommended spot in Paris.
Joséphine Chez Dumonet, 117 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris, France, Call +33 1 45 48 52 40 for reservations.