|145 Rue de Saussure, 17eme|
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) Note: Does not include beverages
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+)
3.5 - stars...............................................................€€*........................................................... 3 - Bell
I had never been to this restaurant before, but had heard about it from my dear friend. So off we trotted to the 17eme, which is quite a schlep from where we live in the left bank, but I'm always willing to travel far and beyond for any new adventure. This restaurant has become so popular of late that they actually have to turn people away.
Once you enter you'll notice it's an extremely whimsical restaurant. There are collections of "cartoon" character glasses, paintings done in a cartoon motif, and your name written on the table letting you know the table is reserved for you, and you only.
They have a lunch special which is extremely reasonable. You got an entrée, plat and dessert for 14.90€. The lunch special changes daily.
In fact, as we entered the restaurant, they immediately asked if we wanted a glass of their house wine, which of course we did. I had the rosé, and the 3-others had a burgundy.
For whatever reason, we did not order from the pre-fixe lunch menu. We chose from their regular menu which was quite extensive. The menu came 2-sided with an English version as well as in French. Interestingly we were the only English speakers in the tiny restaurant.
Three of us had the "marrow and snails on an open sandwich, malabar pepper". It's beautifully presented. It's more like a large crostini. It was beautifully topped with the snails and rounds of bone marrow. Being that I'm not French, I picked it up with my hands and ate it like a pizza, but realized, doing so, the topping fell off. So I later succumbed and used a fork and knife. The escargot, true to its nature was wonderfully garlicky and the bone marrow, also true to its nature was extremely rich and fatty. I found that adding a dab of mustard, which this restaurant is named after, cut the fat down and added an extra dimension and flavor profile. I loved the dish.
One person had the "caviar of eggplant with cilantro". It tasted like a "baba ghanoush", but not as thick. It was surrounded by a mild light pureed tomato, topped with spaghetti of turnips. The dish was nice, simple as well as refreshing.
Two of us had the "braised veal rib, mushroom waffles with reduced gravy". It was a nice sized piece of veal. I was actually quite surprised, that they didn't ask us how we wanted our veal cooked, so when it arrived it was actually cooked well done. For me it's OK, I would rather err on the well done side then the raw side, since my stomach cannot handle raw meat. I found the texture of the meat great, but I did find the sauce a tad, tad too salty. It was topped with some spaghetti daikon.The waffle, surprisingly stayed crisp and crunchy, just the way I like it, but I really did not taste the mushroom. None-the-less, the waffles were delicious. A good dish with some minor flaws!
One person had the "vegetarian plate". I was surprised they had a vegetarian dish, this is not typical for Paris. With that said, I was expecting to see a salad. However, it was a warm platter of vegetables, with mostly asparagus and some of the au jus. The dish was composed very nicely, and was also served with mushroom waffles. They were blanched vegetables not al-dente, but just a little beyond that. They were good and simple, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Lastly, one person had the "roasted tuna filet with white asparagus with a virgin sauce", Another wonderful presentation. For me the tuna was cooked perfectly. it was well cooked on the outside and rare in the middle. It was very moist. What turned out to be "virgin" sauce was actually vinegar. The vinegar was tart, but I happen to like tart flavors with seafood. For me this was a good dish.
I opted not to have dessert, nor cheese, but two had a taste of the home-made "nougat ice cream caramel". I have to say it was delicious. Very "ying-yang", you had the smoothest of the ice cream, which I was very light and creamy, and the crunchiness of the nougats. It also came accompanied with a caramel wafer, which was nice and crispy. This dish was a hit.
One person had the "creme brulée with pink pralines". I love desserts, but I have to say this was my least favorite. First of all, the brulée was more creamy in texture and more like a mouse than an egg custard. And, I found the pink pralines a turn off. The color was not natural, nor was it visually appealing. It tasted like pure sugar. So, of all the dishes we had today, this was my least favorite.
Overall, I have to say that this restaurant was definitely above average. The service is excellent, decor is quirky, but fun. It's a small restaurant, maybe it can accommodate 20-25 people at most, but when it fills up, it gets extremely noisy.
Their dishes were all over the board. Some were excellent, some average, and some were misses. They did have some minor flaws in the veal dish, but the creme brulée was really off-putting for me. For 4 of us the bill came to almost 220€, I suppose if we just ordered the pre-fixe it would not have been as pricey. We did however, have wines before our lunch, a bottle of Arjolle, a 48CL of their house rosé, and a bottle of their house burgundy and 3-coffees. Surprisingly, we were offered free degustif of armagnac and plum brandy. Would I come back, "porquoi pas" (why not).