Le Balm and Le Brooklyn Diner
By Paige Donner
Le Balm. An unusual name for a Parisian restaurant you might think. However, as soon as you step inside this elegant new establishment in the shadows of the Ministry of Culture on rue de Valois, and are enveloped by the soothing vibes permeating the place, you sort of sigh and say to the gracious hostess, “Where might I be seated, please?”
From outside, the design-rich interior first appears as if it could be a bit stiff with its generous use of white with bright spring green accents, full-size wall photos by Marc Lagrange and chairs designed by celebrated designer Jean-Marie Massaud. But once inside, whether it’s for the lunchtime steal of a deal of appetizer + main for 29 Euros or appetizer + main + gourmet cafe (that’s coffee served with little cakes and sweets) for 35 Euros, or in the evening for dinner service, the cosy warmth of le Balm overtakes you and serves to whet your appetite. In fact, it’s a point that deserves even further punctuation as many big-city establishments serve outstanding food but skimp on tactile atmosphere. I find atmosphere – and vibes – imperatively important for pleasant conversation, ease of digestion, and quite simply put, overall enjoyable dining. Le Balm’s got it all.
Reservations Recommended. Lunch M-F Noon – 3pm; Dinner Monday – Saturday 7pm – Midnight.
Le Balm 6 rue de Valois Paris 75001 balm.fr 01 42 60 38 81
In the exciting scene that is the never-ending evolution of Paris dining, another small team of young Frenchmen has opened the doors to their first Burger joint in Paris. Like other youthful adventurers, the team went for their walkabouts around the globe and decided to bring back to Paris a NYC diner that outdoes the best of the burgers in the west.
For Yann Bourgeois, Alexandre Maloubier and Hadrien Birembaux this is their second restaurant following Gatsby. This time they decided to give Parisians a real taste of what an authentic diner is like, the kind you might find around Mid-town Manhattan or even in Brooklyn.
Things that make you feel like you’re back home: Huge portions. I’m not kidding. We each ordered a salad and a burger and it was about two dishes too much. The salads come in dinner plate size bowls and my Caesar Salad which should be called a Chicken Caesar Salad had so much chicken in it I had plenty to share with my little dog. She already keeps asking me, When can we go back? My lunchmate ordered the XXL Burger. At 18Euros I was thinking it better be XXL. He’s a big guy – well over 6 foot – and even he had a hard time downing all of it after chomping down his tuna salad. “One of the best burgers I’ve ever had,” was his true blue American takeaway. They have fresh-baked bagel sandwiches too – Lox, Turkey, Pastrami, B.L.T.
Main courses 5Euro (NYC hot dog with relish) to 18Euro. Salads 12Euro – 14Euro. Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
12, rue du Champ de Mars Paris 75007 (M. Ecole Militaire) Open 7/7 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.