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, November 5, 2017

L'HOTEL -- Restaurant Review


13 Rue des Beaux Arts, 75006
Tel:  01 44 41 99 00
Bus: 95/39 (Jacob)
Metro: Line 4 (Saint-Germain de Prés)
website: http://www.l-hotel.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+)


4.80 - Star......................................................€€€€......................................................... 1 - Bell


Last night was a special treat. It was our 40th anniversary and I thought let's do something special. So I made a list of restaurants that we've been wanting to try in Paris. We both selected L'Hotel, primarily because we live in Paris, we don't really care so much for the view when dining as we do about he food and ambiance. So, I made reservations, (Note: you must reconfirm a day before). The hotel has been around a long time and the restaurant has a Michelin star. I'm not impressed by Michelin stars, because I personally think there's a lot of politics that are involved, but that's another story altogether.



One word to describe the interior "romantic." As you enter you see a beautiful, well stocked bar tucked into an alcove. As you reach the restaurants you see big comfortable chairs, nicely spaced and there was a cute enclosed little courtyard as the main feature, very zen. It brought me back to fond memories of "Fleur de Lis" in San Francisco, at one time rated one the most romantic restaurants in the world. L'Hotel has been rated as one of the most romantic restaurants in Paris by several publications.


Notice how squished I am in the corner table with the wall to the side of me.
I turned for this picture, but my head was literally hitting the oddly placed lamp.
DO NOT get this table. Ask to move, if it is given to you.

I am very particular about where I sit at a restaurant, in my personal opinion, we got the worst table in the restaurant. I wanted to move, but Jack was comfortable and wanted to stay put. I was pushed back into a corner, next to this lamp that was more of an obstacle and I hit my head on it a couple of times, so I moved the table a tad. And, next to me was an oddly placed service table. Yet, later to find out the restaurant was not full, it did not start off well for me. And, this is the second time wherein we went to a Michelin starred restaurant and we got the worst table in the house? What's up with that? But I made the best of it.



AMUSE BOUCHE.  We started with a glass of champagne and Jack had a martini on the rocks, French martini, which is more like a vermouth. We were given some amuse bouches and I have to say, what a nice combinations of different flavors from savory, sweet, sour, so every sense in your mouth was literally tickled. A great start.

















They had a prix-fixe dinner tasting menu, chef's choice of either 5-courses (110€ or 155€ with 3-wines) or 7-courses (135€ or 190€ with 4-wines), and they had an option without meat or fish for 75€, which I assume is a vegetarian option. As most know, I'm not a big eater, so to keep the timing in sync for both of us we opted for the 5-course with 3-accompanying wines chosen by the sommelier. NOTE: They will ask if you are allergic to anything, so they can make adjustments to the menu.




1ST COURSE. Onion cold souflée. They weren't joking when they said it was onion. You could definitely taste the onion, but it wasn't overpowering. The anchovies were mild and the crisp shaved fried onion gave it a nice crunch. We both enjoyed it a lot. A simple refined light start dish.










2ND COURSE.  Loctudy crab – Yuzu mousse Sweet mustard, avocado. This was a beautifully presented dish. Atop the crab sat the thinnest most delicate sugar wafer you can imagine.  The sweetness actually brought the dish to the next level when paired with the sourness of the yuzu and made it a little more refined and sophisticated.  The crab meat was perfect and the dotted avocado with the yuzu was such a nice accompaniment. A+ for this dish.





3RD COURSE. Saint Pierre fish (John Dory) with spinach rolls. Another beautifully presented refined dish. The fish was perfectly cooked, very moist and the potato cannelles were actually cooked al-dente which gave it some firmness. I liked it cooked like that since it gave the dish some texture, was making a clear statement, and it was not mashed potatoes. The spinach was beautifully rolled into a cannelle shape. I'm not big on sour, but the potatoes were topped with a single pickled sour onion that Jack loved. Another well composed dish.



4TH COURSE. Ris de veau with butternut squash.  Loved the way the ris de veau was cooked. It was nice and crispy on the outside and the  interior was smooth and buttery. The accompanying "jus" (demi-glace) really complimented the dish. Underneath all of this there was a surprise. I thought it was a black grain of some sort, so I asked our wait-person and he said they were various mushrooms "riced". It was delicious and a great accompaniment.  Surprisingly the squash was raw, but thinly sliced. It was a great combination. Beautiful, executed well, and lots of different complimenting flavors.







PALETTE CLEANSER. Foam grape juice with Thai basil. Once the foam settled you got more of the grape juice flavor. To be honest, I really didn't taste the Thai basil, but the grape juice itself was a nice palette cleaners and a nice change from the more common lemon glace. So, it was a nice refreshing interlude.










Note: The wait-person did ask if we wanted a cheese course, at this point I was really, really full, so we opted not to.



5TH COURSE-DESSERT. Italian chocolate with ginger. As a general rule, I don't eat dessert, but I made an exception since our wait-person said it was very light and not overly sweet. He was right. It was one of the lightest, refined desserts I've ever had.

The chocolate was on the bottom and the ginger cream was sandwiched between a thin cookie wafer with a hard chocolate center at the bottom. The top was one of the thinnest cookie sugar wafers I've ever had. This was a hit, and may make me want to go back to eating sugar.



WINES: For the 3-main courses, the sommelier selected our wines.

1. Chablis Jean-Marc Brocard 2015. Jack doesn't typically like white wines, so it surprised me he liked this wine. This was served with our first courses. It's known for its tasting notes of spice, with mint and citrus fruit aromas.

2. Viognier Les Galets 2015. Another white that I liked, but Jack was not as impressed when compared to the first one. This wine is known for tasting notes of herbs, with aromas of chamomile, lavender, thyme and even a hint of pine.

3. Chapelle de Potens medoc 2011.  Jack loves medocs. Typically they're known for their assertiveness with very strong notes, but this particular vintage was much lighter. Typical tasting notes are black cherry and black chocolate; some oak, but this particular vintage was much lighter (as Jack assumed, and confirmed by the waiter, this cepage has a higher percentage of cabernet franc than other Medocs). We both enjoyed it a lot.

To end the meal, we had a degustif of grappa and calvados.





A parting gift of small wafer cookies.












SUMMARY

If you're looking for a small romantic, cozy restaurant then this is the restaurant for you. This restaurant sits maybe 30 people. The plushness and the interior design harkens back to the days when elegant dining was about the meal and ambiance, and the view secondary.  If I could describe the food in one word, it would be 'REFINED'. The food was beautifully presented and the simplicity as well as complex flavors was an exploration of the various tasting buds woken up in the mouth. The service was impeccable. I would've given this restaurant a perfect 5 rating, but my one big complaint was our table. I did not like being squashed in the corner with an oddly placed lamp and side service table (see photo). It felt cramped. They need to rethink using this table or redesigning that corner. Would we go back, IN A HEARTBEAT, but I will definitely ask for a nicer table.

For two people, 5-course meal with 3-accompanying wines, a bottle of water, 2-cocktails, 2-degustifs our bill came to 359€ or $418.

NOTE: A little history trivia: Oscar Wilde died in this hotel in 1900 and the room where he was a resident still exists. 












Wednesday, November 1, 2017

LE PETIT MARIUS -- Restaurant Review


6 Avenue George V 75008
 Tel: 01 40 70 11 76
Metro:  Line 9, 1 (Alma Marceau)
Open Daily


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......................................................€€......................................................... 4 - Bell

Our good friend Jay recommended we try Le Marius, since it recently changed hands. This restaurant is located in the 8eme, a known posh area and has been around a long time. Le Marius specializes in seafood, so if you're looking for a steak or pork chops, you're out of luck. As I mentioned,  the restaurant has been around a long time, and the reviews have been all over the board, but mostly average and/or not very favorable so we were curious.



The interior is nautically oriented and actually quite comfortable. It did get noisy as it filled up, to the point it became almost impossible to hear. In fact Jay's decibel reading registered 87, which is quite high and can be equated to an alarm clock going off or a disposal running.



As we pursued the specials of the day and their standard fare, we were given a tuna rillettes with toast, pas mal (not bad).












 The menu had a nice selection, but since I was having stomach issues I wanted nothing raw, and selected from their a-la-carte menu, Jack and Jay followed suit. Note, they did a lunch special of 27€ for 2-courses.


ENTRÉE

Note: Jack decided not to have an entrée

Poached egg in a cocotte. When it was first delivered I asked if I had ordered it, cause it didn't look like eggs at all, but I was reassured it was what I ordered.

I don't even know where to begin. The bowl looked like a bowl of cream with swirly potatoes. As I scooped my spoon into it I felt something hot and something cold, plus salt, lots of salt. It was so extremely salty that I thought maybe I just bit into a salty patch. As I continued it got saltier, but I did find the eggs. They were poached nicely, and there were mushrooms at the bottom. Basically half the dish had a covering of hardened egg whites topped with cream. I honestly could not finish the dish because it was so salty. And, I have a high tolerance to salt. So I just tried eating the yolk with bread.


Sautéed mushrooms with poached eggs. Jay ordered this dish, unfortunately, the picture did not come out, but it looked like it sounds. The dish was OK, nothing special, but one thing noteworthy, it was NOT salty. There were lots of mushrooms and 1-poached egg sat atop. From the looks of it, the egg was slightly over-cooked, so not as creamy as one would expect.


PLATS

Langoustine ravioli.  OK, I've heard of badly composed dishes, if I could give prizes to the worst composed dishes (presentation and taste), this dish would win. Where do I start? Let's start with the ravioli, ravioli skins were rubbery, the langoustine themselves were fine though, but what made this dish horrendous was the sauce.

The sauce was heavy, creamy, spicy, overly sweet. It hit every sensation all it once and not in a good way. Nothing was refined about it. It was like someone slapped you. One thing I will say, it wasn't salty.

Then to add garnishes of peas and cubed potatoes, what is this chef thinking. This dish was so busy and just so badly composed, the flavors were just not complimentary. I have to say in all my years in Paris, this wins as the worst dish I've ever had. It felt and looked like I threw up an Indian curry meal. Maybe it could be a Jackson Pollock painting.


Sole. Jay ordered the sole. And, I have to say this was pretty good. The skin was crispy and it actually had some flavor. It wasn't salty, a simple dish that was cooked perfectly. Although there were no accompanying vegetables, it did come with mashed potatoes that were pretty good.















Yellow Pollock (Lieu jaune basquaise).  Jack ordered this fish dish. The fish was nicely presented and, although perfectly cooked, the fish did have a "fishy" smell, hmm, I wonder how fresh it was. The sauce was mustardy which was a nice accompaniment to the dish. And, what was nice about the dish it came with lots of different vegetables. Jack thought it was a very good dish, and he would definitely have it again.









DESSERTS

Baked apple. I was afraid to order anything else and opted not to have my usual cheese. The two decided to share this dessert, topped with a raspberry sherbet with quince. It was good, nothing out of the ordinary; however, the quince flavor was undetectable.














WINES

A redemption for the meal I had, the wines were good.

Laroche La Chevaliere Chardonnay 2016 -- Known to have tasting notes of vanilla, smoke and hints of sweet spices such as clove and cinnamon. I really enjoyed this wine, and it does pair excellently with fish.

Laroche La Chevaliere Pinot Noir 2016 -- It was served quite chilled. I'm not a red wine person, but I have do say I do like a good pinot noir because of its lightness when compared to other red wines. And, this particular wine from Languedoc-Roussillon has some excellent pinot noir.  Known to have tasting notes of roses, fruits, black cherry, berry, and currant.


SUMMARY

Wow, this restaurant is all over the map. Out of the 5-savory dishes we had, two were absolutely horrendous and inedible, and guess who had them, yours truly, moi. The remaining three-dishes one was average, one above average and the other was excellent. We really gave this restaurant high hopes since it has new owners and a new chef. But we left very disappointed. I will say the one dish which I will never forget, and not in a good way, was my dish of langoustine ravioli. It looked like I threw up Indian curry, and some artists may think it looks like a Jackson Pollock painting. Would we return, ABSOLUTELY NOT!


For 2-entrees, 3-plats, 1-dessert, 2-bottles of wine, 2-coffees our bill came to 160€ or 53.33€ per person.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

LE ROCH RESTAURANT & BAR -- Restaurant Review


28 Rue Saint-Roch, 75001 Paris
Tel:  01 70 83 00 00
Metro: Line 1 Tuilleries
website: https://www.leroch-hotel.com/en/

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+)


3.50 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell


My good French friend invited me to lunch since we have not caught up since I left for Malaysia 3-weeks earlier. He selected the restaurant, but it was the first time for both of us. He too is very much into food and will soon be embarking in a career in the food industry.

The Restaurant is part of the "Le Roch Hotel & Spa" which is a boutique hotel located in the 1er arrondissement. As you entered it had a really homey comfortable feel. In fact, it was pretty much in full view of the waiting area and part of the hotel reception, but it didn't feel out of place. They had outside seating and a large sunroof with a terrace surrounding the sunroof with tables for al-fresco dining in the warmer months.


We perused the menu, it was a simple menu, but a nice variety. This hotel is also known for their cocktails, but I'm always leery of cocktails in Paris, since they're not known for making good cocktails and have a tendency to be outrageously expensive. Although they did not have "dirty martini" on their menu, I asked our server if they can make it. He said yes, and if I didn't like it I could return it. So I had a dirty martini and my friend had a margarita.

We waited and waited for our cocktails, but they never came, so we just ignored it. Then our server came and took our order, still no drinks. Finally when the entrée was served we got our cocktails, and also not  too much later than that we ordered our wine to go with our meal. So, not a great start. When the drinks arrived, I asked our waiter why there weren't any olives in my martini, he explained that the olives had large pits and could not be skewered, so he gave me a small bowl of them instead. Despite the rough start, I do have to say the dirty martini was one of the best I've had in Paris to date.


ENTRÉE

Slow cooked egg. I love eggs, especially poached eggs. The egg was perfectly poached and sat atop a puree of pumpkin, and for added flavoring had shaved parmesan cheese. And, for texture it also had some croutons. In its simplicity it was a simple good start.











Smoked beef filet carpaccio. My friend had the carpaccio.  Another favorite dish that I love because of its simplicity. However, I had never seen carpaccio served with hazelnuts. It was different, but I kind of liked the added texture. I expected the meat to be pretty smoky and cooked, but it was perfect. It was smoked enough where it didn't cook the meat, but also imparted a subtle smokiness. It was a delicious starter. I thought the only thing they could've added was some lemon wedges.







PLATS

Bonito Fish. Bonito fish is usually known as a flavoring agent such as by-product bonito flakes because of its distinct fish flavor. So the whole fish is not for everyone since it has a strong distinct flavor. I happen to like it. I thought the fish was perfectly cooked and very tasty. It's an oily fish, so that helped with the moisture. I usually think of adding pickled vegetables to rich or very "greasy" food like in BBQ, to cut down on the fat, but not to fish, strangely enough. I did, however, like the pickled cauliflower and broccoli served with the fish. It was a good dish.




Chicken. My friend had the young farm chicken. I took a taste of the chicken, and I do have to say the chicken was perfectly cooked. It was extremely moist and delicious. The accompanying fall vegetables was a nice accompaniment and the different flavored "jus" added a nice flavoring without the added fats. Overall a very good dish.









Wines: We had the house wines, which I'm not really sure what they were, but I had a glass of white and my friend a glass of red.

DESSERTS: We opted not to have desserts, since I, in particular, was sugared out from the day before from my friend's birthday party.


SUMMARY

Overall, I thought it was a very good restaurant, definitely above average. The atmosphere and location was perfect. I actually don't mind slow service because I like long leisurely meals, but the timing of when we got our cocktails and our entrée at the same time was definitely a miss. Therefore, I knocked down a few points from my rating. Otherwise, with the exception of the cocktails mishap, the service that followed was excellent. As for the food, nothing out of the ordinary, but the execution and flavors were very good. Would we go back, ABSOLUTELY. Can't wait to go in warmer weather and be able to dine al-fresco.

With 1 prixe-fix lunch at 31€, an entrée/plat ordered a-la-carte, a bottle of water, 2-cocktails, 2-glasses of wine, and one coffee our bill came to 156€ or 78€.

Friday, October 27, 2017

LA BAUHINIA, Shangri-La -- Restaurant Review


10 Avenue d'Iéna, 75116 Paris
Phone: 01 53 67 19 98
Metro 6 & 9 Trocadero
website: http://www.shangri-la.com/paris/shangrila/dining/restaurants/la-bauhinia/

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+)


4.50 - Star......................................................€€€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

Note: In the above € rating, it would've been €€€ without alcohol.

It was one of my best friend's birthday and I wanted to organize something special.  This restaurant is located in the Shangri-La Hotel, and houses some Michelin starred restaurants such as "Shang Palace" and "L'Abeille." I have several friends tell me skip the two, they're expensive and just not worth the money and go to "La Bauhinia" instead. Good advise.

They have a very eclectic menu, so I was really looking forwarded to trying it. They have a mix of French and Asian dishes. For lunch you can have a special prix-fixe 3-courses for 58€ which was either a set menu of the French dishes, or a choose your own from most of the Asian dishes. The dishes are marked with the following.


These markings were perfect, especially since one of our friends is vegetarian.

Note: I'm only reviewing the dishes that I had.


ENTRÉE

Laksa, Indonesia.  Although Indonesia was listed next to the soup, I'm assuming the recipe the chef uses is from Indonesia, because Laksa is a soup that originated in Malaysia "Nonya cuisine" which is a melange of Chinese/Malaysian food. Ironically, I just got back from Malaysia not even 3-weeks ago and I was curious to taste Chef Moret's version. Keep in mind there are many types of laksa depending on the region.

Off the bat, the plating of the soup was much more elegant. As for taste, all the basic flavorings of the laksa  were there, but not as aggressive as in Malaysia or other countries that I've had it. And, it had a little kick, I wished it had more, but this is France, so spicy heat would be too aggressive for many French. There were a few bits of rice noodles at the bottom of the bowl, so it was more about the broth then the "bulk."  However, I thought the dish was excellent.



PLATS 

Matsaman curry, Thailand. This is probably one  of my most favorite curries. The name Matsaman actually originated from Muslims in Thailand, it was originally called "Mussulman" which means Muslim. For me the one ingredient that I love the most in this curry are the peanuts, cause I love peanuts.

This was a chicken curry, which was the original protein used and most common. I thought the sauce was excellent. Not as refined in its presentation nor plating as in the laksa soup, but what it had was a lot of flavor. The chef used chayote as a vegetable and some fried shallots to give it a little crunch. Although I could have it hotter (spicier), it was overall a well composed dish.

The accompanying rice I loved. It had a little heat and a little sweetness. I'm pretty sure it was flavored a little bit with annatto, otherwise known as Achiote which imparts a bright orange/yellow color and the flavor profile is mostly "nutty," but primarily it is used as a coloring agent. It was a great accompaniment.


DESSERTS 

"Exotic fruit." I decided after all the rich flavors, and although the cheese plate, which I would normally order  was offered, I thought it would be offensive to the meal that I just had if I ate cheese, so I ordered the mixed fresh fruit.

I'm not exactly sure why it was considered exotic, but overall I thought the freshness and the little touches of gold leafing was nice.












"MIGNARDISE" 

As I mentioned, this luncheon was for my friend's birthday. I had prearranged for them to make something special and put a candle on top. Well they went above and beyond and gave us the whole kit and caboodle with the mignardise. We had mousses, cakes, fruit, it was such a wonderful collection and variety it was overwhelming. Obviously it was just way too much for us. All delicious.



Wines:
NOTE: I was so loving the ambience et.al. I forgot to find out what champagnes and wines we had.



SUMMARY

I discovered this restaurant from several recommendations from friends.  The Shangri-La hotel is beautiful and houses 2-michelin starred restaurants. But La Bauhinia caught my attention because of their eclectic menu, especially since I had just arrived from Malaysia. The service was beyond reproach. It wasn't one of those stuffy hotel restaurants where the wait-staff are so stiff that if they bent the wrong way they'd crack. We had a wonderful time with our waiter, and more importantly, the atmosphere lent itself to be able to naturally enjoy the food and the setting. However, some of my companions thought the food could've been more assertive/aggressive, which I agree. But then again, look at who their customer base is. Otherwise, overall it was delicious. Would we go back absolutely.

For five people, we ordered 3-course prix-fixe menus, 4-coups de champagne, 1-martini, 1-bottle of white wine, 2-glasses of red wine and a large bottle of water, our bill came to 545€ or 109€ per person, so this was not an inexpensive meal. The prices shot up because the wines are very expensive. Therefore, if you don't drink it would be less expensive. Bottom line, I thought it was worth it.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Louis -- Restaurant Review


23 Rue de la Victoire
Tel: 01 55 07 86 52
Metro: Line 12 (Notre dame de Lorette)
Closed Saturday and Sunday
website: 
http://www.louis.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+)


4.50 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell


It's been a while since I've done a restaurant review, because we pretty much were traveling for the whole summer and most of the fall. But we're back and not even a week back we went restaurant tasting. This restaurant is one of my friend J's favorite restaurant, surprisingly, we have never been before.



It's a very small restaurant and very intimate. In fact, there's probably only seating for maybe about 22-people. It was very cozy, because of it's small size, it did get a bit noisy at times, but overall a wonderful cute little interior.




The menu is a tasting menu. So you have to let the restaurant know in advance if you have any allergies or any diet restrictions.  We all opted for the 3-course lunch, which was very heavy on seafood.



AMUSE BOUCHE. When our amuse bouche arrived, I actually had to ask if it was our entrée, because there was quite a bit of tasting morsels that I had not expected.

From left to right: There was a toast with a dollop of aubergine, which was excellent. A parmesan wafer topped with grapefruit, and lastly a meringues topped with beets. All a great differences in flavors and a nice introduction of what is to come.




BONUS ENTRÉE. Next we had a "bonus" entrée, which was a raw scallop that sat atop a slightly smoked earthy greens. J is a good customer and has been there many times so this was an extra for our table. We were advised to "whiff" the aroma of the earthy greens, then the scallop was placed atop of a gelée of what I assumed was the jus of the scallop. A very simple dish that hit the sense of smell and taste. For me it was a hit and I don't even like scallops.





ENTRÉE. The main entrée was another scallop dish, but served warm. The scallop was slightly seared and served atop spaghetti leeks in a light cream. Interestingly the scallop dish was sprinkled with a "vegetarian caviar" which I had never heard or tasted before. I assumed it would be seaweed grapes, but they were actually black and a little larger than a sesame, that had a slight moistness in the center. Overall a very good dish served with a slice of toast.






PLATS.  For our main dish we had a white fish unknown to me called Carrelet fish, a flat white fish. It was slightly poached and sat atop a bed of artichoke hearts with a long shaved fresh raw white radish topped with red radishes.  Finally it was poured with a jus of radish, but very mild. So the the juxtaposition of something warm, something raw, and something citrusy was a great hit.






CHEESE COURSE.  Only JJ had the cheese course. It was a combination of blue cheese, camembert and a basque sheep cheese; all excellent choices.



















DESSERTS. For our desserts we had a combination of different flavors. First we had a lemon tart, and boy was it tart. So for you lemon lovers you'll be in heaven, cause I know the people at our table loved it.  Secondly we had a dashi sorbet. Normally when I think of dashi it's usually made from shrimp or bonito flakes, but this was either made with shiitake, seaweed or a combo cause I tasted no fish. It sat atop of what I thought was dried cream. And, lastly raspberry and a caramelized cream. Overall all a nice combo of sweet, savory and citrus.




"MIGNARDISE" (parting sweets). We had small morsels of very flavorful pistachio cakes and the most chocolatey truffles that were basically thick ganache, but served atop of raw cocoa. Delicious.














WINES: We had a Chinon, which I neglected to take a picture of, and also a Domaine des Pothiers.

Chinon. Cabernet Franc characterized by a medium-bodied red wine with tasting notes of savory, bell pepper-like flavors, medium-high acidity and mouthwatering taste.

Domaine de Pothiers. Known for his fresh tasting notes of  red-fruit and candied aromas,









And, if that wasn't enough, Chef Stephane Pitre brought out a brand new bottle that weighed more than I do as a parting drink for J and lucky us, "Eau de vie Prunes" a very strong tasty digestif.


SUMMARY

What a great experience. The chef made the food so all your sensory sensations could be tickled. The sights of the food, along with the smells and combined flavors of sweet, savory, salty and citrusy was a big hit for me. The 3-course menu was big on seafood, but they did have the 5-course which included fowl. But I felt very satisfied with all the seafood. Would we go back absolutely.

With 3-course lunch, 2-bottles of wine, 2-white glasses of wine, 3-coffees our bill came to 275€ for 4 people or 68.75€ each.

Friday, September 1, 2017

FLOW -- Restaurant Review



4, Porte des Invalides 
tel: 01 44 05 39 60
Opened: Tuesday-Saturday
Metro: Invalides (8/13), Assembles National (12)
Website: http://www.flow-paris.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+)


3.50 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell



We've been having some very warm, sunny days in Paris, so I thought of this restaurant, since I wasn't too far from there about a week ago for a picnic. And, they have a lovely outdoor bar atop the floating barge. Unfortunately, the day we went it was cloudy and misty so the upper deck was closed. Oh well.



From the restaurant you get a very close view of one of the premiere and most beautiful landmarks of Paris, "Pont Alexandre III," and from a not too far distance the Eiffel Tower. Overall, the view was spectacular. And, you're literally on the water. At one time I made a comment that I was a little dizzy, until someone reminded me we were floating on water.



The interior was lovely. There was a huge bar in the center, and tables all facing the window. It was about the view and not so much the decor of the interior.


We perused the menu (refer to their website for their menu), and there was some confusion at first since many of the menus had various expired dates on them, but then our wait-person said they were the same items, although that was not really true. I'm gonna review what I had, since there was 7 of us and we pretty much all had the same thing. The lunch menu had a prix-fixe menu, 2-courses at 26€, and 3-courses at 32€. Very reasonable.




ENTRÉE:  Autour de la pomme de terre, salad de vitelotte, tuiles et sa glace pomme de terre. (Purple potato, with tuiles and ice potato). What a great start, the potato salad was delicious. It had a nice freshness with the lemon and some of the greens. What I didn't like about the salad, more a personal taste, I didn't particular care for the "ice cream" of potato. That was too cold to contrast with the already very cold salad. But then again, maybe if it was warmer weather, it would've been refreshing.






PLATS:  Peche du jour, piment doux vegetal.  (Fish of the day with fresh sweet pepper). The fish of the day was "filet de lieu" which is a pollock. It was pretty large and very tasty and moist. It was accompanied with a stuffed smoked chili pepper, my guess it was stuffed with bulgar pilaf. It was a great accompaniment. No fault with this dish. Simple, fresh, and tasty.








DESSERT: Assiette de fromages. (Assortment of cheese). The cheese selection was fabulous. Had some semi-hard cow cheese of comté, an aged chèvre, morbier and creamy brie. Overall, it was a nice contrast in cheese flavors. A hit.












WINES: They had a nice collection of wines. But we ordered the less expensive house rosé. I was so overwhelmed with the view and conversation that I forgot to take a photo. But it was a lighter, wetter rosé from Provence that went well with our meal.


SUMMARY:

Location, location, location. Yep, it's all about the view. The interior of the restaurant is lovely, but no beating that view. The service was excellent, and what I perceived to be a kitschy tourist restaurant was actually not. Well I suppose it would be in the middle of tourist season. The food was very good. Nothing out of the ordinary, but definitely above average. Would we go back, absolutely. I'd love to have a drink at the top of the barge on a warm sunny day to just soak up the beauty of the vistas.

There were 7 of us. Some had 2-courses, some of us at 3-courses. And, with 2-bottle of wine the bill came to about 50€ per person. Not bad.