79 Rue Saint-Dominique,
Phone: 33 1 47 05 49 75
The room itself is almost worth a visit to this stylish haunt adjacent to the Hotel Le Thomieux in the 7th arrondissement. Really, all French brasseries should look this fabulous at 90 something years old. You see Brasserie Thomieux’s been around since the 1920’s, though it’s had some major work done since it first opened. There are mirrors on every wall, a flurry of soft bistro globes dangling from the ceiling, beautiful brass trimmings, and plush red banquettes and chairs at every table. But my favorite decor element are a scattering of emerald green lights that give the room a magical glow — that kind of glow that so many bistros stateside try to imitate. (Balthazar comes to mind.)
You’d never know it’s a Costes Hotel, which is a good thing considering all their other restaurants have virtually the same menus. But not Brasserie Thomieux. There’s a serious chef in the kitchen here named Jean-François Piège, who earned two Michelin stars at Hôtel Crillon. Piège’s cooking is playful and international, with liberal interpretations of plates.
Take the Pizza Souffle, for instance, which is neither a pizza or a souffle. It’s more like a bread puff, hollow on the inside, spackled with mozzarella, sweet piquillo peppers and shaved mushrooms — a very tasty starter. Then, there’s the “Calamari Pasta” in quotes because the calamari serves as the pasta (so it’s carb free which is a plus) — glossed in an egg yolk with chives and lardons and shaved cheese — which is my favorite dish on the menu. Other than the bread and butter, that is. The bread is crusty and the butter Bordier (the best!), but the tour de force is the Sardine Rillette, which cutely comes in a sardine tin — so addictive my husband had to remind me that we had food coming.
Entrees are less imaginative and respectively less interesting to eat, like the Steak Au Poivre, which is solid, and a so-so entree of Wild Daurade with a Smoked Vinaigrette Dressing, beets, and radishes. For dessert, Thomieux serves a good Citron Lemon Tart on a long, thick pastry dough with jiggly cubes of lemon jello, meringues and lemon cream, and Wild Strawberries with an emulsion of strawberries, mint, and a strawberry sorbet.
Brasserie Thoumieux is perhaps the Costes brothers’ best food effort, but the scene still seems to take centerstage here, just like any other signature Costes spot.