While the French seem rather lackadaisical about the word-wide trend towards clean, organic, raw eating, they appear to have embraced the dude food movement with open arms. Dude Food (formerly defined as calorie-laden snacks enjoyed by sport-watching men) is being reinvented by a new generation of young chefs who are putting the funk back into junk. Manapés, souped-up sliders, epicurean empanadas and haute-dogs are taking over where deep-fried chicken wings and chilli left off.
And never fear ladies, despite the name it ain’t all about the snaggers. You can have your fried snickers bar cake and eat it too (Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was famously caught downing numerous smoky chili dogs on a former political trip to Washington DC).
So dude up, and get on the bandwagon.
1. The gourmet kebab from Grillé
A gourmet kebab shop why didn’t I think of it first? This is the thought that crossed my mind when I surveyed the long line of punters outside Grillé on a rainy Wednesday lunchtime.
The solid ménage Ã trois behind this ingeniously simply concept: Frédéric Peneau of Le Chateaubriand fame, Marie Carcassonne and boucher du jour Hugo Desnoyer, have got the mix just right. They serve high quality produce (pork, veal and suckling lamb by Desnoyer and herbs by Annie Bertin, all nicely wrapped up in a homemade organic flour pita) in a small chic setting (by Clément Blanchet, who designed Le Dauphin), with quick, friendly service. What more could you want?
Kebabs are served with a choice of two sauces: fromage frais and horseradish or green tomato and pepper, and adequately greasy finger-licking French fries.
Shish, it’s a darn good kebab, that’s all I can say.
15, rue Saint Augustin
Open: Monday- Friday from 12 for lunch
Tél:Â 01 42 96 10 64
Métro: Bourse or Quatre-Septembre
2. The arepas from Bululu Arepera
This trendy little hole-in-the-wall canteen brings a little bite of Venezuela to Paris. The team serve up exceptional little arepas (gluten-free corn pancakes) overflowing with hearty ensembles – think pulled pork, sausage, black beans and minced beef, Venezuelan cheese, tomato, cucumber and avocado, to be followed by moreish plantain chips and washed down with a rum-based cocktail in an artisanal jar.
20, rue de la Fontaine du But
Open: Wednesday- Friday from 12pm to 2:30pm, 7:30pm to 11:00pm and Saturday, Sunday 12pm to 11pm
Tél:Â 01 42 54 96 25
Métro: Lamarck – Caulaincourt
3. The burger from Blend
An oldie but a goodie. There is a constant heard of pretty young punters grazing out the front of this haute-Marais hangout just waiting to get their mitts on one of Blend’s famous burgers. And they have good reason: with freshly baked brioche buns, home-made ketchup, home ground cuts of meat chosen by esteemed Paris butcher Yves-Marie le Bourdonnec (Blend is named after the secret mélange of meat he puts in his patties), and homemade potato and sweet potato fries – the burgers from Blend simply never cease to please. The Smoke (beef, smoked cheddar, homemade ketchup, mustard and honey) is a definite crowd pleaser, as is the more Gallic inspired Signature (beef, bacon and balsamic caramelized onion compote, bleu d’Auvergen, emmental and spinach) and there are vegetarian options for the less bovine inclined.
1, Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire
Open: Monday- Sunday from 12pm to 11pm.
Métro: Saint-Sebastian Froissart
4. The fried chicken sandwich from Verjus Wine Bar
I almost want to leave this section blank, as words simply cannot do justice to the fried chicken sandwich at Verjus Wine Bar. It is insanely good. And certainly not any old Colonel Sanders could whip up this little bad-boy; chef Braden Perkins brines the chicken overnight and twice-fries the nuggets to get a ridiculously crispy, juicy, tender, saporous taste sensation before nestling it, amidst a sneaky little slaw, in one of Emperor Norton’s pain au lait.
The confit wild boar sandwich with red cabbage sauerkraut, spicy mustard and arugula, and the duck meatball baguette with carrot slaw, sweet and sour vinaigrette and cilantro are, likewise, immensely enjoyable.
The 15€¬ lunchtime meal comes with one of these rad sandwiches, a drink, and a snickerdoodle (!) cookie or caramel brownie, which you do not need but polish off anyway, because it would be a crime not to.
47, rue de Montpensier
Open: Tuesday to Friday from 12:30pm to 2pm
Tél:Â 01 42 97 54 40
Métro: Bourse or Pyramides
5. Everything from Frenchie-to-Go
Everything on this US-centric menu qualifies as deliciously delectable dude food; from the hearty smoked bacon and egg English muffin, to the bacon and maple syrup scone, from the relish-topped pure beef brioche bun hotdog, to the sky-high pastrami on rye, from the mouth-watering pulled pork sandwich to the ambrosial beurre blanc covered lobster roll.
And I won’t even start on the hand-selected internationally imported craft beer carte.
The youngest addition to Gregory Marchand’s rue du Nil empire (which includes the exceedingly popular and forever full restaurant Frenchie and the equally as popular, no reservations wine bar Frenchie Bar à Vins), Frenchie-to-go is simply a must-go.
9, rue du Nil
Open: Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30am to 5:30pm
Tél:Â 01 40 39 96 19
Emerald Bond (author of www.agoodforking.com)