13 March 2014

here's your future: frenchie to go, 75002

In the not-too-distant future, when Paris drops the pretense of being French, Le Fooding will organise several multinational corporations to erect a statue in honor of Frenchie founder Gregory Marchand.

Smaller versions of the same statue made of Claudio Corallo chocolate will be sold in Frenchie To Go, which by then will be a fixture in frequent-flyer lounges throughout the western hemisphere. As now, the original Frenchie To Go location on the rue du Nil will be frequented principally by foreigners for whom the experience of eating a pulled pork sandwich in the City of Light is unforgettably tickling. "Can you believe it?" they'll beam at one another between bites. "We're in Paris!"

The attraction-packed rue du Nil, of course, will be unremarkable by then. For it will have become an urban planning template for much of the city. (Already, some well-intentioned financeers have plans to create another foodie wonderland by Arts et Metiers.) Actual Parisians will have long decamped outside la Peripherique, where a fugitive culture of sitting around consuming nothing in well-preserved cafés will persist. For city real estate - even of the momentary kind, like a seat at a restaurant - will be priced beyond the means of all but visiting princelings. The latter will flock to Paris from all over the world in order to taste, at Frenchie To Go and its many imitators, the absolutely definitive versions of the cuisine they remember from turn-of-the-century food blogs.

How strange they will seem to us, these toweringly wealthy diners of the future! While you and I know well that it would be freaking bizarre to consume burrata beside a lobster roll and a bacon scone, the gourmand of the future will think nothing of such pairings. "I might as well try it all," he'll think, as his refrigerated rickshaw attends outside, laden with macarons. "As long as I'm in Paris."

Everything, of course, will be delicious, and not just by the standards of Paris. Even Americans, mostly employed as tour guides, will be impressed by Marchand's team's mastery of their homeland's culinary idiom.

They'll wonder how on earth Frenchie-To-Go manages to create such a superlatively salty pastrami sandwich, such a supple pulled-pork.

"Oh wait," those Americans will realise. "It's because they charge a small fortune for this stuff."

"For this kind of money, why don't we go eat some food with history? This place feels like a gift shop."

"Go wait in the rickshaw," the Princeling will command.

Then he'll order a few more rounds of Elian da Ros' lively, blackfruited "Le Vin Est Une Fete," which will strike him has a significantly better deal than all the first-growth Bordeaux he bought on the futures market the previous decade. More refreshing, too. He'll eye Frenchie-To-Go's boutique beer lis, but decide it seems overpriced. Even the man for whom money is no object can clearly remember paying half as much for beers from Kernel Brewery at Saint Pancras station in London.

Still, wishing to enjoy his experience to the fullest, the Princeling will ask the restaurant's helpful staff how one traditionally finishes a meal at Frenchie-To-Go. Traditionally, they'll explain, you take a round of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon, and a cinnabon, and a recipe book, and an espresso, and the logo-printed espresso cup!

The Princeling will be overjoyed. "You guys have so much cool stuff! All in one place! It's such a relief not to have to trek across the street to L'Arbre à Café to buy a logo-printed espresso cup."


One of the burdens of writing about food and wine is the inescapable suggestion that one is a hedonist. Friends and acquaintances presume one's life must be an unending bacchanal, a veritable firehose of ambrosia, judging delicacies from noon till nightfall.

But, honestly, I can't think of anyone less ready to accept pleasure than myself. Frenchie To Go serves excellent food and is run by a nice team, and it gives me the heebie jeebies.

In the same way that I'd reject an otherwise tasty wine for being a placeless, technologically enhanced crowd-pleaser, I reject Frenchie To Go, despite its charms, for being a cynical play for the affections of shortsighted food faddists. Even as every product the restaurant contains is of admirable quality and craftsmanship, the place remains a stylistic nightmare, because the elements do not cohere. There is no organising principle, except to offer a collection of individually tasty things that Frenchie fans like.

Beyond demontrating the superficiality of that demographic's interest in cuisine, this does a disservice to the traditions and cultures that lay behind things like burrata, or craft beer, or even hot dogs. These items have been removed from their origins and chalked onto a menu that reads like a ViralNova listicle.

Do you know what happens when an entire nation's diet resembles a ViralNova listicle ?


9, rue du Nil
75002 PARIS
Métro: Sentier
Tel: None

Related Links:

Frenchie, 75002
Frenchie Bar à Vin, 75002

David Lebovitz on the culinary wonderland that is the rue de Nil
Lindsay Tramuta-Morel endorses Frenchie-To-Go


  1. I'm with you.... had a similar heebie jeebie moment at Frenchie when they rushed everyone in at the same time and out at the same and the food was good, but hardly something I'd swoon over. If you're interested, there is a great little wine bar just around the corner. Half the price, selling only French charcuterie and full of young French folk struggling to afford life in Paris. Warning though, the night I went not a single table was speaking English. Just another reason to love it!

  2. I love you Aaron. You are the man. AARON FOR MAYOR de PARIS