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)!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Le Louvre Bouteille -- Restaurant Review




Address: 150 Rue St. Honoré

Nearest transport: Louvre-Rivoli (ligne 1)
Hours: Closed Sundays
Reservations: recommended
Telephone: 01.73.54.44.44
http://www.louvrebouteille.fr/

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+)


  1 - Star.................................................. (Pre-fix menu)...............................................1 - Bell


I went with 2-foodie friends. And, I have to say, we were all very excited to go because the Chef de cuisne Cyril Roquet is well known in Paris and a lot of it had to do with his participation in the Masterchef contest, a French cooking show. 

The restaurant is in a great, convenient location, “Rue St. Honoré” I have to say it was nicely decorated and the upstairs room was really lovely. And, the tables and seating were well spaced, so you didn’t feel like you were being packed in.  We all complained that the menu was hard to read.  One wall had a long mirror, on it was the written menu.  Unfortunately, the mirror had a glare, and depending where the light shone, it was either readable or not.  We were all able to decipher the menu, in part because depending where we were seating, we could see parts of the menu and we shared the information.

Entrées:


Two of us had the “Velouté corail rutabaga huile d’argan.” Smooth scallop coral with rutabaga and "argan" oil, garnished with a little yellow edible flower. We all commented that this was the first time we’ve tasted scallop corals in a soup.  Although it was tasty, it was served just lukewarm. We all agreed it could’ve been served warmer.





I had the “Oeuf crème champignon croustillant coppa.” A poached egg with mushrooms/polenta and crispy bacon.  When the dish arrived my first thought was, what an absolutely ugly dish, how amateurish?  It looked like sand that had a poached egg on top, surrounded with what looked like canned sliced black olives and grated hard boiled cooked eggs, and garnished with a little mâche. I have to say this dish not only looked bad, but tasted just awful. The polenta was not cooked, so it had a gritty sand taste. The only saving grace was that the poached egg was cooked perfectly.  I could not finish the dish it was so bad.

Plats: 

After we finished our entrées we waited, waited, and waited some more for our plats.  Even by French restaurant standards, this was way too long of a wait in between courses.  It finally came.

One of us had the “Tournedos fumé au thym, sauce moutard, pommes grenailles.”  A steak dish with thyme and mustard sauce with whole potatoes.  My first impression when the dish came out, it was totally out-of-proportion.  Even for meat and potato loving people, this dish was out of whack. Clearly you can see that it seemed the potatoes were the star of the dish. It looked ridiculous. I tasted it, and again, although tasty it was lukewarm.




Two of us had the “Margret de canard croustillant, bouillon Thai, frite de polenta.” Crispy duck breast, accompanied with a Thai bouillon with a fried polenta.  The crust they were referring to was phyllo dough the duck was encased in, otherwise known as “brick” in France. My friend loved the dish, but I have to say the duck skin was extremely fatty and inedible. And, although the breast was tasty, it was extremely rubbery. The accompanying bouillon seemed like an afterthought. It was almost as if he didn’t know what to do with the leftover duck, so he made stock out of it, with a bunch of stringy leftover meat at the bottom of the glass, put some lemongrass, hence, the Thai influence, and some mango balls. Although the broth was good, it just seemed out of place to me. And, because of the stringy meat at the bottom, it was very unrefined and seemed very amateurish.

We decided we came this far, let’s order a dessert and a cheese plate to share. I wish I could give you our impression of what we ordered; unfortunately, we waited, waited, and waited some more and the restaurant started emptying out.  We even tried to get the wait staff's attention, but failed. Frustrated and defeated, we decided to ask for the bill.

The bill came and they charged us for the dessert. My friend told the waiter, who also happens to be the sommelier and I believe is also the business partner of the Chef, that had he paid attention to us, he would’ve known that we never got the dessert, and that’s why we were leaving.

Summary:

I wanted to like this restaurant so much, because of the location, the ambiance, and the nice staff, albeit pretty “clueless”. To me, reviewing a restaurant has to be sincere.  I did not like this restaurant at all. The food had more misses than hits, and although the wait staff were charming, they were totally clueless of restaurant timing. We wondered if the lukewarm food was a result of the staff not getting the food out in time.  None-the-less, the prices are reasonable, you get what you pay for.  I realize they’re relatively new, but I would prefer to pay a few extra euros to have a better dining experience.  With 2-bottles of 2009 Réserve Bordeaux and 2 glasses of Chardonnay, we paid a total of 95€ for 3-people for lunch.

Would I go back? Although I wish them much luck and success, and hope they improve, I probably would not go back! There are just so many other choices.

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