About

"The reluctant Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Saturday, 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.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Komatsubaki -- Restaurant Review


3 rue d'Artois, 75008
tel: 01 42 25 26 78
Take Away: 01 45 20 70 37
Metro 9: Saint Philippe du Roule
Hours: Every day except Saturday/Sunday lunch
Open for dinner Sundays
Closed on Mondays
Website: http://www.komatsubaki-paris.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+)

3.75 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell


For our weekly Wednesday lunch out, a good friend recommended this restaurant. I thought, great, it's a nice change to go to a Japanese restaurant. She actually took a sushi making class with master Chef Kino, whose goal is to make best sushi not only in Paris, but in the world. He is also a master of "Omakase",  a tasting menu of the chef's own composition. 




The restaurant is located on a side street of the "Champs Elysees".  The interior is very sleek, very clean lines and their the main dining room is located upstairs. There were 2-tables and the majority of the patrons set around the sushi bar. In total, there were 14 seats available. They did have some 3-tables downstairs, but it looked like it was rarely used. And, they also have one big tatami room for private parties.


Unlike most sushi bars that you have in e.g., San Francisco, you don't order piece-by-piece, you select a plate of sushi and sashimi that the chef put together. We opted for the lunch special at 28€.


So, for our first course we had miso soup, which is typical and accompanied with a salad of various fish morsels that were breaded but covered with a sweet soy based sauce. They added some fresh julienne carrots, onions and green onions. It was a great little fish salad.  The miso soup was very rich, but I did find it a tad salty, and I happen to like salt.









The lunch special had nori maki sushi of salmon, and the sushi was I believe yellowtail. I was surprised that it did not come with wasabi. So, I asked the chef, where's the wasabi? he said it was already incorporated in the dishes. True, but I wanted more, so I asked for more. I'm guessing the sushi was customized for the French palate, hence, no added wasabi. Interesting to note, I was told that the chef makes his own soy sauce. I do have to say it was delicious.  The pickled ginger was sweeter than most, but delicious. The fish were all very fresh. Overall excellent plate of sushi.


The wines at this restaurant are fairly expensive. I don't believe in getting really expensive wines. The cheapest bottle was a "Etienne Sauzet chardonnay Bourgogne blanc" at 38€.  Wine connoisseurs sometime refer to this as “White Burgundy is the crack cocaine of Chardonnay”, go figure. Claiming once you try this wine, you'll never go back. In other words you can get addicted to this wine. It was good. "It's a light bodied, fruity with fresh peach and nectarines and firm acidity. Fresh, vibrant and balanced."


SUMMARY

What a nice change. So, if you're visiting Paris and just hankering for something different, then I say come to this restaurant. There is nothing pretentious about. It's a simple restaurant with Japanese aesthetics of clean lines and simplicity that will definitely make you feel you're in Japan. The food is simple, clean and fresh. They did have some hot dishes like donburi, but their specialty is the sushi. Would we go back, absolutely. Note: they also have a brisk take-out business.

For 3-lunch specials and one bottle of wine, our meal came to 123€

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Au Petit Tonneau -- Restaurant Review




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

Having returned to France from our winter break, for whatever reason I wanted to go to a classic old-school French Bistro. Et voila, I recommended to our friends that we go to this restaurant in 7th. It's in a "nice" area of Paris the 7eme. In fact, it's not too far and on the same block as 1-starred Michelin restaurant David Toutain (see my review of "David Toutain").

20 rue Surcouf, 7eme
Tel. 01-47-05-09-01
Metro: Invalides or La Tour-Maubourg
Closed Monday


It's not a large restaurant it harkened to the old days of typical classic bistros. The tables had the red and white checkered tablecloths of yesteryear, and the tables were snug next to one another, so they had to be pulled out if you were against a wall so you can be let it. So, let's say it was cozy.



They had a nice menu, good selections of old French classic dishes. The menu was 2-sided, in French on one side, and English on the other side.  Some of us were concerned about it being quite heavy and hardy, but I figured we don't do it often, so why not.


















They also had a prix-fixe lunch menu that was reasonably priced at 24€ for a entrée + plat and 29€ for all 3-courses. Three of us opted the lunch special and one opted a-la-carte.

On the tables were already some dried sausages and cornichons, and some sliced radishes, which I assumed served as the amuse bouche.







ENTRÉE


Oeuf poché, pleurotes à la crème et jambon de pays (Poached egg, oyster mushrooms and local ham). This was a great start. The egg sat atop of some cream. Scattered at the bottom were oyster mushrooms, and sitting atop of the dish were slices of local dried ham. The eggs was perfectly poached, and at first bite I thought it needed salt, but as I dug into the dish, the addition of the ham brought a nice saltiness to the dish. And, the mushrooms were a nice accompaniment and bonus. Overall, an excellent entrée.




Salad with Blue Cheese. A salad made with frisée. It was a great salad with nice big chunks of Roquefort cheese, and it had the added crunchiness of walnuts. The dressing was a bit on the tart side for my taste, but JJ loved it. Overall it was a good basic salad.










PLATS


Filet de Daurade Plancha, écrasé de pommes de terre aux agrumes. (Filet of Sea bream pan fried, served with smashed citrus potatoes). It's not a particularly attractive dish. The fish was nice and tender, unfortunately, the skin was not as crisp as I would've wanted it to be, but still delicious. The combination of the citrus to the potatoes was a good idea, it gave the fish a little more freshness.  The dish could've definitely needed something green to liven it up.



Veal Kidney served in a madeira sauce.  JJ ordered the kidney. The kidney came alone and you can add (4€) an accompaniment of several greens such as a salad or haricot vert or potatoes. JJ opted for another salad. I like kidneys, but not a big fan of it. I did taste it and I have to say it was very good. The kidney was covered in a madeira sauce that incorporated mushrooms, onions and some slices of bacon. It's definitely not a light dish, but overall a very good dish.





DESSERTS 



And, for desserts, the three each had classic french desserts:  tarte citron (lemon tart), tarte tatin (apple tart), and Mousse chocolat (chocolate mousse).  All very good, but nothing out of the ordinary.


WINES

RED -- La demoiselle d’haut-peyrat Haut Medoc 2012 -- A red wine from the Bordeaux area. Expert describe this wine as having tasting notes of dark fruits and berries such as plum and blackcurrant. And, the tannins tend to be relatively high in these wines, giving them a firm structure.

WHITE -- Pascal Jolivet attitude 2015 sauvignon blanc 2015 -- A wine from the Loire Valley. Experts describe the taste as having delicate aromas of lime, green apple, kiwi fruit and some vegetal notes. Mineral notes give the wine a pleasant mouthfeel, balanced with good acidity and a citrus fresh finish.


SUMMARY

If you're craving for old school, retro French food, then this is the bistro for you. The restaurant provided quite an array of old French classics. With the exception of one person, we all wanted a lighter fare, so three of us chose the fish dish. We all enjoyed the entrée of poached eggs. The salad was good. And, I did notice that there wasn't much greens being offered, unless you ordered a-la-carte. So, I guess it was a good thing that JJ ordered a salad for an entrée and also for an accompaniment to this main course of veal kidneys since the portions were large and we were able to share them. The restaurant serves very good old French classics. The service was excellent. It is definitely above average, but nothing outstanding. Would we go back, pourquoi pas?

With 3-prix-fixe lunches with 2 ordering the 3-course meal, and I ordered the 2-course meal., 1 a-la-carte of veal kidney and 1-dessert, with 1-bottle of wine, 2-glasses of wine, and 3-coffees our bill came to 181€ for 4-people or 45.25€ per person.

Monday, February 13, 2017

L'Escudella -- Restaurant Review


41 ave de Ségur -- 75007
Tel: 09.82.28.70.70
email: Escudella18@gmail.com
Metro: Ségur (10) or  St. Francois-Xavier (13)
Closed: Saturday and Sundays

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

We're back. Returned a week ago from our winter break in the U.S. and back to exploring new restaurants. Our good friend J is also in town and recommended this restaurant. This restaurant promotes French cuisine with a new "inventive" twist, and I would agree with that.

The interior is cozy enough. It's not a large restaurant, I counted 28-seats.






The menu had quite a nice selection.  It appears the menu changes, since it was basically a printout presented to us on a clipboard. They did have a "plat du jour" which was a pintade (guinea fowl).












To begin, we started out with an amuse bouche which was Japanese inspired. It was a wrapped tourteau (Atlantic crab). It was presented like nori-maki sushi with chopsticks. There was no rice, it was basically crab folded with mayonnaise. It had a light taste and not overwhelming, so it was a good start.






ENTRÉE

Chorizo de boeuf wagyu (Beef Chorizo). This was from their "tapas" section of their menu. This dish was inspired by Spain. We got this to share. At first I thought, what a waste using wagyu, probably because I associate this with very high high-end beef served as a steak. Wagyu beef is now farmed locally in France, so much easier to obtain. It was very, tasty and the fat level was perfect, not too oily and the heat (spicy) level hit at the end, but was not overwhelming. Excellent.




Carpaccio de betterave crapaudine cuite au gros sel, mousse de betterave et condiments (Carpaccio of beets cooked with coarse salt, beet mousse and condiments). For France, this was quite a hearty entrée. The beets were beautifully presented with sliced beets and a mousse of beets. Atop sat toasted pine nuts, crumbled hard boiled eggs and some thin olive slices which elevated the dish. Overall, a very well composed dish.



PLATS

Pintade (guinea fowl). Two of us got the special of the day. It was lightly roasted served with an "au jus" and topped with greens. And, it was served with a side of mashed potatoes. To me guinea fowl tastes like a cross between a chicken and turkey. The meat is very lean, and I find the meat much more flavorful and moist than other fowls. In its simplicity, the dish was very good.





Poitrine de cochon confite, jus aux couteaux, wakame, pâtes à l’encre de sèche [Confied pork belly, gravy, wakame (seaweed), pasta with dry cuttlefish ink].  I am going to assume that this dish is Italian and Japanese influenced. I ordered this dish. I thought it was an excellent dish. Now this dish isn't for everyone, since pork belly can be extremely fatty. But this had to be one of the best roasted pork bellies I've ever had. It had a perfectly crusty salty exterior, and the interior was melt in your mouth, albeit fatty and rich. The black pasta was a nice accompaniment. Overall an excellent dish.



DESSERT

Paris "Carcassone" (Paris Brest).  I had no idea that there was a Paris "Carcassone", now I know the "Paris-Brest" so I assume that they might have a variation from the Carcassone region. I had a little bite of it, it was extremely light and airy, unfortunately I did bite into one of the more well done hazelnuts, burnt actually, so it did have a little bitter taste, otherwise it was a good dessert.





WINES



As usual, we ordered a bottle of white and a bottle of red. The white was from the Languedoc region, a Chateau de Valflaunès, "Pourquoi Pas". We had to laugh at the name, "pourquoi pas", why not? It's a white wine known for it's dry, herby ripe-fruit flavors from Pic Saint-Loup. It's not a heavy wine, light and refreshing.

Chinon “Les Terrasses," Lambert.  It's a light red wine using 100% Cabernet Franc. It's known for its wild musky nose, dense fruit, and the terroir of calcareous clay atop the region's famous tuffeau. It can be served with a slight chill and suggested to drink young!


SUMMARY

They tout themselves as serving French cuisine with an "inventive" twist. I would have to agree. Their cuisine was influenced from Japan, Italy and Spain. I have to say, all the dishes were beautifully presented and excellent. The service was excellent. It is a small restaurant, so once it filled up it got a little noisy and hard to hear. The only complaint I have is the hazel nut in the dessert was a bit burnt, which gave it a bitter taste, otherwise the other components of the dessert were delicious. Would we go back, absolutely.

For 2-entrées, 3-plats, 1-dessert, 2-bottles of wine, 3-coffees our bill came to 47.50€ per person (there were 3 of us).