If there is one thing Paul and I love to do it is finding the hole-in-the-wall eatery that serves up the best authentic food of the area we are in. Living and growing up on the Jersey Shore have made us local food enthusiasts. We KNOW good pizza and we KNOW good bread, but now thanks to Chez Agnes, we KNOW good French food too.
Paris is amazing (I think I’ve mentioned that before). It’s a culinary mecca, need I mention it’s where Giada De’Laurentis and Julia Child went to cooking school. Local cafes with local food abound on every corner. You can find good French food just about everywhere you turn in Paris, however, if you want authenticity, you can only go to the very place we love, Chez Agnes.
When you walk in the door, its like walking into someone’s house. It is at this point that most people would turn around and leave…it doesn’t look like a five-star restaurant, and honestly, it doesn’t smell like one either. Agnes, herself, owns and runs the restaurant, along with her small, friendly, and American (I’ll get to that in a minute) dog. You find a table, there is only about four to choose from, and look around. Two steps in one direction you are in her kitchen, two steps in the other direction, you are back on the streets of Paris.
Agnes only speaks French. If you don’t know any French, this might make you a little nervous. If you know a little French, you will learn quickly that a little French goes a long way when it comes to relating with Agnes herself. She has one menu with only a few select choices. You can get an appetizer, dinner, and dessert for a standard amount of Euros. At first, Agnes might come off as unfriendly, but a smile and a little attempt on your part, will bring out the Agnes you came here for.
She loved us. When I missed one of my escargot, she brought it back to me on a fork and fed it to me! She sat at our table and shared with us how she had adopted an American dog with the help of an American friend. She demanded that I eat the rest of my lamb chop with only my fingers…she insisted that was the ONLY way to eat it. She found joy in sharing our engagement story with the other customers (all four of them) and embraced us with love and affection. And the food, the food was sensational, the very best I’d ever had in this magical city.
Did I mention that Agnes is the waitress, the cook, the dishwasher, and the host? Yes, she does all of these things, with her friendly dog acting as a bit of a host as well.
Our second trip to Chez Agnes, the very next day, was eye-opening. Two Americans, mother and daughter, stopped in for a light dinner. Now, if you want light, don’t go to Chez Agnes. They insisted they would only order salads and kept asking (in English) what kind of salad dressing came on the salads. If Agnes could have, I think she would have told them to get out and never come back, but she kept her cool, all the while giving them funny looks. Although she couldn’t answer their questions because I’m not sure she had any idea what they were saying, they ate their salads without much comment and went on their way. They probably will never step foot in her restaurant again, but why should they if all they want is salad. I was tempted to scream as they left “You are in PARIS, not Ruby Tuesdays” but I think that would have been inappropriate.
In conclusion…if you want to experience what we call authenticity…stop by and see Agnes. Tell her we sent you, and please, don’t order salad.