"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)!
Friday, July 30, 2010
Agapes -- restaurant review
Rating Standards: 4-Stars = Extraordinary; 3-Stars = Excellent; 2-Stars = Good; 1-Star = Fair; NO stars = 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+)
Went into the restaurant, and the first thing I noticed that it was quite attractive, very elegant. There were some old and new touches. Original stone walls were exposed along the side and the tables all had white linen with beautiful colored lavender glass chargers. And, there were some tables for two strategically placed by the windows to give a more intimate and romantic feel. Some thought was definitely put into this restaurant's design.
The food is also reasonably priced. For a entrée, plat and dessert it was 30€. For the menu gourmand, you can have "5" services including an apéritif and café for 56€.
quinoa, one of my favorite grains, so lucky me. The fish was cooked perfectly with the skin retaining it's crispness. And, again much to my surprise I got a nice helping of fresh peas. Very unusual since most French establishments do very little greens, unless you order them as an entrée e.g., asparagus, but to accompany a main dish, not so. I once asked my French foodie friend and he told me that when the French go out they want the biggest bang for their euro, in other words meats, fishes etc., are more costly whereas greens are not, interesting. Now I liked this dish, and I would have loved it; however, the Chef's hand was a little too heavy with the salt. It was quite salty. In fact, I got up several times later in the night to drink water.
For desserts, Dan loves chocolate so he ordered the Le chocolat en ganache, marmelade d'argumes, craquelin praliné. Dan said it was very good. It was chocolate ganache with praline crackers and a sauce of citrus. Dan thought the dish was very good.
Since I'm trying to cut back on my sugar intake, I had a cheese platter. I grabbed what I thought was a soft cheese and stuck it in my mouth and it turned out to be butter. Like I said, the French are not afraid of fat, buttered bread and cheeses, how bad can that be? Speaking of bread, I thought the breads were excellent. We had various types of breads, some seeded some with nuts, it was a nice change from the proverbial baguettes. We asked the waiter where the bread was from and he said from the St. Jean Mouffetard, must remind myself to get some of them.
When all was said and done, Chef Frédéric Naulleau came out and asked us how we liked our food. To me, it's very rare that #1 anyone in the restaurant cares what I think of the food, and #2 the Chef came out himself and asked, so I was pleasantly surprised. Very friendly man and seems to care how his customers are fed and treated.
Than another surprise...
Net-net, the entrées were excellent, the plats still have room to improve, but overall they were good, and the desserts were above average. It's a great neighborhood restaurant. The decor is very nice, service is great, the ambiance is wonderful, and it can also be a place for a romantic dinner, albeit the lighting could be a little dimmed. Would I go back, yes--I'd like to try the other plats.