The number of cups chef-owner Yves Camdeborde drinks in a day. No cream. No sugar. "It's the warmth I like," says the bistrotier, who sprints nonstop between his restaurant, hotel, wine bar and office—all on one tiny stretch of the carrefour de l'Odéon in the sixth arrondissement. His beans come from Paris coffee roaster L'Arbre à Café, 10 rue du Nil, 2nd arrond.; larbreacafe.com.
spent as a judge on the French TV kitchen competition "MasterChef" (tf1.fr › Programmes › Masterchef › Jury). "It was fantastic but I felt like a visitor at my own restaurant," he says. "Le Relais is home."
come in daily to book a dinner table or room at Camdeborde's small, 17th-century hotel, Le Relais Saint-Germain; hotel-paris-relais-saint-germain.com.
3 or 4
The wait for Camdeborde's wildly delicious 60-euro weeknight prix fixe. But the chef saves tables for guests at Le Relais Saint-Germain, and chance-takers who show up between 6 and 7 p.m. occasionally get a same-day dinner reservation.
It took two friends almost two decades to get together for a reunion dinner. They scored a last-minute table at Le Comptoir on the much-anticipated night.
eat updated bistro classics like whipped haddock mousse with herring caviar in a shellfish gelée and andouillette sandwiches with cornichon butter at Le Comptoir on sunny days.
in a kitchen the size of any other restaurant's coat check room.
plus 10 daily specials and 70 wines are offered at L'Avant-Comptoir, Camdeborde's convivial wine bar next door to his bistro and hotel. A discreet plaque defines the word "hors d'oeuvre" for anyone who insists on calling AC a tapas bar. "We have a perfectly good French word for small plates," says the chef.
prepare the nightly five-course menu + room service orders.
are served the set dinner menu Monday to Friday.
Cambdeborde lets his braised veal breast rest for two full days in an aromatic broth to let the flavors develop. Then he browns it on the plancha, brushes it with garlic-shallot-herb butter (this snail butter adds shine and pungency) and finishes the cooking in the oven.
are ferried up the stairs (and down) on napkin-lined trays during the dinner service by one hard-working runner-dishwasher. That's two plates every minute.
The work day of Le Comptoir's tireless plongeur. "Go! Go, Richard," says Cambdeborde. "The mint sorbet is melting!"
Camdeborde's collection of current and vintage cookbooks in his office and home.