Grande Brasserie has a lot of things going for it. The vintage décor, in the space that used to be Le Petit Bofinger, is gorgeous. Light streams in through the large windows, and the walls are adorned beautiful old murals and posters. Owner Adrien Spanu has a lot of restaurant friends who helped him put together one of the best wine lists in Paris (hint: it looks a lot like the ones you’ll find at Semilla and Fish). It’s centrally located and open every day, and it serves the sort of classic French dishes that both visitors and locals love. It’s large enough to welcome big groups, and there’s a very, very cute dog.
If the food were outstanding, this place would be packed. It’s unfortunately not, and the place is pretty empty. I’ve returned twice because I’m rooting for this restaurant. Each meal has featured a few “pretty good” dishes and quite a few head scratchers. Most recently, a dish of beef cheek managed to be completely dry on the inside with one knob of grisly fat on the outside. A thick heirloom pork chop was fried to hell and described as à la viennoise (a supposed schnitzel). Desserts have always been reliable, as is the starter of eggs mayo with celery root remoulade, but don’t expect fireworks from the rest of the menu.