Brasserie Lipp

151 Boulevard Saint-Germain

75006 Paris, France

Tel. :+33 1 45 48 53 91



Brandade de morue, salade verte

Tarte tatin

Crème caramel


2009 La Chablisienne Chablis Côte de Léchet






2009 Genot-Boulanger Beaune






2002 Château Climens






Founded in 1880, Brasserie Lipp is one of those legendary dining spots that have seen the best and worst of times during their long and distinguished history. My most recent lunch at Lipp proved easygoing and very fine.

Clearly, eating at Lipp (the beautiful façade of which is classified as a French historic national monument) couldn’t be anymore Parisian, if in a totally different style than, say, Joël Robuchon’s Atelier. After all, the word “brasserie” has its origins in “brewery”, so you know the food there won’t be especially convoluted. That said, I eat out six days a week, twelve months a year, and please believe me, there are times when one just want to kick back and relax, without having to think about weird flavor juxtapositions, or ferreting out really old vintages at the best possible price from encyclopedic wine lists, or deciding upon complicated food and wine pairings. Brasserie Lipp is just the place to sit back, decompress and eat and drink “normally”.

Brandade de morue

On this day, I stuck with the tried and true: bouillabaisse and brandade de morue. The bouillabaisse was very roux-heavy, but thick and flavorful, while the brandade was creamy and richly textured. A 2009 La Chablisienne Chablis Côte de Léchet, a lovely if slightly underrated premier cru on the left bank of the Serein river (and one the wines of which often show a lacy minerality due to the calcaire-rich, very fine chalky soils), started things off very well. It had the required acidity but plenty of body not just to stand up to the fish soup but to also provide interesting flavor combinations on the palate. The wine’s orange, sweet spice and delicate smoky nuances hit it off especially well with the bouillabaisse. Most importantly, it struck me as an especially judiciously oaked effort from La Chablisienne, an excellent cooperative (originally founded in 1923, though today’s Cave Cooperative La Chablisienne was born in 1947 through the fusing of two different coops) of fairly priced wines that can at times get over exuberant in its use of oak, especially with their Grand Crus. A lightly chilled 2009 Genot-Boulanger Beaune turned out to be a better foil for the cod dish. This was an uncomplicated red wine with lots of early appeal, brimming with bright Pinot Noir fruitiness that matched well with the delicately saline, creamy texture of the brandade. Totally satisfied, I finished things off with two desserts, a wonderful tarte tatin and a good but not especially memorable crème caramel. Two desserts might seem a little decadent for just one wine writer, but I couldn’t resist the 2002 Château Climens at an especially fair price on the short but well thought out wine list and so two desserts seemed the right thing to do. Politely styled but not shy on noble rot, this Climens from what is an underrated Barsac vintage (it followed too closely on the heels of the more famous 2001) evokes magical purity of fruit with honeyed tropical fruit and fresh citrus aromas and flavors. Surprisingly richly textured, it stood up well to the two desserts, especially the tarte.

One last caveat: readers beware! The social politics of Parisian lifestyle are very much en vogue at Lipp, a place where many go not just to eat but also to see and be seen, so dress accordingly. I’m not advocating your wearing a tux, but Bermuda shorts are definitely out (they won’t give you a table) and scruffy “Come on, I’m on vacation!” type clothes won’t do either, unless you are a sucker for the ultimate humiliation of being banished to an upstairs table (that’s right, where the tourists get sent), the Lipp equivalent of culinary Siberia. Should that happen and should I be eating (on the ground floor, of course) at Lipp on the same day, please be kind and just pretend you don’t know me. After all, if you are going to eat out in Paris, you might as well do it in the most stylish of Parisian ways…

Tarte tatin and 2002 Climens

-- Ian D'Agata