|L'Art culinaire de Saint-Germain "AG"|
2 rue Clément 75006
Metro line #4 Odeon
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 (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)
4 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell
I fell in love with the 6eme arrondissement when we first moved to Paris in 2008, but lately, we've not gone because we sometimes find the area too touristy for our liking, favoring the more "local" neighborhoods. There's a reason this area is sometimes known as "Little America", but I have to say, I'm glad we came, what a find.
The restaurant was highly recommended by our good friend J. It's been open for about a year. This was his 3rd visit. Ironically, it's on the same block as a soup kitchen. Here is one of the wealthiest areas of Paris and you have a soup kitchen near by. Very surreal, I almost felt guilty.
The interior is very simple, but cozy. As you entered, there is a small bar and from what I could see they also served cocktails, not a huge selection, but I'm sure it would satisfy most American customers desire to start off with a cocktail.
We perused the menu. It's not an extensive menu, but as many of my readers know, I like small menus. I'm always leery of restaurants with a large menu. My philosophy is having few choices allows you to do each dish perfectly, in theory. And, for 28€ for an entrée, plat and dessert, this is a very reasonably priced restaurant for the "Saint Germain" area. There were 4 of us and we were able to sample everything on the menu.
As we entered we were given morsels of what looked like black tiny cookies. In actuality they were morsels of parmesan. There is a belief that cheese is a palette cleanser. I wasn't that fond of it, since it was a little bit dry for my liking, but hey, that's parmesan for you.
Our amuse bouche was wonderful. It was a refreshing cream of celery with chives and a dollop of olive oil. Great start.
Oeuf parfait, petits pois à la mente, radis noir pickles (Egg parfait, peas with mint, black radish pickles). I thought the fois gras was a nice entrée, but this was absolutely superb. The creamy peas was delicious and the mint gave it another level of complexity. It sounds heavy, but it was actually very light and refreshing. This was a hit with all of us.
"nastarium" leafs typically found in Australia.
Steak d'espadon céleri en deux texture, rhubarbe (Swordfish steak celery with two textures, rhubarb). This dish was beautifully presented, and although the fish was perfectly cooked, it was under-seasoned, so we asked for salt. However, the menu was a little misleading. We were wondering where the rhubarb was, so we asked the waiter. He said the rhubarb was incorporated into the celery mixture, it must've been faintly incorporated. The celery was a bit sour for my liking, but I'm thinking the sourness may have come from the rhubarb. I think they should change the description on the menu. Regardless, it was a delicious dish.
Tarte chocolat façon "AG" fruits exotiques (Chocolate tarte ala "AG" and exotic fruits). This dish reminded me of a forest of fruit that lead to the big surprise, sort of like the "yellow brick road" leading the way to the chocolate tart and mousse. The tart itself was sandwiched with some nice fresh fruit. Our friend said the chocolate was rich and delicious.
Cheese platter was great. Had a nice variety from a light chevre, to a very strong roquefort with a dollop of apple chutney. No complaints here.
And, when we thought all was said in done, when we ordered coffee, our coffee was accompanied by financiers and different textures of loose chocolate which included rice crispy-like chocolates. My favorite was the coco powdered nuts, which I finished single-handedly.
Although I'm neither French nor Parisian, I feel like a local. So I try to avoid touristy areas, preferring local off the beaten path restaurants/bistros. The 6eme and the 7eme arrondissements is sometimes known as "Little America" for a reason. But what a find. This restaurant serves delicious, BEAUTIFULLY presented dishes and for the area which is known to be very "chi-chi" the prices were very, very reasonable; 3-courses for 28€. They used edible flowers and micro-leafs such as "nasturtium leaves" with the latter not commonly used in France, but it did not distract from the meal. In fact, it gave it a touch of elegance. My favorite dishes were the pea sauce on JJ's entrée, and for the plat, definitely the veal. The service is excellent. Typical of France, you all begin your meal when everyone is served. And, because they made in error in giving us all the same entrée, our waiter said enjoy it and we'll bring you your desired entrée as well, so that way we would not have to wait and can all commence at the same time, thumbs up for that. With 2-bottles of a Bordeaux, 2-glasses of Sancerre blanc, and 3 coffees our bill came to 177€ for 4-people. Would I come back, in a heartbeat!