Some dishes do not need reinvention, and until recently, I would have put garlic bread in that category. There is nothing wrong with a long loaf of supermarket Italian bread spread with a mash of minced garlic, butter and salt and quickly baked in a hot oven, other than the occasional overdose of garlic.

So when I stopped by Robert restaurant in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, just a few blocks up from the canal (the perfect spot for dancing and drinking on a summer evening), I was surprised to find that the chef, Jack Bosco Baker, had taken a fresh approach to this Italian American favorite by starting off with a skillet confit of garlic. The griddled bread also got a schmear of fresh goat cheese and honey and a topping of minty herb salad. At Robert, diners are asked to squeeze out the soft, unctuous cloves on their own for a do-it-yourself affair.

I had been to Robert a few years before, when the chef was Peter Orr. He demonstrated his version of potato gnocchi napped in a brown butter­sage sauce. But the restaurant itself was dedicated to the same philosophy—simple, natural food based, in part, on their gardens in the Loire Valley. At one time a vegetarian destination, Robert went back to a fully omnivore menu, and then, just recently, and sadly, it closed.

But the legacy of their garlic bread survived, and so we started with the confit technique. As many of you know, I am not a raw garlic fancier—a confit removes the nasty garlic bite and replaces it with a rich, creamy flavor and texture. But the stovetop version takes two hours and is fussy. Instead, we moved our confit to the oven: We add 1 cup of olive oil to four heads of garlic (remove the papery skin; cut off the top third of the head) in a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, then cook them in a low oven for 90 minutes.

We also decided to mash the garlic in the kitchen (to avoid leaving the clove-squeezing to your guests), added lemon zest to the goat cheese and, for the topping, used a combination of mint and parsley with shallot rings. A drizzle of honey is the final touch.

I am still a fan of everyday garlic bread, but once in a while, I feel like dressing up a classic, just for the sheer thrill (and taste) of it.