When Eric Frechon opens-up a brasserie in Paris, everyone expects the master from the ***3 star Le Bristol restaurant Epicure to master the brasserie format too.
Located in the wonderful Gare de L’Est, the brasserie looks somehow either incomplete or perhaps lacks the atmosphere that a a brasserie should have….opulent and grandiose, with noisy waiters running about with massive trays – just like at Bofinger or le Procope. Here, the service is far more discreet. Infact, it’s almost non-existent.
If a brasserie is defined by simple dishes made from a small number of ingredients, then indeed, Lazare meets the brief to perfection. The “steak” of cod literally swims in an ocean of concasse tomatoes, sweet and sour, nicely cooked…but is it astonishing? Not really. The slow cooked palette de porc (pork shoulder) could easily be challenged by a UK Sunday roast.
Let’s not waste any more time on the other main courses, as you could cook them yourself on a Tuesday evening if you fancy. My one hope was that Lazare would find its way with the desserts. Simplicity again but with a twist; the element that was certainly lacking in the mains.
The île flottante is simply topped with crushed violet sweets (a specialty from Toulouse) and while it remains simple, it at least deserves some recognition for the interesting addition of the floral notes. However again, it’s nice, but not exceptional. The final and most unique dish which stands-out after two long hours is undeniably the Gavotte mille-feuille with custard drops, almost as thick as a crème patissiere, topped with a salted caramel butterscotch. This creamy, well-balanced dish has some crunch, sweetness and it’s full of the vanilla; superb. In the end, this really the only dish worth describing.
So In a nutshell like we would say in Français “Lazare c’est bon mais c’est cher”. Perhaps best left for an afternoon tea.