Scallops with black truffle at Le Comptoir, Paris.
Located in the Latin Quarter, Le Comptoir has all the makings of a traditional Parisian bistro—small and cozy, with countertop seating and sidewalk tables. But renowned chef Yves Camdeborde (formerly of La Régalade) takes it up a notch. “It’s perfect bistro food,” Ripert says. “But he adds a twist, and that is what makes it genius.”
Locale: Hotel Relais Saint Germain, 9 Carrefour de l’Odéon, 6th Arrondissement, 33-(0)1-44-27-07-97
The Chef: Chef Yves Camdeborde’s passion for making food accessible to everyone from “the mailman to the movie star” has made him a culinary innovator. After impressive stints in such kitchens as La Tour d’Argent and Le Crillon, he opened his first restaurant, La Régalade, in Paris’ 14th Arrondissement. Its success was overwhelming. Wishing to cook for a more diverse audience, Camdeborde opened Le Comptoir. Combining bistro fare by day and “fine gastronomy” by night, Camdeborde has been said to influence a new cooking style called “la bistronomie.”
The Scene: Le Comptoir is located in Camdeborde’s 22-room, four-star hotel, Relais Saint Germain, in Saint Germain des Près. Upon opening Le Comptoir, Camdeborde was not willing to completely abandon his fine dining customers, so he created two formulas within one restaurant. He serves brasserie-style à la carte dishes until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and a prix fixe menu Monday through Friday, with one seating at 8:30 p.m.
The Menu: Camdeborde’s menus feature the highest-quality seasonal and local ingredients. The brasserie serves items such as Canadian lobster salad and mashed green beans. The gastronomic menu changes nightly, but it might include truffle egg cream from Périgord or rib veal from Lozère. “Cooking is my passion; I try every night to give this passion back in the plate,” Camdeborde says.