About

"The reluctant Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Bacco -- Restaurant Review


13, rue Mademoiselle 15eme
Tel: 04 42 50 35 29
Metro: 8 (Commerce)
Website: www.bacco.paris 
Call for opening times
Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)


3.75 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell


A friend of ours is staying close to the 15eme arrondissement, which also happens to be in our neighborhood, so I selected this restaurant, primarily because of its reviews and the close proximity to us.

This restaurant is known for it's Italian and French flavors, and combining the two to make it uniquely theirs.


As we entered we noticed it wasn't very crowded, probably because it's getting closer to vacation time. It was simply decorated and the tables were nicely spaced and not crammed together, as in most restaurants. They had a full bar and you could see the kitchen from the dining room, which I've always liked.


We perused the menus and they had quite the interesting mix of dishes. They also had a suggestion of the day which sounded really good.

For our amuse bouche we got a little mouseline of carrots flavored with turmeric and sprinkled with toasted sesames topped with a watercress. It was a nice 2 or 3 teaspoons bites and it was very good, but a little sweet for my liking, but the others found it delicious. This was a good start.










ENTRÉES

La Burratina. We decided the 3 of us would share 2-entrées. First one was a nice appetizer of burrata cheese, a  pistachio pesto, and Parma ham and a sweet confiture. It also had a wonderful parmesan crispy wafer. We had some olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar which livened up the cheese and made it even more delicious and brought it to a new level. A great combination, and quite the sizable portion, which we could not even finish.



Ravioles de ris de veau. A ravioli stuffed with sweetbreads and served with some pecorino cream. Atop the ravioli were also chunks of sweetbreads lightly battered and fried. It was a delicious dish, and we managed to finish this dish. The only odd thing I noticed was a radish was just sort of misplaced. Don't really know why it was on the dish, made no sense. Otherwise a very tasty dish.



PLATS

Le Thon rouge.  Bluefin tuna lightly seared, just on the exterior, a sauce of langoustine bisque, an egg roll of sweet and sour seasoned vegetables. If this fish had not been lightly seared, it would have been a perfect sashimi. The tuna was very moist and the juxtaposition of the seared exterior and raw interior brought the 2 distinct flavors of the fish. At first I wasn't sure why there were egg rolls on the dish, but after tasting the combination, it made sense. The was the vegetable portion of the dish, it just happened to be an egg roll. I loved the dish and the bisque was light and not overwhelming strong, as are most bisques. A very well rounded dish.



Tagliatelle a la crema tartufata et truffe diete d’Italie.  If you like truffles, this is the dish for you. The tagliatelle was cooked perfectly al-dente and the sauce of creamed truffles was perfect. I don't think I've ever seen a dish covered with so much sliced truffles. It should've been called "truffles with pasta". One of my best friends would've died over this dish. She's a big lover of truffles. It had a very characteristic earthy taste combined with the refined tagliatelle. The cream was just the right amount. It wasn't my favorite dish, but overall it was a very good dish.




Risotto au Safran, gambas rotis et chaire crabe. At first glance when this dish was served to me, I thought oh-oh, it looks pretty dry. Well looks can be deceiving. The risotto was extremely moist. You have to like saffron though. The dish was ladened with saffron. I find typically when seafood is incorporated in risotto that there's a tendency to overcook it. Not in this case, the shrimp was perfectly cooked. The crab were small pieces and I think it was used more to flavor the rice. As for the green, they were actually chunks of asparagus, nice and al-dente. Overall, I thought this was an excellent risotto. Rich, flavorful and also had a small amount of citrus to counterbalance the richest. A big hit with me.


DESSERTS


Choco (Strato) Sphère. A hard chocolate Chocolate sphere encasing a mango mousse with also fresh mango and passion fruit. It was a  beautifully presented dish. Interestingly we could not get the sphere opened. First Jack tried and then I tried. You actually needed a chisel. After a couple of tries, we were finally able to get the sphere opened. Much to our delight, we did not break the plate in our attempts. I think the problem was that the chocolate sphere was just way, way too thick, it had to have been at least 1/4 of an inch thick. The easy solution was to either make it thinner, or leave a hole on top so you can slice into it. But alas we got it open, and the mango mousse was out of this world delicious. No mistaking that it tasted like mango. The chocolate was a dark chocolate, and there was even crumble for a textural component. An excellent flavor composition, but not an easy dessert to eat.



Le cheese cake. Avocado and pineapple confit, zest of cumbawa on biscuit speculoos. To those not initiated, avocados are actually used as a dessert in most of Asia. In fact, I myself never had a savory dish of avocados, e.g., guacamole until I moved to the US. The cheesecake was good, but the speculoos crust (similar to a graham cracker) was a bit soggy for my taste. However, the cream cheese itself was good. The infused avocado was mild and the topping of pineapples as well as a layer of it in the actual cheesecake was interesting. Our waiter told us that the lime was a Japanese lime, but in actuality it was flavored with the rind of a kaffir lime. Not my favorite dessert.


WINES. Le Maestrelle Toscana Santa Cristina 2014. A deep red almost purple red Italian wine from Tuscany with flavor notes and nose of aromas of red fruit, chocolate, and mint.



















SUMMARY 

What a great find in our neighborhood. The 15eme has come a long way since we moved here in 2009. Restaurants are popping up all around us. And, interestingly enough there are pockets of the 15eme that are known for certain ethnic foods, e.g., Ethiopian, Korean, and Persian. I thought the food here was very good. The one thing that drove me crazy is that they had jazz music piped through the restaurant; I found it annoying. Don't get me wrong, I love jazz music, but maybe they could've toned down a little. The restaurant was near empty, so I wonder what the noise level would've been had it been crowded. The entrées and the plats I thought were exceptionally good; however, the desserts I found a bit strange, not only in its ease of eating as in the chocolate sphere, but also in one of the flavor profiles, e.g., cheese cake. As for price-point, it's a bit pricey, comparatively speaking. However, we would definitely go back.

For 2-entrées, 3-plats, 2-desserts, 1-glass of white wine, 1-bottle of red wine, 1-soda, 1-bottled water, for 3-people our bill would've been 212€, but because I booked on "la fourchette" I got a discount of 60.80€ for a net total of 151.20€ or 50.40€ per person. So as you can see, this is not an inexpensive restaurant, even with the discount.




Friday, July 14, 2017

Kitchen Ter(re) -- Restaurant Review


26 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris
Closed Sunday & Mondays
Metro: Jussieu (Line 7 & 10)

Bus: 89 (Institut du Monde Arabe)
Tel:  01 42 39 47 48


Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)


4.80 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell


This restaurant has only been open for a little more than a week by renowned Chef de cuisine of "Ze Kitchen Galerie" and "KGB" (Kitchen Galerie Bis) by Chef William Ledeuil. Chef Ledeuil's trademark style of cooking is using Asian ingredients, but cooking with French techniques. It wasn't that long ago that anything not traditionally French was looked down upon. In fact, I once made a "Boeuf Bourginon" with 5-spice and my French friends were appalled, "c'est pas Francais".  Now almost 10-years later the French are not only embracing new flavors, but seeking it out.

Chef Ledeuil

Chef Ledeuil spent time in Asia and in fact goes there annually to hone his culinary knowledge. Bravo for him to seek out different cuisines. Speaking to his maitre'd he told us that he encourages his staff to go to Asia every year as well, to broaden their food knowledge.




As we entered the restaurant, it was nothing extraordinary, simple, but had a very casual welcoming feel. Chef Ledeuil brought his seasoned staff from his other restaurants to help get this restaurant get off the ground. In fact, we were overwhelming surprised it was opened for little more than a week, since it was run like a fine tuned orchestra.


We told the maitre'd that we had reservations under our friends name J, he immediately informed us he knew who he was, since J has been a loyal customer of the Chef's different restaurants for years. We were given complimentary champagne from Charles Heidsieck vintners to start. Hmm, it pays to go out to lunch with celebrity food writers.

Secondly, Jack and I have not been to the "Ze Kitchen Galerie" for years, yet, the maitre'd remembered us from our last visit. Now that's classy, and gave us a warm welcoming feel that they remembered us and welcomed us back. Very personable.














Our maitre'd explained to us that they use special grains in their starch dishes from using e.g., a wheat bulgar rather than rice for the risotto. He brought out a sample and explained each one of them to us. Very impressed.











I found the menu fascinating because just from reading it appeared to be so innovative and different from most other "French" restaurants, other than ethnic restaurants. What was also comforting was that  I am very familiar with the Asian ingredients used. And, our maitre'd confirmed that his generation (born in the 90's) are better traveled and more open to changes and admitted that French cuisine needs to evolve. He himself had just come back from almost 6-weeks in Indonesia.

Meals (please refer to menu above for English translation)


ENTRÉE

Gaspacho de Tomate.  The Chef wanted us to taste one of their trademark dishes on the house. This is probably the best gazpacho I've ever had. If our maitre'd hadn't told me there was no cream it, I would have sworn there was cream in it. Makes sense since the Chef's inspiration is Asian, and Asian cuisine typically do not use dairy. This recipe is trademarked and I can see why. But our maitre'd did share with us they use different tomatoes that creates the richness and creaminess with a touch of heat and garnished with fresh herbs. I believe it also had lemongrass. One word DELICIOUS.


Tartare de boeuf. I don't normally like raw beef because I've had some bad experiences but, I decided to taste it anyway. OMG, the Chef made me a believer again. This was absolutely delicious. Normally raw beef is sort of just "eh", and needs to be flavored with olive oil, citrus and cheese as in the case of Italian carpaccio. But this tartare was flavored with different Asian spices, citrus and herbs that gave it so much flavor and freshness that he has once again made me a believer.


Crabe mou. I had ordered this entrée, although good, this was probably my least favorite entrée comparatively speaking. The croquettes were delicious and I believe they sat atop an squid ink paste. The crab was perfectly cooked, but I guess I was expecting a little more of the body. And, the accompanying frisée had a wonderful peppery bitter taste. Simple, but well executed dish.







Salade de Poulpe de Galice.  Another wow moment. Talk about titillating the palate. The octopus was perfectly cooked. It was accompanied with tomatoes, citrus, a sauce of strawberries and topped with fresh herbs, which brought a fresh component to the dish. This seems to be a common theme with all the entrées of adding fresh greens/herbs. Bravo, a big hit with all of us.






PLATS

Blesotto (Engrain) Pistou Thaï, Girolles & Pecorino. At first glance, I thought, wow this is a very strange combination of flavors. And, this dish veered from the traditional flavors of Asia since it was topped with pecorino cheese (dairy). But I have to say it all worked. The Blesotto was made from a raw wheat cornels and the "pesto" was inspired by a Thai pesto sauce, which I'm assuming the Chef used Thai basil and of course garlic. The mushrooms and pieces of tomatoes were perfect. What I thought would be a strange combination all worked beautifully in texture and taste. Even the cheese worked.



Casarecce (Epeautre) Volaille Laquée, Harissa & Citron Confit. This was Jack's favorite dish. In fact, he said it was perfection. Harissa is a North African (Maghreb) spice akin to sriracha that we're familiar with in the US. The wheat noodles were perfectly cooked al-dente and the chicken was perfectly lacquered. What distinguished this from the other dish was its spicy heat. It was perfectly seasoned, wasn't too spicy where you couldn't taste the chicken. In other words it had the right amount of heat. It had a citrus flavor from the confit, so you had a balance of sour, sweet, salty and spicy.  And, it was garnished with some fresh basil. So, hit all the flavor notes.


Girolette (engrain) Porc Ibérique, Kimchi.  J and I ordered this dish.  I was expecting this Iberian pork to be on the salty dry side, but it was anything but. It actually tasted like sweet-and-sour pork to me. The maitre'd told me it was cooked twice with the last searing on the grill lacquered with almost like a sweet hoisin sauce. The kimchi was not overwhelming and brought the dish  to another level. Overall, a delicious dish.








DESSERTS


Three had desserts. They were delicious. Looking at the menu you're going to think, WHAT? some of the combinations are strange.

Sorbet Fyord & Fraise, Melon, Pêche. This was the least exotic of the desserts. It was basically melons and peach topped with a strawberry ice sorbet. Good and simple.

Gianduja café, miso. OMG, this was so chocolatey rich and delicious. Loved this dessert. To be honest though, I did not taste the miso. Miso can be a little salty, so in combination with chocolate I can see how it works. Salt, in actuality, brings out the sweetness of chocolate.

Cappucinno, fraise, pistache, wasabi. I was never a fan of desserts with a spicy element, e.g., chocolate sprinkled with red peppers. On the other hand this was an extremely refreshing dessert. It did have a little kick from the wasabi, but it wasn't unpleasant, in fact it brought the otherwise very simple dessert to the next level and gave it a pop. So, I'm once again a believer that a little heat goes a long way with desserts.


WINES

As our usual modus operandi we ordered a bottle of white and red.

Domaine de la Janasse 2015 Côtes de Rhône. A white wine characterized a taste of fresh fruit of crushed strawberries and blackberries. Also with a crisp flavor with a hint of licorice.

La Grande Ourse 2014. A red wine from the Côtes de Rhône as well. It's characterized has having tasting notes of dense and velvety materials. It has very complex flavors.






SUMMARY

One word, WOW. Chef Ledeuil is a true culinary artist. Chapeau to the Chef. He broke the French mold and took chances to influence the French's otherwise strict, classical and rigid palette to explore other flavors of the world, but not losing French technique and/or sensibility. I remember just 10-years ago when even a hint of spice was looked down upon by the French. But with the influx of Chefs from around the world opening restaurants in Paris with foods and spices from their native countries, to classically French trained chefs traveling the world to broaden their food knowledge, what a great culinary evolution taking place in Paris, and what a great time to be in Paris.

Chef Ledeuil is known for his broths and sauces and of course his use of Asian flavors. Although the menu was heavy on Asian products there were other influences from e.g., Galicia and also North Africa. The gazpacho was out of this world, the entrées were all delicious and although I'm not a dessert person, I have to say they were good. The staff seemed genuinely happy. In fact, one of his apprentices, our maitre'd, had worked for Chef Ledeuil since he was 17 and he's now 27. He had nothing but praise for the chef. And, the other staff all seemed extremely happy. It says a lot and showed in their enthusiasm when describing the dishes, and serving them. So, the service was beyond reproach. This is one of the best meals I've had in our almost 10-years of living in Paris. Will we come back? ABSOLUTELY. I'm afraid it's going to get so popular that I may not get in anymore.

For 4-entrées (soup comped), 4-plats, 3-desserts, 3-coffees, 1-tea, 2-bottles of wine, our bill came to 192€ or 48€ per person. What a great deal for an excellent meal.










Sunday, July 2, 2017

Restaurant Review -- Grand Cœur


41 rue du Temple, 75004 ParisTel: 01 58 28 18 90
Metro: Hôtel de ville (Line 1)
Closed Mondays
Website: 
http://www.grandcoeur.paris


Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)



2 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 4 - Bell

This restaurant has been around a while. I've been meaning to go to it, because it's in the Marais where we typically hang out. And, it's known for their dining al-fresco. Unfortunately, today it rained buckets so we went inside.


Interior is really nice. The stone walls and the high ceilings gave it an old world charm. But that's where it stopped. The restaurant was not full, and we did have a late seating (1:30 pm), but it was so noisy. It had a lot to do because the walls were stone and the tables were marble, so a lot of the noise bounced off.

The menu was interesting. They said they had a prix-fixe menu, but it was not printed, so in addition to asking for some water and the specials, our waiter just went off and totally forgot about us.

Finally a woman wait person came and she told us what the specials were. We had to ask her to repeat it as the acoustics were so bad we could not understand her. And, we once again asked for water and it finally came. 

After we made our decisions, we decided to order the specials.  We also ordered wine. Normally the wine comes before the meal is served. But we got it mid-way through our entrée, how weird.




ENTRÉE

Calamari salad. It was actually quite good. There were julienne carrots, zucchini in a light vinaigrette oil mixture. And, much to our pleasant surprise there were also some large pieces of whole shelled shrimp. The calamari was just a tad tough, but not unpleasant to the palate. Be forewarned if you're allergic to peanuts, this dish did have peanuts. I happen to like peanuts on my salad so this was a plus for me. Overall a very good composed first course.






PLATS: 

Duck. The duck was served to us 2-ways, roasted breast, and in a cup almost served like a parmentier, however, the potato topping was more like a thin whipped potato that was very light and airy. I did not like the roasted duck, it was very tough. However, my friend who ordered the same dish said his was fine. I gave him a piece of mine and he agreed that mine was particularly tough. So, it looks like they have consistency issues coming out of the kitchen. The accompanying vegetables of zucchini and a pureed of peas was a nice accompaniment. I thought the sauce for the duck was a bit tart though.

The little cup with pulled duck in the sauce was absolutely delicious. It had a lot of flavor and the meat was cooked very tender. This was the saving grace of this dish.

We decided to forego dessert and got coffee instead.





Wine: Thierry Germain Les Roche 2015 Samur Champigny.  A red wine made with 100% cabernet franc from the Loire. It has both the smell and taste of red fruits with a very balanced acidity.













SUMMARY

This restaurant is known for their outdoor terrace, so it's apparently nice to come here for al-fresco dining. Unfortunately, for us it rained and we ate indoors. The food is just fair, nothing special. The service was inconsistent. One waiter never remembered our orders, so we had to ask the other wait-staff and they were more attentive. Would we go back, maybe for the outdoor dining where the noise level would be lowered. The food wasn't bad, but it just wasn't anything special.

With 4-entrées, 4-plats, 1-coffee, 1 bottle of red wine and 2 glasses of white wine our bill came to 171€.












Saturday, July 1, 2017

Le Chalet de Iles -- Restaurant Review


POUR DÉJEUNER OU DÎNER, LE RESTAURANT EST OUVERT DU LUNDI AU SAMEDI DE 12H À 15H ET DE 19H30 À 22H30 ET LE DIMANCHE DE 12H À 15H ET DE 19H30 À 22H 
BRUNCH TOUS LES DIMANCHES DE 12H A 15H
RESERVATION UNIQUEMENT PAR TELEPHONE AU 
01 42 88 04 69
Directions: check website
www.http://chalet-des-iles.com/fr-restaurant/reserver

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)


3 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 1 - Bell



At the recommendation of a friend, we decided to go to this restaurant. Not the easiest place to go to from Paris center, but it's manageable and also the walk to the park is quite lovely. The restaurant is situated on a small island in the "Bois de Bologne".  In order to get there you have to take a little shuttle boat that takes maybe 2-3 minutes to get there. If you go there for lunch or dinner, tell the boat driver, otherwise you have to pay for the ride, but it's minimal at 1.50€



Originally we sat outdoors in a lovely terrace facing the lake. As we were perusing the menu and the specials for the day, the skies opened up and started pouring like crazy, so all of us patrons ran up to the main indoor dining area.  They did have a large balcony with a few tables, which we managed to commandeer, but the interior was lovely, and they were able to accommodate all of us.


ENTRÉES

We decided to share the entrées and in fact they recommend sharing them.  We had the eggplant rolls with chèvre cheese, shrimp, white asparagus and Iberian ham.

Shrimp. They were breaded and was almost like tempura. Nice and crispy and it came with a sweet chili sauce.

White asparagus. Blanched and cooked perfectly. it was served with a side of salad.

Eggplant. chèvre was rolled in zucchini, was tasty, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Iberian ham. They were good, and served with toasted bread.

Overall, it was a nice start, but nothing out of the ordinary.


PLATS

Pintade. I ordered the special of the day which guinea fowl. It was accompanied with quinoa and a tzatziki. The pintade was very, very overcooked. The quinoa was cold and the tzaziki was just, eh? Overall, it was a very underwhelming dish.

One person ordered the chicken, I did not taste it, but was told that it was unevenly cooked.







DESSERTS

We shared the desserts.

Rhubarb crumble.  We agreed that this was absolutely delicious. Typically, you don't get enough rhubarb, but this dessert had loads of rhubarb and had a dollop of strawberry sorbet. It was an excellent dessert.





Café gourmand. In France it is coffee accompanied with some petite-fours.  Typically they're the standard desserts such as a chocolate mousse, a cake and crème brulée. This had 4 little tidbits of a chocolate cake, a sweetened pâte à choux, a cake and a meringue. Good, but nothing out of the ordinary.




SUMMARY

If you're coming here and expecting haute cuisine, then turn around cause this is not the place for you. You come here for the beauty of the park, the ambience of being in nature and overlooking the lake, and food is secondary, then go. You definitely don't come here for the food. The food is mediocre at best; however, the service is excellent. Very attentive and I was impressed how they made sure we all took cover and were all seated comfortably and did not miss a beat with our orders. I bumped up the rating because of the atmosphere and the service was excellent. Would we go back, sure on a lovely warm sunny day to enjoy the views.

For 4-entrées, 4-plats, 2-desserts, 2-coffees, 1 bottle of wine, 1-beer, our bill came to 255.30€ for 4-people or 63.83€ per person.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Fish La Boissonnerie -- Restaurant Review


69 rue de Seine
Paris, France 75006
Tel: 01-43-54-34-69
Hours 12:30PM - 2:30PM, 7:00PM - 12:30AM
Metro: Odeon (4 & 10)


Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)


4 - Star......................................................€€€€......................................................... 2 - Bell



This restaurant has been here a long time. The first time we came here was when we first moved to Paris back in 2008. Since then the interior has been remodeled. So, the interior is a little more spacious. The dining area is on the main floor with large windows. Upstairs are the restrooms as well as the kitchen with a glass partition so you can see them at work.

We were 4-people for dinner and 2 of our friends are pescatarians (fish, no meat nor fowl).  For a Friday night, it was not at all as busy as we had remembered it. This restaurant as its namesake is heavy on seafood, which is perfect for us.

We perused the menu, and they had a nice selection of seafood as well as some meat and fowl dishes.

















AMUSE BOUCHE.  We had a cold cauliflower mousse. In actuality it was more of cold soup, rather than mousse. It was quite refreshing since it was a warm evening. It actually tasted as if it had a little bit of anchovies to flavor the soup, but it wasn't overwhelming or anything.









ENTRÉE

Soupe Broccoli, feta, menthe (Broccoli soup with feta and mint).  This soup was served cold. Perfect for a warm summer evening. Feta can be a very aggressive flavor, but in this simple dish the flavors complimented each other well. The freshness came out, the saltiness from the feta enhanced the soup and the mint added some coolness.

















Asperge bio d’Anjou, condiment fraise, vierge piquillos (Organic asparagus, strawberry condiment, virgin piquillo peppers).  I loved the freshness of this dish. At first bite we thought the little dab of red sauce was a sriracha of some sort, but as we dug into it more we discovered it was actually pureed strawberries with some of the piquillo peppers which gave it a nice bite of heat.  The freshness of the asparagus combined with fresh strawberries and dollops of aged balsamic vinegar was a hit.




Carpaccio de seiche, poireaux grillés, sauce à l'encre. (Carpaccio of cuttlefish, grilled leeks, ink sauce). Two of us had this entrée. This was a dish where thin slices of cuttlefish were wrapped around grilled leeks. Because the plate was black, it was hard to notice that there was actually a sauce of ink squid that the carpaccio sat atop. Don't know if this was done purposely to fool the eyes. The squid ink had that characteristic iron, mineral taste, which went well with the otherwise minimal flavor of raw squid.  Overall, it was a very good dish.










PLATS 


Maigre, pulse de chou-fleur au curry, broccoli, grecque au thym citron. (Meagre white fish, pureed cauliflower with curry, broccoli, Greek lemon & thyme). Two ordered this dish. This fish was perfectly cooked. The skin was crisp and the interior was nice and tender. After-all this restaurant does specialize in seafood, so I expected nothing less. Although the pureed cauliflower did have curry, it was a very mild use of it, which was perfect so as not to distract from the simple flavor of the fish. There were chucks of cauliflower which gave it some texture. A very good dish all around.



Cabillaud, asperges blanches au beurre noisette, pousses d'épinard, citron. (Cod, white asparagus with hazelnut butter, spinach sprouts, lemon). This fish too was cooked perfectly. The cod sat atop fresh spinach and white asparagus. It was a simple dish, but a very good dish.





Agneau de Guillaume, petit pois à la française, sarriette/mélisse (Lamb of Guillaume, French peas, savory / lemon balm). I had to be different, so I ordered the lamb. The lamb was perfectly cooked pink, just how I like it. I got a nice large double piece of the rack of the lamb as well as a saddle. It was accompanied with grilled baby lettuce and sat atop fresh peas that were perfectly cooked, al-dente. And, there was also a pea purée flavored with lemon balm (mint). Wonderful dish.


DESSERTS

Tarte a l'orange façon crème brulée et crème crue. (Orange creme brulée with raw cream. A very simple dessert and the orange flavors did come through. The creme brulée sat atop a wonderful little butter wafer, and the caramelized sugar on top was extremely crunchy, as it should be. The accompanying cream added a nice balance. One thing I liked about this it was not overwhelmingly sweet.







Abricots du Roussillon, mousse coco, sorbet citron/romarin. (Apricots du Roussillon, coconut mousse, lemon / rosemary sorbet). The apricots were slightly poached/candied and although it was sweet, it still retained some of its tartness. The sweetness from the coconut mousse and sorbet counter-balanced the tartness. It was a good dish.




Tarte aux fraises, rhubarbe, sorbet framboise. (Strawberry tart, rhubarb, raspberry sorbet). Jack is a sucker for anything rhubarb, so he ordered this dessert. Although good, this dessert had more strawberries and raspberry flavors than it did rhubarb. The strawberries and few pieces of rhubarb sat atop a cream and a butter pastry round. The raspberry sorbet was surrounded by some crumble.









WINES


I ordered one of their white wines by the carafe (50cl) and Jack ordered an Irouléguy (one of his favorites) from Domaine Arretxea - Organic Wine | Red Tradition. This red cuvée is characterized by tasting notes of cassis, spices,  and pepper.  The restaurant has a very, very extensive wine list.



















SUMMARY

This restaurant is owned by a Miami born Juan Sanchez and New Zealander Drew Harre who also owns and manages Semilla (right across the street), refer to my review Semilla. The chef at the helm is Valentin Vasseur. We were very, very pleased with our meal. As you would expect from a  restaurant that specializes in seafood, the fish dishes were perfectly cooked. The accompanying dishes such as the vegetables and pureed cauliflower made sense, since the star of the dishes was the seafood. The service was EXCELLENT. Although this restaurant is frequented by tourists, it doesn't have the same feeling as a "tourist restaurant or trap". It's a small cozy atmosphere, with good simple food executed well.  We really enjoyed our meal. Since this restaurant is frequented by English speakers the wait staff are all bilingual, and in our case trilingual, since our wait-person also spoke her native Spanish. Would we go back, ABSOLUTELY.

Note: It's also a wine bar. And, after dinner, several people came in just for the wine.

For 4-entrées, 4-plats, 3-desserts, a bottle of wine, and a 50cl carafe of wine, our bill came to 244€ or 61€ a person.