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)!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Divellec -- Restaurant Review


18, rue Fabert 75007
Tel: 01 45 51 91 96
Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner
Website: http://www.divellec-paris.fr/en/
Metro Invalide (8 & 13)
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+)


1.75 - Star......................................................€€€......................................................... 3 - Bell


A friend J had recommended we go to this restaurant. It's a stone's throw away from "Les Invalides".  He had been here a few times in the past 40-years when it was still owned by M.Divellect himself. In September 2016, it was bought by Michelin starred Chef Michel Pacaud who happens to be the son of famed chef Bernard Pacaud. He has restaurants around the world and these are the ones that garnered michelin stars: L’ambroisie (3-stars), Hexagone (1-star), and Histoires (2-stars).  He is the first French chef to have obtained three Michelin stars in a row. So, he's got quite the pedigree and rightfully so our expectations were quite high.



The restaurant is quite large. It takes up a corner of half the block. It's quite airy and open. We were seated on the extreme end across from the park.   I guess for lunch time they squeeze all the patrons on that end to make service easier, understandable. We sat in a semi-booth, unfortunately we sat next to some very loud people. As we walked in, the very first thing I noticed was that english was spoken everywhere. Not a good sign.



WARNING: this restaurant is VERY expensive. 

As we perused the menu, there were a few prix-fixes. 49€ for 3-courses, 90€ for 4-courses and 210€ for 7-courses.

J and I selected 3-courses prix-fixe since neither one of us are big eaters. And, Jack decided to order a-la-carte, because the prix-fixe did not excite him.

Note: this restaurant specializes in seafood.

A-la-carte Menu




Amuse bouche was a small spreadable seafood paté. Our wait person said it was sardines, but it was definitely tuna. It was served with very thinly sliced toasted baguettes. This was nothing special. Anyone with basic cooking skills could've made this. 















ENTRÉE

Œuf mollet, velouté de céleri à la badiane. (Poached egg, velvety celery with star-anise). The dish was pretty enough, but looks can be deceiving. I have one description for this dish, BLAND. Cold dishes normally need to have a heavy hand with spices, but it was so under seasoned that we had to ask for salt/pepper. Interestingly, unrequested our wait-person also gave us some olive oil, hmmm? what does that tell you? Only flavor came from the smoked eel bits. And, the only saving grace for this dish was the poached egg. It was perfectly cooked. This dish should either be improved upon or just plain removed from the menu.



Coques-couteaux, marinère aux épines vinettes (Razor clams with marinière of "berberis" sauce).  Jack ordered this dish. Normally the clam is quite long, but they were sliced into small round disks and placed back into what looked the original shell. It was served with some greens and tomatoes. The dish was good, the clams were cooked perfectly and although I did not taste the star anise, it did have a nice citrusy flavor, but it was nothing out of the ordinary.



PLATS

Merlu de ligne, fenouils, pommes de terre confites de Noirmoutier et sauce bouillabaisse. (Hake, fennel, candied potatoes of Noirmoutier and sauce bouillabaisse). Beautifully presented. Ah, nice change. There was actually some flavor in this dish. The bouillabaisse was rich and tasty. The potatoes were tasty and cooked in the style of Noirmoutier, an island off of France. Now keep in mind the star of this dish is the hake, one word, OVERCOOKED. How does a restaurant who specializes in seafood overcook their fish? Whoever cooked this fish needs to go back to "cooking fish 101."




Bar, enroulée de poivrons doux, extraction d’une sauce piperade. (Sea bass, coiled sweet peppers, extraction of a "piperade" sauce). Fortunately, this time the fish was cooked much better. Moist and tender. It was topped with pureed red peppers and the sauce, although had espelette (basque spicy red pepper), lacked flavor. It was an underwhelming dish for 55€.  It came with a side dish of chopped zucchini.


DESSERTS

J had the strawberry dessert that comes with the prixe-fixe and Jack had the raspberry dessert. The desserts were good. In fact, I think this was the only thing the guys liked on the menu. But, as Jack said, you could get this at any café/bistro and even at some of our local patisserie. Although good, they were nothing special.










I asked, since I don't eat sugar, could they replace the sweet dessert for cheese. They obliged. Unbeknownst to me until I got the bill, they charged me an extra 18€ for the privilege. I had the cheese plate, and I have to say this was the redemption dish. But, like I always say, you can't go wrong with cheese in France. After-all they are the experts. From my recollection I had the chèvre, brebis, tomme de savoie, camembert, young chèvre and believe a slightly aged cow cheese. I finished them all. Surprisingly enough though, I had eaten half a piece of baguette, so the wait-person left it for me to eat with the cheese. I assumed he'd come back with more bread. Never did, nor did he ask if I wanted more. Fortunately, I don't eat much bread.


WINES 

Jean-luc Colombo 2015 Les Collines de Laure.  A white wine where the Provençal grape Rolle (aka Vermentino) is used. Characterized with having fresh citrus acidity and peach, orchard fruit and herb notes. Excellent wine.

Les Augstins, Les Bambins, pic saint loup. A red languedoc. Jack originally ordered something else, but our sommelier suggested we try this wine, which was only 5€ more than the original Jack requested. We were happy we took his advise. This was a great red wine.  This red wine had a slightly oak taste with hints of black fruits. Excellent choice. I do want to add that our sommelier know his "stuff." 


MIGNARDISES (PARTING SWEETS) -- I would expect with this type of expensive restaurant, we would have some. So, none to report. 


SUMMARY 

One word describes this restaurant well, UNDERWHELMED, second word EXPENSIVE. It was so unmemorable, I actually had a hard time recalling what we had, and we just had our meal yesterday? The entrées were just "meh"? But what shocked me the most was the overcooked hake. Keep in mind this restaurant's specialty is seafood.  From underwhelmed, under seasoned, and an overcooked plat, the only redeeming dish for me was the cheese and the wines, which neither is made by the restaurant. As for the service, it seemed rushed. In fact, one server wanted to clear the plates before one of us even finished? I understand that the Chef has restaurants all over the world and has won several Michelin stars for OTHER restaurants, but he really should focus some attention on this restaurant. It is an overly priced tourist trap. Would we go back? ABSOLUTELY NOT. We'll leave it for the tourist. 

For 2 prix-fixe meals (3-courses), 1 a-la carte (3-courses), 2-bottles of wine, 2-glasses of additional wine, 1-coffee, 1-tea our insult to injury came to 353€ ($395) for 3-people, 118€ ($132) per person. I took price into consideration for my overall review. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Le Vent d'Armor -- Restaurant Review



25 Quai de la Tournelle 75005
tel: 33 1-46-34-50-99
'Open: Monday night 19:30, Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner
Website: http://www.le-vent-darmor.com/
Metro: 4 (Cité), 1 (Hôtel de Ville)


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......................................................€€......................................................... 2.5 - Bell


This restaurant has been open for about 15-months. Interestingly, it's across the pont (bridge) from the Ile St. Louis where my good friends live and who recommended we try this restaurant. But for whatever reason this restaurant has been under my radar. So, we made it a point to go and check it out. Plus it's in a great location, easy to walk to, and the walk along the Seine is always beautiful.


The interior is quite lovely, very simple and modern, and also very comfortable. It's a small restaurant, maybe around 20-tables. I was a bit surprised that the restaurant wasn't more busy for a Friday night, but that was OK for us.


As I ordered a started sipping my kir, we perused the menu. There was a tasting menu for 60€, but we all thought that would've been too much food for us.

You'll notice something about this menu, it's 95% seafood. They specialize in seafood. So, off the bat, I need to warn my readers if you don't eat seafood or allergic to it, this is not the place for you.










AMUSE BOUCHE.


For our amuse bouche we got a small croquette of monkfish. It was served with an herbed pesto. JJ thought it was just a tad salty, whereas I thought there wasn't enough salt. It was well fried, not greasy at all. I could've had the pesto a little more spicy peppery, but hey, we're in France, they don't do spicy.









ENTRÉES


Huîtres spéciales n*4 — Marennes Oléron -- (Oysters on a half-shell). Although oysters are not in season, JJ, who ordered them, thought they were delicious, fresh and very juicy, and not gritty as they are normally known to be during the off-season.














Soupe de Poisson du Chef, Rouille et croûtons (Fish soup with croutons and cheese).  Our friend R ordered this dish, and he said it was excellent. The added garnishes of croutons and cheese was served on the side, so you can add them as you wish. R added the cheese and after it melted it looked like French onion soup. Overall, he thought it was a very good dish.














Thon minute, sésame, piment d’Espelette (Tuna cooked for 1-minute, with sesame, espelette peppers). Originally I had wanted to order the crispy shrimp, but I misheard the waiter earlier when he told us that was the one dish they didn't have. But I wasn't disappointed. The tuna was perfectly seared, just the way I like it. I like the "ying-yang" combination of the outside cooked with the interior a sashimi texture. The espelette sauce could've been spicier, but like I said, this is France. It was served with accompanying lettuce greens with a light vinaigrette sauce.





PLATS


 Médaillon de lotte œufs de Harengs fumés, crémé d’échalotes (Medallions of Monkfish with Smoked herring eggs, and cream of shallots).  JJ ordered this dish and said the fish was very, very fresh. As characteristic of a monkfish, it is very meaty. Monkfish can be overcooked which would make it rubbery, but he said this dish was cooked perfectly tender.

















La Sole grillée, sauce champagne (Sole grilled with champagne sauce).  R ordered this dish, and he said it was excellent. The fish was also fresh and cooked perfectly. He had a nice variety of green beans with carrots and a squash.









Cassolette de langoustines aux truffes (a dish of langoustines and truffles).  I ordered this dish. For some reason I had read cassolette as cassoulet, a traditional dish with white beans as the base. But I was wrong. It was more like a creamy bouillabaisse soup base. The langoustines were perfectly cooked and the accompanying sauce was delicious. And, for you truffle lovers out there, there was a nice healthy serving of garnished black truffles. Simple, but tasty. Note: it did come with potatoes, and vegetables.




CHEESE COURSE

I of course had the cheese plate. This plate had a nice salad with a light vinaigrette dressing. It included "tomme de savoie" which is a semi-firm cow's milk cheese, and mild in flavor. Actually, it's one of my favorite cheeses, so lucky me. And "chèvre" cheese, a goat milk cheese. I'm not a big fan of goat milk cheese, since I liked harder more aged cheeses, but for you lovers of chèvre, it was very good.  








DESSERTS:



Gratin de pamplemousse Rose et son sabayon grand marnier (Pink Grapefruit Gratin in sabayon) and Assortiment de glaces et sorbets (maître glaces) (3 scoops of ice creams and sorbets (master ice cream). JJ ordered the grapefruit, it consisted of sliced fresh pink grapefruit served on a hot plate with sabayon sauce. It was good in its simplicity.

R ordered 2-scoops of chocolate ice cream and 1-vanilla. Delicious ice cream, but nothing out of the ordinary for France.








WINES





We ordered a bottle of Chinon Marc Brédif 2013.  It's a red wine of cabernet franc, known to have a classic red wine taste. There's a tartness underneath a layer of fruit flavors. Alcohol level is not as high as well.













MIGNARDISES (PARTING SWEETS)


We were given a selection of caramelized nuts. A brown sugar marshmallow and some meringues.



















SUMMARY

You have to like seafood to come to this restaurant, that is what they specialize in. In fact, there was only 1-dish that was not a fish dish, but a duck dish and only served as a plat. One important note, all the seafood was of high quality and very fresh. It's a small cozy restaurant, but in a great location. It's next door to a rotisserie place we frequent, as well as across the street from the famous "Tour d'Argent" which we don't frequent, and across from "Notre Dame".  The waiter and his helper could not have been nicer and more efficient. Would we come back, ABSOLUTELY.

With 1-kir, 3-entrees, 3-plats, 1-cheese plate, 2-desserts, 1-bottle of wine, and 2 glasses of a Sancerre white, our bill came to 259€ or 86.33€ per person. So, this is not an inexpensive restaurant, but well worth going to.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Alan Geaam -- Restaurant Review


19 Rue Lauriston, 75116
Tel:  +33145017297
Website:  https://www.alangeaam.fr/
Metro: (6) Kléber


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+)


4.25 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2.5 - Bell


Chef Alan Geaam gets around. He has restaurants in several locations. l'Auberge de Nicolas Flamel in the 3eme, "AG" at St. Germain de Prés, which he will soon be letting go, which I'll explain later, and "AG" Les Halles" which is relatively new, and finally, this new restaurant, his name sake in the 16eme, which is a stone's throw away from the "Arc de Triomph".  It's located on a side street which unless you know where the restaurant is, you would not know this restaurant existed.



The interior was very modern with "curvy" banquettes and matching chairs. It was actually quite comfortable and had a "homey" atmosphere.


While we were perusing the menu, they brought some tasty little crispy wafers made of beets and "sumac" . He told us he has a Lebanese background, hence, the sumac.

The menu was a tasting menu which you can choose. We opted for the 3-course menu, but ordered the pigeon as our main, rather than the fish. The wait-staff did ask if any of us any allergies, or had any aversions to certain foods, which we don't.







Amuse Bouche was a trio of various tasty morsels from carrots, passion fruit and fish roe on a meringue squid flavored toast. My 2-favorites was the egg roe over the meringue toast. As you bit into it there was explosion of a large egg roe that just oozed with wonderful flavors of the sea. And, the squid ink toast just added another dimension.

The passion fruit served over a bed of toasted nuts was my second favorite. The textural components and tartness of the fruit was a great combination.



ENTRÉE


Carpaccio of dorade with a thick pea sauce/soup.  This entrée was served cold. The chef himself came out and poured the soup for us. The carpaccio was great and we had various components in this dish. We had the raw element of the carpaccio with al-dente whole peas, green onions, and juxtaposed with the smoothness of the cold sweet pea soup was a perfect melding of flavors and different textural components. I loved the dish.







PLATS -- NOTE:  Although the pigeon was not part of the 40€ prix-fixe menu, we opted to order it anyway, since our friend J had heard it was the dish to get.


Pigeon. We ordered ours rare, you can order it more well done if you wish. The pigeon sat atop a bed of bulgur wheat which was beautifully flavored, and atop sat blanched carrots. I liked the crispiness of the skin and the doneness of the pigeon breast. It literally melted in your mouth. I would imagine if it had been cooked more, it would've lost its "melt-in-your-mouth" attribute.





Salmon. The salmon was perfectly cooked. The skin was nice and crispy and the meat was extremely moist. The chef grated some "Buddha's hand lemon" to give it that nice citrus touch. I saw some patrons actually remove the skin, that's the best part. I was very tempted to tell them to give it to me.








We had creamy butter and thyme flavored butter, with various types of breads. 


DESSERTS



I ordered the cheese plate. This was a tad disappointing for me since it was mostly "chevre" (goat cheese) and I'm not a big fan of goat cheese. It did have some shaved cow's cheese which was a little more aged. and I enjoyed that. It also came with a sweet little cake, which I passed on.

As for the the dessert it was a sorbet topped with rice pudding and wrapped with a nutty wafer. Strawberries was the theme of this dessert. At first you think the combination of the rice pudding with sorbet would be a strange combination, but it all came together magnificently.




WINES

As usual we ordered a bottle of a white and a red.

Domaine Serge Laloue, Sancerre, Loire, France 2015.  Sancerre is probably my all time favorite white wine. It's characterized has having light citric smoky notes with added white stone fruit and white peach freshness, with a balance of fruit and acidity.

Saumur Champigny Domaine Sanzay 2015.  It's a cabernet franc, which is known for their their roundness and freshness. It combines finesse, freshness and minerality; Tannic tip with a spicy finish.





And, as a parting gift we got some "mignardises" (bite size sweets). They were bitter sweet dark chocolate ganache encased in a hard-shelled round gold dusted chocolate ball. We also had some homemade caramel toffee and some various sweets. What a nice parting gift.











SUMMARY

As I mentioned chef Geaam has several restaurants in Paris. He is a well known restaurateur and chef in Paris. He designs all his restaurants and menus himself. We were lucky on this particular day because he was actually there. He told us he wants to focus more on the food; hence, he will soon be letting go of "AG" at the St. Germain de Prés" location. Simply because logistically, he was spreading himself way too thin between the 4-restaurants.

I actually enjoyed the meal a lot. JJ and J thought the amuse bouche, entrée and dessert were above average but the main somewhat ordinary, and J was just a tad disappointed in the pigeon, and he did admit that it was probably because he had higher expectations and his friend had put that dish on a pedestal.  But overall, I thought the food was excellent and the staff could not have been nicer. From the amuse bouche, carpaccio/soup extraordinaire, to the pigeon. Only thing I would change would be a nicer collection of cheeses.  I'm becoming a big fan of the Chef. Would I go back ABSOLUTELY.

For 3-people our bill for 3-courses, 3-filtered water, two bottles of wine, a coffee and and tea, it was 207€ or 69€ per person.
























Saturday, April 22, 2017

Les Saisons -- Restaurant Review


52 Rue Lamartine, 75009
tel: 01 48 78 15 18
Mail: Lesaisons@hotmail.fr
Metro Line 7 (Cadet ou Pelletier), Line 12 (ND de Lorette or St. Georges)
Website: http://www.restaurant-les-saisons.com/


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+)


2.95 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell


This restaurant is in the 9eme, just around the corner from the church "Notre-Dame-de-Lorette" and very near to the line 12-metro. So, it's in an easy location to get to. The 9eme has transformed to a food destination where there are many good places to choose from, and also a number of ethnic restaurants. It has transformed quite a bit since we moved here in 2008. I made dinner reservations online through "La Fourchette" and it was odd, my preferred reservation time for dinner is 8 pm or 8:30 pm, but I could only make reservations for 7:30 pm or 9:30 pm, hmm, then it dawned on me that maybe they turn tables. Never-the-less, I heard good things about the restaurant, so we decided to go. We were six people.


The interior is tight, but there is an upstairs dining area as well. The staff are extremely nice and extremely helpful, in fact very attentive, and I'll explain later. We got there promptly at 7:30 pm, but one of our companions was a little late, maybe 20-minutes. She didn't even have time to say hello before the waiter came by and asked can I please take your order now? Odd I thought, why the rush on a Friday night.



There was an a la carte menu as well as a "Chef Suggestions". According to La Fourchette if you order a la carte, you get a 30% discount. If you order a prix-fixe, there is no discount. But that didn't matter to us, we just wanted to eat what looked good to us.

Note: Not that I was expecting it, but there was no "amuse bouche" typically served at restaurants in Paris.









Entrée

Artichauts poivrade cuits en barigoule et parmesan (purple artichokes cooked in a white white sauce with shavings of parmesan). Normally, purple artichokes are shaved thin and eaten raw, but these were braised in a barigoule (wine sauce). They were actually very good. This salad had everything including the kitchen sink. It had ham, baked tomatoes, parmesan cheese, mache, and even pomegranate seeds. Surprisingly, as busy as this salad was it all came together. The saltiness of the ham and cheese complimented well with the rest of the dish. So, this was a hit for me.




Plat


Pluma pata negra, concassé de tomates (Iberian pork shoulder with crushed tomatoes). Having lived in Spain, this reminded me a lot of the Spanish way of cooking pork, where the outside meat or skin is crispy and the interior is moist. Some Americans may find this too dry, but I like this style of cooking the pork shoulder, makes it less fatty. Now what I wasn't particularly fond of was the "crushed tomatoes" I thought it tasted like tomato paste directly from the can and strategically put in different spots on the plate. Plus I found it tart. However, my companions who had it liked the concentrate of tomatoes and the tartness.  The pork had a sprinkling of mache for greens, it seems the Chef likes mache. And, it came with a bowl of fries. Because of the way the fries were cut I assumed they would be crispy, but they were more shaped like fries, but were actually baked, so not crispy. Overall, it was a good dish, but nothing out of the ordinary.


Dessert

Strawberries are in season, so a few of us got the strawberries with the melba and whip cream, very simple dish, but the star was definitely the strawberries. One had the Chocolate mousse, it was almost like a deconstructed profiteroles. He thought it was delicious. And, I had the roquefort cheese.









Wine



Fache Mornay, Morgon Corinne et Vincent Fache 2014.  We ordered 2-bottles. This is a beaujolais wine generally made of the gamay grapes. Gives off a nose of blackcurrant and spices, a wine with ripe tannins but rich, with a warm mouth. This wine is characterized as a garnet color wine with tasting notes of cooked fruits, violets and gives off a nose of blackcurrant and spices.














SUMMARY

The food was good, I'd give it an overall 3 star rating over 5, the service was EXCELLENT, definitely a 4.5 star rating, the staff could not have been any friendlier. I had a suspicion the restaurant turns table when I originally tried to make reservations for dinner online for 8 pm, but could only make it for either 7:30 pm or 9:30 pm. I don't have problems with that, but it's unusual in Paris and I like to be told upfront. Another suspicion was when our friend was 20-minutes late, she didn't even have time to peruse the menu and immediately the waiter had to take our order, hmm, hence the over attentiveness.  Next clue was they didn't bring JJ's tea after dessert, nor could we order a digestif (after dinner drink).  And, lastly, the waiter tried to make light humor of the fact that the front of the house manager was getting worried and upset because they had our table reserved for another group of 6 at 9:30 and they were waiting outside. Before we knew it our bill was shoved in our face and we needed to leave. FYI, we left at 9:35 pm.  Initially, I was ANGRY. Seriously, on a Friday night? no time for tea or digestifs? Now this is where they could have corrected their error. At the ONSET of our reservations they could've told us that they turned tables and we would need to be out of there by 9:30 pm and would that be ok? If not, we could've selected another restaurant. For this reason, I lowered their overall rating. Dining should be about the "whole experience" from when you make reservations, until you say good-bye and hopefully say, see you again.

I understand the concept of turning tables, that's what we do in the US, but in Paris? Where long leisurely meals for hours is the norm. Typically when you reserve a table in Paris, it's yours for the whole evening. BUT I want to be told upfront, because for many of us a meal out is a social event. As Americans we are used to this, but I hope this is not going to become a trend in Paris, then it'll just become like any other big city in the US. We felt that there was something incomplete about our evening out.

For 6-entrées, 6-plats, 4-desserts, 1-cheese plate, 2-bottles of wine, 2-coffees, 2-glasses of rosé the bill came to approximately 86€ a couple, which is extraordinary reasonable. But keep in mind we got a 30% discount from La Fourchette for ordering a-la-carte.

Would I go again? For a "quickie", but not for a social meal.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Louis -- Restaurant Review

23 rue de la Victoire, 75009
tel: + 33 1 55 07 86 52
Online reservations: reservations@louis.paris
Metro: Le Pelletier (ligne 7), Notre Dame de Lorette (ligne 12)
Website: http://www.louis.paris/
Opened: Monday-Friday

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+)

4.25 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell


Good friends J and Colette recommended this restaurant which they've been to several times and have always enjoyed it. It's a small restaurant. It can barely seat 20-people.


The interior is simply decorated with snug tables. It's pleasant enough and it appears that the patrons prefer a later lunch, since it didn't' start filling up until after 1 p.m.


We perused the menu. It's a tasting menu and changes daily. For lunch you can select either 3-courses or 6 courses. We all decided 6 would be a bit much, so we selected the 3-course lunch.


Amuse Bouche.  It was a trio of a toast, wafer with a light cream and beets. What the 3-shared was their extreme lightness. They were not heavy at all. And, not too rich as to clog your taste buds, but also flavorful enough that it left lasting impression.








Entrée, Tempura oysters with a creamy leafy cream sauce.  The oyster was either on steroids, or they combined 2-oysters. Nice and crunchy and it sat atop a tuber and a little spinach. The presentation was simple, but the flavors were spot on.











Plats, Chicken & cod. Talk about surf and turf. In its simple presentation, it was quite elegant. The chicken wrapped around some fresh cheese and the sauce was a "colza" sauce is which typically made of rapeseed. At first glance you think, this dish is not going to fill you up. On the contrary, it was quite satisfying. The chicken, as well as the fish were extremely moist. And, the added root vegetables were a nice accompaniment. Although there was one long root vegetable I didn't recognize and it was a bit stringy for my liking. Otherwise a perfectly composed dish.




Cheeses. As many of my readers know, I do not eat desserts, so I opted for the cheese plate. Wow, kismet, I got the 3-cheeses I love the most, camembert, brebis (sheep), and blue. It was served with some nice greens and great tasting toast. I don't know what seasoning he put on it, or if it was just the bread, but it went well with the cheeses.










Dessert, a napoleon with rhubarb and sorbet. What struck me visually was the green sugar wafer. How did he get it so green. I have to assume it was some kind of natural food dye, cause I can't imagine the chef using food coloring. Everyone seemed to like it. It was a combination of vanilla, cream and a touch of chocolate with rhubarb. So you had the textural component (crispy wafers), the creamy component (napoleon filling as well as the sorbet), the chocolate element, and the sourness of the rhubarb, which brought it to a more complex level. How can you go wrong, it's got something for everyone.





Wines:

D’Aupilhac Loui Maset, Languedoc 2014.  A red wine known for its fresh and crispy fruity notes, mainly of fresh red fruits such as raspberry and strawberry.

Bourgogne Aligote, Anne Boisson 2014. A white from the Meursault region known for it's citrus flavors (lime, grapefruit). This wine may not be for everyone, because it is very tart.








Parting sweets, of chocolate and a small madeleine. The chocolate truffle was a bittersweet chocolate that was melt in your mouth delicious. And, the madeleine was extremely moist. It went perfectly with the prune armagnac that was also given to us as a parting treat.





Chef de cuisine, Stéphane Pitre

Interestingly, for such a small restaurant the kitchen was staffed with the chef and 3-other staff members. Chef Pitre has worked at some very prestigious restaurants, including a Michelin starred restaurant. He also worked in London as well as Martinique and brought much knowledge and skill to his restaurant. I wouldn't be surprised if he's being considered for a Michelin star in the near future. In fact, while we were at lunch the CEO of  "Gault et Millau" quite a well known French restaurant guide in France was dining there. And, he introduced himself to our famous food blogger J., after all he is a celebrity in the food world.


SUMMARY

This restaurant is not for everyone, since it is a "tasting menu" and you won't know what's being served. I suppose you could call ahead of time, if you're a picky eater. This restaurant served excellent, well presented food. What was different for me from other restaurants was the finesse in which the dishes were served, and how the different flavors complimented each other. As I mentioned, it is a small restaurant and the tables are packed in so it got really noisy and difficult to converse when the restaurant filled up. The portions appeared small, but I'm not a big eater so for me it was filling enough. I did find one of the root vegetables a bit stringy, but aside from that, everything was delicious. And, the service was excellent. Would I go back, ABSOLUTELY.

For a 3-course lunch, 2-bottles of wine, 2-coffees and 1-tea our bill came to 210€ for 4-people. (Note: the prune Armagnac was complimentary)