On weekends—the restaurant weekend is Sunday and Monday—Eugénie runs, and meets a boxing instructor to hook and jab on the quays of the Seine. On Friday nights until Espadon opened, she volunteered as a cook at Refettorio, a well-known community kitchen that operates from the crypt of the Madeleine church, and on Saturdays, occasionally, after the kitchen at Espadon closes, she and a handful of the other chefs go to a bar called Le Petit Vendôme, a three-minute walk from the Ritz, where she orders white wine at midnight. (“What kind of white wine?” I ask. “It is not that kind of place,” she says.)
But mostly, if Eugénie isn’t working, she eats. “Eating—that is my hobby,” she says. “I love restaurants, I love food. The service, the wine. It is how I experience the world.” Her father was born in Senegal, and she tells me there’s a Senegalese restaurant in Paris, Les Marmite de Fa, in the 9th arrondissement, that serves a magnificent Chicken Yassa, which is also one of the specialties at Espadon. Her parents aren’t local, so I wonder where she would take them if they came to town, and she mentions Jeanjean Restaurant, in the north of Paris, which she found out about because Gabriel is friends with the head chef. The last time she was there, she ate “roasted chicken with potatoes and a lot of butter. It was…” She closes her eyes, and moves her shoulders.
Close to her flat on the Rue Montorgueil, she loves the restaurant Tekés, which only serves vegetables. “The atmosphere is loud, like a party. The chef there does wonderful things, like stracciatella with pistachios and green vegetables.” There’s a wine shop in the same neighbourhood, B.B.N., which sells books as well as bottles and has “exceptional natural wines, a great selection.” She likes the babka from the mini-chain of Parisian bakeries, The French Bastards, and Pralus, another chain, for their praline brioche.