Respond to Review of Le Grenier de Notre Dame
by Vincent Vegan
Review: Le Grenier is located almost on the edge of the Left Bank just across the Seine from the famous cathedral, tucked down a small alley. I was expecting the hunchback to drop in for some table scraps at any moment. The service is great and the owner chef speaks enough English. And somehow they've been in business since 1978. That's about all the good I can say for the place. I ate at Le Grenier twice in my first visit to Paris in April, 2011. On the first visit, I paid about 37 euros ($53) for a rather unexciting meal called "Proteins". My tongue, my stomach and my sense of nutrition were all disappointed. I was not starving when I departed but I certainly was not full. And at that price I can normally feed myself and a guest better than this at a vegetarian restaurant in America. The atmosphere is tiny and easily crowded at times. Vegan dishes are extremely limited in number, perhaps two or three. A week later, I came back for a second try and was even more disappointed. I spent 25 euros (about 36 US dollars) for a meal of watery veggies, spread very thin over a wide plate, laid out artfully but with little regard for a real eating experience. The veggies were poorly spiced or not spiced at all and rather bland. I was determined to spend no more and opted for no dessert or other dishes. I could easily have eaten four times as much if I were flush with a lotto jackpot. Granted, it probably takes a fortune to pay the rent at a prime location like this and I cannot blame the owner for trying to stay good with the landlord. But he would be well advised to actually feed his patrons on a filling level at these prices. And there's more to culinary art than making artistic displays of food without regard to that wholesome filling feeling we all need in our guts. These dishes are incredibly low on grains and just so boring you can get equal results from canned food. In fact, I have determined that the best way to eat for 20 to 25 euros per day in Paris Latin Quarter is to hit the Monoprix stores for veggies and whole grain bread and fresh mushrooms. Get soyburgers at Nature de Paris on Saint Germaine. Get fresh olives, bananas and other goodies at common stores. Le Grenier would be better off serving high turnover low priced veg fast foods to go using their sidewalk window instead of trying to imitate the typical Parisian meat-fed bourgeoisie. No meat eater will get converted to vegetarianism by experiencing low density watery veggie-tofu dishes. C'est la vie!