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)!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Le Caviste BIO -- Restaurant Review

50 Rue de Maubeuge
75009 Paris
tel: 01 48 78 30 03
Website: www.lecavistebio.com
Metro: 12 Notre Dame de Lorette
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+)
3.8 - Star...........................................................................................................................2 - Bell


A friend who is very much into organic and natural foods invited us to try out a “BIO” (pronounced B-O) or as we know it “organic” restaurant in the 9eme. It’s a cute little restaurant, and when I say little, I mean it.  The main dining room can sit 10-people on a shared tall table, but it had a lot of character. They did have a table on the side close to the kitchen, but had no windows, that could probably sit maybe 6-8 people. On this evening it was not being used. If I were to define it, I would call it more of a wine bar that serves simple, and above average food.  The wines are 100% “bio” and the menu is 80% “bio”.



As you entered you were greeted by Dominique Bry who is one of the owners. Very likable convivial man, and as expected is an extremely knowledgeable wine expert.  You will see a room full of wines. Imagine a small library, but the shelves filled with wines.




The menu was small, but diverse.  There were 4 of us, and turned out one of our friends had been there before and knew Dominique, and she was one of the reasons for coming to try it. I noticed as we were there, people came in and out buying wines for their evening meal. Sort of like “take-out chicken”, but in this case it’s organic wine with free consultation.




We started off with the house samples, one had white wine one a rose, and 2 had reds. I wish I could remember, but they were excellent (JJ's wine was from the Medoc, his favorite region). Then we placed our meal orders and had many suggestions from Dominique on the wines to order with the meal. We were given a simple amuse bouche of a thin pizza with anchovies.



ENTREÉS:




Two of us had the soup. You could have a fish soup or an artichoke soup and not on the menu, asparagus soup. And, you can have it either hot or cold. Our two companions had artichoke and asparagus.  Both said it was creamy delicious good!







JJ had the razor clams. He liked them. I had a taste, they were delicious, but a tad overcooked for my liking. And, as normal with razor clams, they can be gritty, but the Chef was able to clean them well enough that it wasn’t annoying.










I had the Quail salad.  Small and simple, just what the doctor ordered.  It wasn’t anything out of this world; it was a good dish, tasty and a good start.






PLATS:

On the menu was a “tonite” (pronounced tone-eet), which is fish that is a cross between a bonita and tuna.  Two of them had that dish. One had it rare, and the other person had it more medium, but I recommend you have it rare. It was rolled in white and black sesame seeds. I liked the fish itself, but wasn’t big on the coating. I would’ve preferred a more natural crust, but it’s a personal taste for me.  None-the-less the fish was cooked perfectly. Personally, it would’ve brought it over the top if they gave us some wasabi with it, but I suppose that would've been too predictable.




One person had the Daurade fish. I had a taste of it; it was very moist and juicy, very well cooked. It had a bit of a fishy taste to me, but for our friend it was perfect, and it was accompanied by a ratatouille. 





I had the homard, half a small lobster over mashed potato. The Lobster was delicious,  It was perfectly cooked, and the claw came whole. Funny it came with a “sauce Americaine” and I had to joke and ask, is that catsup? We all had a good laugh. It was actually a cream based sauce with a touch of lobster flavor. It was OK, but I could’ve done without it.





I did mention it is an organic wine bar/restaurant. With that said, the wine should/must be paired with your food. Since all of us were having seafood, he recommended Hongrie Saint-Peray, which is a full-bodied white-wine variety from the Rhone Valley, known best for its role in the celebrated whites of Hermitage. I love, love white wines as it was, it was delicious. 










JJ doesn’t drink white under any condition; he drinks more of the heavy reds so he got a “Chateau des Ann – Lalande Pomerol”.  This area produces wines which have a tendency to be more “spicy” and fruity when they are young, and as they age they become more rounded and smoky.  I thought it was excellent, JJ thought so too, but would’ve preferred a stronger red despite having ordered a fish plat.  But it did pair well with the "tonite" as it did not overpower the fish.







DESSERTS:




Two of us had dessert.  Just Jack had the pane cotta of vanilla topped with “Chantilly” and some black sesame seeds.  He thought it was just OK, nothing that wowed him.









Our friend had the fondant a chocolat, which is basically “chocolate lava cake” and standard fare in France. She loved it, and it was soft and molten, as it’s supposed to be.




SUMMARY:

All-in-all, it was a fun evening.  Fabulous wines, good food and cozy intimate atmosphere.  It’s not a place to go if you want to have an intimate romantic dinner, but a place to go where you share a large table, and meet your neighbors.  We had such a good time with our neighbors; in fact they offered us to taste some of their wines as we offered ours.



This is principally a wine store specializing in "BIO" wines that also has a limited offering of bio foods to give you a convivial restaurant experience.  
 
We met Chef Kawasaki, this is what she had to say about the food, "Here I propose a simple and tasty cuisine prepared by the minute, with good organic products as much as possible depending on the market and the season. Our number one criteria: quality! "  Well said Chef.

Surprisingly, for a small restaurant it was very easy to talk and listen, probably cause the walls were stone and there were lots of bottles of wine every where to lower the decibels.

For 4-people our bill came to about 50E each.  Would we return? Absolutely!

Although the very good food would probably only rate a 3-3.5 on our scale, the overall experience and selections of wine made me bump up the rating to 3.8.











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