"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)!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cézembre -- Restaurant Review

17 Rue Gregoire de Tours,
75006 Paris
tel: +33 9 67 57 25 08
Metro: Odeon (line 4)
(check website for operating hours)
Website: http://www.cezembrerestaurant.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+)

4.25- Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

It's been a while since I've done a review, because I've been traveling. As soon as we hit town, a good friend recommended this restaurant, so off we went running. It's in the 6eme (Saint Germain de Près).

It's on a side street and it's a relatively small restaurants. It's a long restaurant with tables located on both sides. Let's say a very intimate restaurant.

The Chef de Cuisine is Anthony Hamon who hails from Brittany and Cézembre is actually a small uninhabited island off St Malo.  Although the menu changes daily, his influence comes from Breton and superbly sourced and served.

The menu changes daily. I like that. There basically is not an a la carte menu. However, the waiter did say that if we were allergic to anything, to let him know and they could alter the menu for us. However, you did have a choice of either a fish dish or a chicken dish for your main.

I asked if I could replace a cheese plate for the sugary dessert, unfortunately, they did not have a cheese plate so I chose to forgo dessert.

Although they did not have an a la carte menu per se, the Chef does offer a 6-course tasting menu for 45€ which we all agreed would just be too much food for us.

SCALLOPS:  The scallops was our entrée. It was small dish, but punched with a lot of different strong flavors but not overwhelming. There were what I believed was a creamy herbal sauce. We overwhelmingly loved this tasty dish.

COD:  We all opted for the cod as our plat (main). This fish was perfectly cooked. and the accompanying sauces was a nice touch to the dish.  The dish was accompanied with mushrooms, carrots and cut string beans. What I liked about the dish all the components complimented each other, and the beans were cooked al-dente, which I loved.  The bed of risotto it sat on was also extremely delicious, again cooked to perfection, al-dente, and although I'm not a fan of foam, this was light and actually made the dish cohesive.

PEACH: I must confess I did have a little taste of the dessert. It was extremely light. A peach encased in a sorbet with a light foamed cream. Everyone loved the dish, because it was not only refreshing, not overly sweet, and light.

WINES: We ordered a bottle of  "Thierry Germain, Domaine des roches Neuves, Saumur Champigny". We debated whether we should get a white or red. Since some in the group don't drink white the waiter recommended this wine with our fish. It's a 100% Cabernet franc and goes well with seafood because it smells of red and black fruit. Light with a nice after sensation.


What a hidden gem in the 6eme, otherwise known as the "Saint Germain de Près" area of Paris, a more upscale neighborhood without the upscale prices as reflected in this restaurant. The prix-fixe for 2-courses is 24€, and for 3-courses 28€. There was absolutely no pretensions about this restaurant. It was simple, straight forward delicious food beautifully presented and packed full of flavors. I did read some reviews from Americans wherein they thought the portions were too small; I thought they were perfect, but then again I am not a big eater. I did notice that every single one of us sopped up the delicious sauces with our bread, that's always a good sign.

The menu does change regularly depending on what's seasonal. The waiter was extremely efficient, and he spoke perfect English, he took time to explain each dish and the nuances of the wines in both languages.  Would we go back? ABSOLUTELY. Go before people discover this gem.

For three 3-courses, one 2-courses, a bottle of wine, a glass of white wine and bottle water our bill came to 155€ for 4-people.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Le Mesturet -- Restaurant Review

77, rue de Richelieu 75002
Open for lunch and dinner 7/7
Tél. 01 42 97 40 68 
E-mail: contact@lemesturet.com
website: http://www.lemesturet.com/
Metro: Bourse

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

I was looking for a restaurant close to a hotel by the L'Opéra where a family member was staying. I chose this restaurant randomly and knew very little about it, other than what I read online and the reviews looked favorable.  It's very close to one of my favorite tapas restaurants "A.Noste"

It was a Friday night, and it was pretty well packed in. A lot of tourist and some locals sprinkled around, common in this part of town. They certainly knew how to squeeze a lot of people in the restaurant. It was quite noisy and warm inside. We perused the menu and it had very traditional French classic dishes. They had a prix-fixe menu, 2-courses for 26€ and 3-courses for 31.50€, very, very reasonable.


Aubergine grillée à la tomate et chèvre frais de chez Lethielleux. (Grilled eggplant with tomato and fresh goat cheese).  This was my favorite entrée of the evening. A very simple grilled eggplant with the right mixtures of sweet, salty and sour and some melted goat cheese. A simple good dish, but nothing out of the ordinary.  It was under-seasoned but had a very nice dressing.

Terrine de Couchon. (Pork terrine).  I don't think I've had a more greasy and gristly terrine since moving to Paris. It was not good. First bite I took was an edible piece of cartilage. Second bite I took was the rubbery inedible part of the skin. To add insult to injury the greasy terrine left a greasy film on my palate.  The only redeeming quality of this dish was the accompanying sour salsa, I suppose to cut the greasiness.  And, the sprinkling of cayenne or espellette, I suppose to mask the blandness of the terrine. Definitely a bad choice.


Blanquette de veau à l’ancienne, riz pilaf et petits oignons. (Veal stew cooked in the old style, pilaf rice and onions).  This is an old style traditional French dish. Although overall an average dish, the dish was overwhelmingly under-seasoned. I couldn't stop salting and sprinkling pepper on the dish to give it some flavor. They also had some dijon mustard on the table, and I added that too. With the addition, it was more to my liking, but overall just an average nothing dish. I now know why they had salt and pepper and mustard on the table.

Tête de veau roulée sur la langue, sauce gribiche , légumes vapeur.  (Calf's head accompanied with a typical gribiche sauce and steamed vegetables).  Another classic French dish. It was an average good dish, but it's not a WOW dish.  This dish was once again extremely under seasoned and needed salt and pepper.  And as with so many French dishes, the vegetable were just for color (eg 2 string beans and 3 small carrot bits) and not for accompaniment. 

Filet mignon.  This was best dish of all the three. The filet was cooked perfectly (medium rare) and accompanied by a terrine of potato and zucchini. Aha, this dish was actually seasoned well. The sauce actually had some flavor. It was a rich demi-glace. And, the side dish was a nice accompaniment. Overall a good dish, but nothing out of the ordinary.


Charlotte et café gourmand.  A charlotte is a type of trifle or "french tiramisu". As typical of a charlotte, this was encased in a sponge cake. The trifle in this case was flavored with raspberry. Although good it was nothing out of the ordinary.

The café gourmand had a chocolate fondant cake, a chocolate mousse and a sweet buttery cake. Although it didn't look real pretty, they were all quite good and tasty, but again nothing out of the ordinary.


The restaurant is in a great location, close to L'Opera and "Little Tokyo" (Rue Saint-Anne area). The restaurant is small, but very well packed in. The menu features classical French dishes. The grilled eggplant was good, the filet mignon was good and the desserts were good. The veal dishes were extremely under-seasoned, and my pork terrine was pretty disgusting.  On the other-hand the service was excellent. What I found interesting is they kept changing our carafe of water every few minutes or so to insure we had chilled water.  The maitre'd and our wait-person were extremely efficient and warm and inviting. It was a Friday night, but I found the noise level extremely bad. It truly was difficult to carry on a conversation.

Overall, we found the food just so underwhelming. Would we go back, probably not. For 3-people we had 3-entrées, 3-plats, 2-desserts, and 3-glasses of wine, our bill came to 103.40€.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Le Pario -- Restaurant Review

54 Av. Emile Zola 75015 Paris
Hours: Every day
12h - 14h00 / 19h - 22h00
Reservations by phone or online: Tel : 01 45 77 28 82/ resto.pario@gmail.com
Metro: Line 10 (Charles Michels)
Website: http://www.restaurant-lepario.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 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 1 - Bell

with regards to noise level, we had a private room)

I usually have lunch on Wednesdays with a group of close friends. On this particular day, I told my friends I needed to be near the 16eme since I would be visiting a friend at the hospital close by. My friend recommended this restaurant, in fact near my home, that she'd been to and really enjoyed it.

I made reservations on "La Forchette" the French version of "The Fork" in the US. I had to change it twice because the number of people changed.  So, when we arrived, it appeared that there was confusion about our reservations and they did not have it. None-the-less, they were able to accommodate all 9 of us. In fact upstairs there's a private room, enough to accommodate a dozen people, easily, and that's the room we had. Great for "noisy" Americans.

As typical of most restaurants, they had a "prix-fixe" lunch with actually looked very interesting. I decided, as half of us did, we would go for this menu. The prices were very reasonable.  This review only covers the prix-fixe menu, but those that ordered à la carte also raved about their food.

After sitting and perusing the other choices on the regular menu, we had a nice "amuse bouche" of pâte à choux (a pastry used to make profiteroles) stuffed with ham and cheese. Very tasty, and a nice start to what was to follow.

ENTRÉE: Raviolis de châtaigne et marrons, écrasé de gambas et girolles, velouté de potiron (Chestnut ravioli, mashed prawns and mushrooms, cream of pumpkin). We all agreed this dish was delicious. Originally, when the waiter was pouring the cream soup over our raviolis, I forgot what type of soup it was and asked him, he said lobster. I think he was confused, cause it was definitely pumpkin. He may have thought I was asking him about the ingredients, after-all there was crushed prawns. I do have to say there was a nice little surprise in the soup, there were a spoonful of chopped sweet beets. This added a nice sweet note to the savory dish and paired well the other ingredients. I will say though, the soup was under-seasoned, then I realized we were given "truffle salt" to sprinkle atop. The truffled salt made a huge difference to the flavor profiles and brought it to a whole other level. DELICIOUS!

PLATS:  Pressé de cochon confit parfumé au romarin fine mousseline de patate douce (Pressed pork confit flavored with rosemary with a fine mousse of  sweet potatoes).  I love anything pork. And, this dish actually reminded me of the Chinese pressed duck dish, but only with pork. There were a lot of textural elements to this dish. With the crunchy skin and the moist meat interior. We did, however, agree that although the dish was delicious it could've used more sauce, since the exterior was coated with a bread crumb and without the sauce it could be dry. None-the-less a simple confit that hit all the textural and tasting notes.

DESSERTS: Clafoutis a la pêche (Peach Clafoutis).  Clafoutis is a thick flan-like batter, very eggy and is typically made with cherries. And, during cherry season, this desserts can easily be found throughout France. I did not have it, but opted for a substitution of cheese. Those that did have loved the dish.

Since I do not eat desserts, as I've said before, you can't go wrong with cheeses in France. I had a nice combination of chevre and some aged hard cheeses.

WINES: Domaine de la grange, Le clos Mabille, corsé.  Described as a fine wine with structure and distinguished by its deep garnet color. It smells like ripe fruit (cherries) highlighted by violets, well balanced with generous body and silky tannins. Ideal with meat sauces.

SUMMARY:  As I've said before, there are a lot of "un-sung" heroes in the food world that are from different countries, and bring a lot of their influences into French cuisine. They are changing the Parisian culinary landscape exponentially. Chef Eduardo Jacinto hails from Brazil, but worked for such luminaries as Chef Christian Constant. The restaurant is located in my neck of the woods, and not typically a tourist destination. It's more of a neighborhood restaurant.  Its a 2-story restaurant. It has a cozy ground level area for dining and I was impressed that they had a large room to accommodate large parties (a dozen or more) on the 2nd floor. What impressed me was as the waiter was about to pour wine into my friends glass, he noticed there was a spot and immediately changed it out. Very impressive, since this is not a "high-end" restaurant and as I mentioned, a more neighborhood restaurant. The only service fault we had was when we were served the soup, they forgot our spoons, but it's a wash, since they did change out spotty wine glasses.

The food was excellent. All courses on the prix-fix menu were perfectly executed. Over-all service was excellent, even with the one mishap (spoons). The price point is excellent as well. There were 9 of us, and we ordered off the menu as well as ordered the prix-fixe lunch. So, the average price per person is a little skewed, my guess it was roughly around 35-40€ per person with 9 entrées, 9 plats, 8 desserts, 2-bottles of wine and 4 soft drinks.

Would we go back, ABSOLUTELY!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Champeaux -- Restaurant Review

Forum des Halles La Canopée 75001 Paris
Phone: 01 53 45 84 50
Hours: 11:30 am to 12 pm Monday-Thursday
11:30 am to 1 am Friday-Sunday
Metro: Châtelet or Les Halles
Website:  https://www.restaurant-champeaux.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+)

3.25 - Star......................................................€€€......................................................... 1 - Bell

I was never a fan of the old "Les Halles"; it was a run down "seedy" area of Paris. But with the revitalization beginning 2010 it has really transformed. If you walked around, it has the feel of a US mega-mall of yester-year. It has really, really transformed. Some would hate the modernism and the feeling that you could be anywhere, but I sorta like the new area.

The restaurant is an Alain Ducasse creation, but at the helm is Chef Bruno Brangea, who himself has worked at some pretty notable restaurants. The restaurant by any standard is enormous. As you enter, you see a huge American style bar, in fact a cocktail bar.

The restaurant is very modern. There are long booths and tables, lots of windows that give it a very open feel, and there is also al-fresco dining, if you prefer. The restaurant is billed as a cocktail/bar restaurant. And, the mixologist is French Canadian Marjolaine Arpin, unfortunately, she wasn't there, but would be doing a later shift, we were told.

We were seated by the bar, how apropos.  What caught our eyes was the huge "black board"on the wall, and it would update, just as they do at European train stations, noise and all. We found it gimmicky, but loved it.

We perused the menu, now I have to say this is definitely a departure from the French style menus we're use to.  It was a very "American Style" menu. It almost felt like the sports bar menus we have in the U.S.  They also had the special of the day, which was odd, because they ran out of the special before we even had a chance to order, oh well. Also, the English translation online was really, really off, unless they had substitutions for the day. For example, the "Roasted fillet of duckling with peach" was actually duck with figs, not peach. Fortunately, we had the French menu, and it was much more accurate. To be fair, it might also be because they change the menu daily, hence, the menus are not synchronized with their online menu.

Note: As an aside, if you can read French, always order from a French menu. Many times, the English translated menus are incorrect. For example, one time I saw "Breath of duck", when it should've been "Breast of duck". 


Normally, I do not like cocktails in Paris. They're usually never made right, and they're very light in the alcohol department. Our wait-person told us that the bartender was trained in
Canada, where she's from and would be there later. So I spoke to her assistant and asked if he can make a dirty martini, not on the menu.  He said he could. So the first batch he made, he had me taste it, there was just way too much vermouth in it. I just like a hint or none at all. So, I gave him feedback and he remade it without vermouth.  Then friends ordered margaritas, and he had them taste it as well, and they responded that it was way too sour from the limes. The bartender asked if he should add more sugar and my friends said more cointreau. Without question, he redid theirs to their liking as well. So "un-french" to accommodate the diners. Cocktails and the concept of "mixology" is not as well known in Paris as in e.g., San Francisco or NYC, but they're starting to become more and more popular, and my guess is they will vastly improve over the next year or so, as what happened with the coffee in Paris (click on this link for reference "Cafe in Paris")


Lobster Soufflé.  I shared the lobster soufflé with a friend. As it came, we were told to punch a hole
in the center which the waiter then poured the "light bisque" into. At first bite we said, wow, it was very light and airy, the way a soufflé should taste, but mixed with the sauce that was poured, it may have been described as a light bisque, but the lobster flavor was intense and delicious. My guess is that the lobster "tamale"was used for the intense flavoring.  Overall an excellent start.

Eggplant with pesto- This was a very simple entrée, 3-chunks of eggplant nicely seasoned with a pesto, but the pesto and accompanying sauces had strong notes of citrus, which was great for JJ since he likes all things sour, but not so good for me.


"Roasted fillet of duckling with peach" on the English menu it was actually duck with figs, not peach. I'm not a fan of sweet anything on savory dishes. However, my friend really liked this dish and I had a bite of the duck breast, and it was cooked perfectly, very moist and succulent.

Entrecôte (ribeye steak).  I had the rib eye steak and you had several choices of accompaniments, I selected it with fries. And, you also had different choices for an accompanying sauce, I selected a shallot sauce. I ordered the steak cooked medium rare, or in French, "a point". For most Americans this steak would be a little tough because the steak is grass fed versus grain fed as in the US and thus is not as marbled. I liked it, it was good, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Pollock with radish and grapes.  JJ ordered this dish.  The fish was moist and as you can see from the photo, I took a small bite of it. First thought as I took a bite, this has a very fishy taste, which is fine because I like that taste, but this is not a dish for everyone. JJ thought it was an OK dish, nothing extraordinary; however, he found the accompaniment good, albeit it would be quite sweet for some.


CHINON--DOMAINE Bernard Baudry.  Is a wine from the central Loire Valley. The typical quintessential Chinon wine is tannic, leafy, berry-scented Cabernet Franc. I liked it because it was a very light red.


From what I've read, it is said this restaurant is not for everyone.  And, I would agree. If you're looking for a typical Parisian restaurant, you can forget it.  It's very industrial, high-tech, and net-net has a very modern feel.  Surprisingly though, not un-cozzy.  It also has some charm such as the old rail station signage. Although it's located in a mall, it is anything but mall food. It's an enormous restaurant by any standards, but what impressed me most was the charm and personalization of the service despite the size.  The service was beyond reproach.

It is billed as a cocktail/bar restaurant. As for the cocktails, the assistant bartender had textbook knowledge of cocktail recipes, but not quite there yet with the execution. Our wait-person did say we should come back when the bartender arrives later that day. But I give lots of points to the assistant bartender and the restaurant for replacing our cocktails, without question, to our liking.

As for the food, oddly, they don't quite yet have their quantities in sync with their anticipated volume of diners. So, from our perspective it was weird that they were out their special of the day by 12:45 pm, when we ordered. The train station departure board had several off menu items on it when we entered the empty restaurant at 12:30 and by 12:45 the board was cleared.  And during our meal the board kept updating about stuff that would be available later in the afternoon for their 'afternoon' (not lunch) service. We agreed the soufflés were excellent. The plats were good, but nothing out of the ordinary. This is a great place to go if you are in the area, or need to shop and are hungry for a meal or just want a cocktail.  My overall rating would've been lower, however, the service and ambience bumped it up.  It is an above average restaurant that has the potential to becoming a "go-to-place". Bottom line they do need to do some fine tuning such as getting the bartender's assistant more training and knowledge. But I am very confident that will happen over time. Would we return, ABSOLUTELY.

With 5-cocktails, 1 large bottle of water, 4-entrées, 6-plats, bottle of wine, 2-glasses of rosé and 1-coffee our bill came to 60€ per person for 6-people. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

La Maison Becquey -- Restaurant Review

 34 quai de la Marne in the 19eme
Metro: Line 5 (Ourcq)
open 7-days from 8 AM - midnight

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

Well readers, I'm back from my summer vacation and it feels good to get back into the swing of things. Unfortunately, my start for reviewing restaurants has not gone well.  First let me say, it was a beautiful day in Paris.  This restaurant is along the "Canal de l'Ourcq" of Paris. So the restaurant had a perfectly great view of the canal and the way the pocket doors opened, you felt a nice breeze both on the terrace and interior of the restaurant, and it was a welcome relief especially on a warm day.

This is going to be a complete departure from my regular style of reviewing restaurants. I don't want to waste too much time nor effort in reviewing a restaurant that needs some serious work with their service and some of the dishes.

The menu was a bit strange. There was a clear view of the rotisserie, but their menu said that you have to request the roast chicken 72-hours prior? And, some of the dishes were really bizarre, like the "Bagel Texas” which was composed of chicken, tomatoes, onions, cheddar, bacon and a honey mustard sauce. First of all, since when is Texas known for their bagels?

For the entrée JJ had the beet appetizer. It was a good salad. Very citrusy with sweet notes from the beets.

Now here's where the problem began. We asked if we could have the chicken, and they said yes. Little did we know it would take 70 minutes between the time JJ finished his beets (he was the only one that wanted an entrée among the three of us).  First time we asked where's our dish? they said it's coming. Second time we asked I specifically told them it's been an hour since our entrée and he said it would come in 10-minutes. I guess third time's the charm.  Let me put it another perspective, we waited 1-HOUR AND 10 MINUTES, between the first course, where 2 of us did not have an entrée and people were coming and going and we were still waiting for our damn plats.

We finally got our plats, and to add insult to injury my chicken, which was the "spiced" chicken, was drier than the desert canyon of death valley. The cut portion was strange to say the least. It consisted of the wing, a lot of back with accompanying bones that's usually used for stock, and a tiny bit of breast. It tasted like it was seasoned with lawry's seasoned salt. Don't even get me started on the fries. They gave a whole new meaning to the word "limp." My guess is that they "blanched fried" the fries, but forget to give it a second fry, or that's how they make them.

J ordered the stuffed chicken, and although the stuffing was very tasty with mushrooms and herbs his chicken tasted like it was an old rooster that hadn't been quite cooked long enough, therefore it had a rubbery texture.

JJ was the only one that had a decent dish. He had the bar that was pan roasted, skin was crispy and sat atop some mashed sweet potatoes.

We feared that we would be there til midnight if we had ordered dessert, so we opted not to have any.


The Canal St. Martin and the surrounding area is where the new hip and trendy scene is starting to emerge, and this is especially true with the restaurant scene. And, you can find some excellent affordable food because rents are low, so Chefs can concentrate on the ingredients and cooking. Unfortunately, this restaurant isn't one of them. It's trendy, in a great location, but that's where it ends.

I suppose if you order the "in and out" menu, e.g., salads or the formule, you would get served faster. But I saw people getting served pasta, hamburgers and even ordering 2 or 3 courses getting served faster than us. I give them credit though, they did acknowledge their shortcomings and offered us free coffee (really, a free cup of coffee)?

Our bill with 1-entrée, 3-plats, 2-bottles of wine, and 2 coffees offered to make up as an apology for the 70 minute wait between courses, was 92€ for 3-people, but really?

Fortunately, the lunch was not wasted. We were able to catch up with our good friend J who we haven't seen all summer.

Would I go back, ABSOLUTELY NO WAY!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Happy Summer - Bon été 2016

Comme d'habitue (as usual), I will be spending the summer in the U.S.  I will continue my Paris restaurant reviews when I return in mid-September.

I want to wish all my readers a safe and Happy Summer!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

L'Accolade -- Restaurant Review

208 rue de la Croix Nivert
75015 Paris
Tel: 01 45 57 73 20
Closed Sundays
Metro: 12 (Convention), Bus line 62 (Convention-Lecoubre)

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+)

3.5 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

This restaurant is in our neighborhood. I recognized the area immediately and I thought, wait a minute, didn't this use to be the restaurant "Jadis"? and, it was.  Jadis was extremely popular in its heyday in the late 2000's, but starting losing favor because of the inconsistent food and the inconsistent service. So, we went in to see what the name change, the new Chef and new menu was all about.

We perused the menu. They had a standard menu which looks as if they serve it daily. And, they had a "menu of the day".  Note the "menu du jour" was an excellent, excellent deal.

Interestingly, none of us got the "Menu du jour" (menu of the day), we all went a la carte.


Tartare de crevettes au mascarpone, avocats et tomates confites. (Shrimp tartare with mascarpone, avocados and confit of tomatoes). This was probably my favorite entrée of the day. The combination of the shrimp (brininess) with the soft smooth naturally sweet taste of the mascarpone and avocados served with tomatoes was such a wonderful combination of complimenting flavors. Overall an excellent start.

Petit pois, girolles et oeuf a 63º C. (Peas, mushrooms and egg 63º C). This was my next favorite entrée. Oftentimes "girolles" (mushrooms) can be extremely gritty from the sand. This is because there is a general belief that mushrooms should not be washed, but brushed, since flavor can be lost, and they absorb a lot of liquid. But these were very good, perfectly cooked and no sand and grit. And the peas were nice and firm, and the poached egg just added a wonderful delicious creaminess to the dish.

Raviolis de betteraves au chèvre frais et raves colores. (Beet ravioli with goat cheese and colorful leafs). This came in as our 3rd favorite. It was a very simple dish, nothing out of the ordinary, but a good dish none-the-less. However, I personally found the beet flavored cheese component too sweet.


Espadon, puree de carottes au gingembre, jus coco et curry. (Swordfish, carrot puree with ginger, coconut water and curry). The two who had this dish loved it. They thought the swordfish was cooked perfectly and the accompanying sweet puree'd carrots flavored with the ginger and coconut water added nice subtle flavors to enhance the dish. The only complaint the two had was that it may have been a little too salty.

Poitrine de cochon, puree maison sauce miel et coriandre.  (Pork belly, their special mash potatoes with honey and coriander sauce). I love pork belly, and this pork belly was delicious. Perfectly cooked with a crusty exterior and moist interior Note, there were bits of fat, but that's characteristic, but that's what pork belly is all about. The only complaint I have is a personal one, I do not like sweet anything. So, for me, although the mashed potatoes were delicious, I found them too sweet. But most would find the combination delicious.

Minute d’agneau, legumes verts, jus d'agneau. (Minute lamb, green vegetables, lamb jus). The person ordering this dish was a bit disappointed. He likes really rare meat. Unfortunately, the way the meat was cut into morsels, even though it may have been cooked for a minute, the residual heat made it more done than he would've liked. For me, who neither likes rare nor raw meats, I thought the lamb was perfectly cooked. I think it was a very good plat. In hindsight, although I loved the pork, I should've switched with him.


Sable breton, creme citron, fraises. (Breton butter crust, lemon cream, with strawberries). I liked this dessert. I had a taste of it. Who doesn't like butter crust; nice and buttery almost like a butter cookies. The lemon cream was more like a soft pastry cream flavored with lemon. I liked that it wasn't too tart. And, the freshness of the strawberries was just a nice overall refreshing dessert.

Millefeuille vanille et caramel beurre salé.  (Leafs of puff pastry with vanilla and caramel salted butter). This was our favorite dessert of the day. WOW, delicious all around. Millefeuille as we know it is more commonly used to make "Napoleons". The flaky crust alone I could've eaten. And, the vanilla cream with the caramel just put this over the top. We loved this dessert.

As for the wines, we got one each of Brumont LA Gascogne D’Alain Brumont sauvignon blanc and a merlot. These are wines from the southwest of France.

Merlot. It was a good wine that's actually in the same family as that of the cabernet sauvignon. So the wine is not a strong wine, but because of the less tannins it had a fruitier taste.

Sauvignon.  Characteristic of sauvignon blancs, it can range from a zesty lime to a flowery peach flavor. I would say it was somewhat in the middle.


I'm glad Chef Guillaume Delage came in and bought out the old "Jadis Restaurant" which for whatever reason was going downhill quickly.  He basically created a whole new menu. His philosophy is "cook today’s best products in yesterday’s style."  I give him credit on his flavorings. He went outside the "French-box" to add flavors not normally associated with French cuisine such as curry or coconut water. The service was EXCELLENT. Our waiter actually spent the time to go over the menu line-by-line. Because the lamb did not come out as our friend specifically requested it, rare, my overall rating would've been higher.  Would I go back, ABSOLUTELY, it's in walking distance of our apartment.

For 4-entrées, 4-plats, 3-desserts, 2-bottles of wine, and 3-coffees 204.40€, or just over 51€ a person.