We did not plan to eat at Chez Gladines. In fact, we had not heard of the restaurant up till last week, absent as it was on major travel and blogs. Still, several events dovetailed that culminated in our dinner there.
2 Saturdays ago, I dragged the husband on a walking tour organized by the Mairie du Paris (aka the city council) through the 13th arrondissement, optimistically thinking I would be able to follow the commentary. The walk was pleasant enough though I did not understand anything that was being said. But on our way to the last stop of the tour, the headquarters of the Les Amis de La Commune on La Butte aux Cailles, we spied a restaurant on the corner of the street, still packed with people at 4pm on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Our interests were piqued.
The next night, over dinner with friends, someone mentioned Chez Gladines for its inexpensive South-western French food and outsized portions. By then, we were very invested in trying the place. Finally on Monday evening, our meeting with the language teacher ended much earlier than initially planned, and since we were already in the 13th arrondissement, that sealed the deal for us to make the short trip from Porte d’Ivry to Chez Gladines.
It was a warm evening and when we got there around 8 pm, both the restaurant and the sidewalk around it were packed to the rafters, those outside (locals and students sniffing out a good deal) patiently waiting their turns while drinking out of plastic cups filled with beer, wine and sangria. Yes. Plastic cups. Out of the ordinary in Paris, but this is definitely a casual place. Inside, the bar was three deep and the bartender was working double-time, pulling pints, taking reservations and manning the cash register simultaneously. Meanwhile, the 2 overworked servers were operating with the same manic energy, almost sprinting from kitchen to tables, yelling “chaud! chaud!”, above the cacophony, as they wove between the tightly packed dining room.
How tightly packed you ask? The proof is in the pudding, or rather the bread bowl, placed strategically between two neighboring tables…
so as to make room for the outsized dishes of food. My salad came in the metal bowl (for those with a kitchen-aid, it approximates the size of the mixing bowl) filled to the brim with salad greens, a poached egg, goat cheese, bacon, chicken livers, giblets and crisp, fried potatoes all drenched with a garlicky dressing that went exceptionally well when mixed with the unctuous egg yolk and fully absorbed into the potatoes. A very sinful salad but oh so delightful, and all for the princely sum of 9 Euros. P had his bistro standard, the duck confit, and Chez Gladines’ generous version passed his test, the duck leg salty, flavorful but not dry, and simply paired with the same delicious fried potatoes.
Sadly, we conceded defeat after our plats and had no more room left to even contemplate dessert from their menu of simple, non-fancy desserts. Still, the chocolate mousse of our neighbor looked awfully tempting. Note to self: make room for desserts next time.
Address: 30 Rue des Cinq Diamants 75013 Paris