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)!

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)





Friday, March 3, 2017

L'Archeste -- Restaurant Review


79, rue de la Tour
Tel: + 33 1 40 71 69 68
Metro: Rue de la Pompe (line 9). Passy (line 6)
Closed Sundays-Mondays, and  Saturdays only for dinner
Website: http://www.archeste.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+)

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


Our good friend recommended a restaurant close to where she lives in the 16eme. It's relatively new, opening in September 2016. And, in fact the restaurant was recently awarded a Michelin star. Surprisingly, despite the win the restaurant prices have not changed.




The Chef, Yoshiaki Ito was the head Chef of Hiramatsu Paris. A popular Japanese restaurant, which has since closed. The restaurant interior clearly was definitely influenced by the chef's Japanese heritage. The restaurant has clear lines, simple and uncluttered. You can definitely see and feel the Japanese sensibility.

The restaurant has 2-choices for lunch. Lunch =  39€ for 3-courses;  56€ for 5-courses.  Diner =
98€ 7-courses. It is a tasting menu, but they will ask you if you are allergic to anything. I told them I didn't eat sugar and they easily accommodated me and others with a plate of cheese for dessert. We all opted for the 3-course lunch special. I'm glad we didn't get the 5-course tasting menu, because we were quite full after 3-courses.


AMUSE BOUCHE.  A foam of haddock with rice. You could definitely taste the fish and it was very light. It was a pop of flavors versus substance. And, it had a little bite afterwards. My guess it was espelette. Overall, we loved this little spoonful of deliciousness.












ENTRÉE

OCTOPUS. OMG, this had to be my favorite dish. The octopus was so tender and succulent. I definitely could taste some Asian influence in the marinate of the octopus, a sort of sweet soy sauce. The octopus was served with mini-potatoes, and an aioli topped with some frisée. This was not only beautiful but the combination of flavors was a hit.




PLATS



As I mentioned, this restaurant just won a Michelin star. But this did not go to Chef Ito's head. He actually came out and poured the demi-glace for us at our table. There's nothing pretentious about this restaurant.


VEAL.  For our main course we had the veal with brussel sprouts and charred sweet potato strip, shaved mushrooms and a beautiful tasty demi-glace. I could've just drank the sauce. The veal was very tender. It's deceiving because it looks like a small dish, but in actuality, you got two very nice pieces of veal. The dish was flavored with black salt. Salt can be used as a flavoring agent, but for some it might be a bit salty. I happened to like that the chef used it as a seasoning, rather than "just salt." Excellent dish.







DESSERTS

THREE SELECTIONS OF CHEESES. What a nice selection of cheese. We had a Camembert and two aged cow cheeses. They were delicious. The accompanying bread was also good. Crunchy exterior with a soft tender well developed yeast bread.










VANILLA ICE CREAM. The folks that had this said the ice cream was very, very creamy. And, it was accompanied with passion fruit, which I don't see that often in Paris and topped with a crispy tuile. Nice combination of different textures, sweetness and sourness from the passion fruit.







At the end of our meal, were given a little cake and the chocolate truffles. I broke my no sugar rule and decided to try the chocolate truffles. OMG, it was heaven. It was soft gooey creamy interior encased in a hard chocolate shell, rolled in cocoa. Once you took a bite it literally exploded with chocolatey goodness.  The little cake was also a hit. I dream of having that chocolate goodness again.




WINES

Saint Nicolas Les Clous -- Thierry Michon.  The wines were relatively expensive. This is a chardonnay and is known for its high acidity, honeyed aromas,  green-apple flavors, often with a hint of hazelnut.

Chateau Beau-site -- Saint-Estèphe
2010. A red wine from the Bordeaux region. Characterized by  Intense purple-bluish crimson. Concentrated nose of ripe red and black fruits with a hint of oak in the background. On the palate, dense stuffing, refined tannins and a robust, fairly warm whole with a good framework. (description from tasting notes)









SUMMARY

Kudos to Chef Ito for winning a Michelin star for 2017. It's a small restaurant, my guess is there are less than 30-seats. But the tables were nicely spaced so it didn't feel like you were on top of each other.  This is an affordable Michelin starred restaurant. It's an unpretentious restaurant that also serves unpretentious simple food, but packed with tons of flavor. The one complaint that I had was that once it filled up, the noise level went up. Probably because there were plenty of surfaces for noise to bounce around. My friend said she had gone there for dinner and it was not as noisy. The service is excellent, but unrushed. We were there for 2 1/2 hours. So, if you're in a hurry, this is not a place to for you. But if you want a nice leisurely meal, then this is the place for you. Would we go back. ABSOLUTELY!

For 5-prix-fixe menus, 2-bottles of wine our meal came to 282€ or 56.40 each.