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)!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wallace -- Restaurant Review


90 Rue de Cambronne 15eme
Tel:  01.47.34.28.39, open 7/7
(Metro: Line 12 -- Vaugirard) 

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+)
2.50 - Star...............................................................€€€........................................................... 2 - Bell

Our friend wanted to try a restaurant in our neighborhood in the 15eme; great since it was a beautiful day, we decided to walk there. It dawned on us as we approached that we've gone by this restaurant quite often since this is our bus' route. And, I also noticed that during nice weather it's generally crowded with young people because they have a large outdoor seating area.

Upon entering we were seated in the front by the open doors, but had to move because the "lounge chairs" were just so uncomfortable, so we got a table in the back with a more rigid, but more comfortable seating.


There were two menus, the menu of the day as well as their regular menu. The menu "du jour" looked fine, but what confused me was their regular menu. There was no separation between the entrée, plats or dessert.  And, what really intrigued me was they had a huge cocktail menu. If I didn't know any better, I would've thought I was at an American watering whole.



We thought we knew what we were ordering, but when our wait staff finally came to take our order, she told us they were out of the many of the dishes featured on their menu "du jour" (and it was only 12:30, long before most people showed up) as well as their regular menu, and additionally they did not have the wine we wanted, oh well. So, it took us a few minutes to reorder close to what we wanted.

ENTRÉES



One of us had the "Ceviche de dorade, avocat" (Ceviche or white fish and avocado). At first glance I though, wow, this is huge, this is definitely not an entrée size.  The fish was actually served filet, rather than cut-up or cubed. It was actually very good. The fish was fresh and it was a delightful dish, with the right amount of vinegar to "chemically" cook the fish, but still retain its freshness. It was served with thin slices of carrots as well. On the other hand the avocado was not so ripe, oh well. But overall the concept and the presentation was nice.

I had the "Maraîchère de légumes croquants au saumon fumé et oeuf poché" (Crunchy vegetables with smoked salmon and poached egg), this too was an enormous dish for an entrée. It was nothing special, a simple salad of salmon, greens and carrots with a mild vinegarette. I do have to say though, they forgot the poached egg, oh well.

Please note, at this point it was a quarter to 2 pm and we originally arrived at 12:30 pm, and we finished our entrées, and we were still waiting for our mains. I asked the wait person twice about our mains. We were just about ready to leave in frustration, but the mains finally came within 5-minutes of us wanting to leave. Even by French standards the service was ridiculously slow!

PLATS

One person ordered the Épaule d'agneau de sept heures, (Seven hour lamb shoulder).  The lamb was very good and very tasty. In fact, it had a nice "charring" on the outside, despite it being stewed for hours. It was accompanied by potatoes, carrots (they seem to love carrots in this restaurant) and snow peas. Very good hearty dish, no complaints.

I had the "Plancha de saumon laqué" (Lacquered grilled salmon). This was a very good dish. The fish was perfectly cooked. It was a little pink in the middle, just the way I like it. It had what tasted like a sweet soy, and was accompanied by again, carrots and bok choy! Only complaint I have is I wished they had left the skin on. There is nothing like tasty grilled salmon skin to add another dimension to it!

Lastly, JJ had the "Salade de poulpe aux légumes du soleil" (Octopus salad with summer vegetables) This was a very simple dish. Although the squid was cooked perfectly the salad was very simple, in other words in had no real flavor.  They did have as condiments on table "sprayable" olive oil and balsamic vinegar.










DESSERTS

At this point we were debating whether we should get the dessert or not. If we're lucky we joked, maybe we'll get it by dinner time. I recommended we go ahead and get it, cause they're probably already made.


As usual, I got the cheeses, which consisted of a French manchego and a brie de Meaux. Both excellent cheeses, although JJ thought the brie was weak.





And, two split the "Financier tiède abricot" (Warm apricot Financier).  It was a typical financier with apricot and ice cream. Very good warm, typical French dessert.









We had two-glasses of wine, two bottles of wine and coffee for a total of €136 for 3-people. It was pricey, but we did have 2-nice bottles of wine.













SUMMARY

If you asked me one word to describe this restaurant, then it would be "SLOW". Even by French standards the service was slow, albeit they were really nice. I also had issues with the fact that many of the dishes they had on their special and their regular menu weren't available, and that included the wine we originally wanted? I understand running out of dishes, but we were one of the first ones to arrive and they had already run out of their daily special?

We also noticed that people came and went fast, so it appears that it caters to the working crowd who  ordered only one dish. One couple next to us actually ordered two-dishes, which I assume one was an entrée and a plat, which came out together. Hence, that explains the menu having no discernible distinction between the entrées, plat etc.

I'm all about the whole dining experience. What we had was good and some were excellent, but I don't think we'll go back, unless someone tells me they've gotten their service act together.  I do believe they also caters to a younger "cocktail" crowd.

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