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, November 2, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Les Enfants Rouges


Address: 9 Rue de Beauce, 75003 Paris
Phone: 01 48 87 80 61
Metro: Arts et Métier
(call for hours)


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+)

 4 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell

This restaurant is located across the street from my best friend's vacation rental and I see it quite often.  A couple of years ago it changed hands, and was taken over by a Japanese couple Tomoko and Dai Shinozuka (he having spent 6 years under Yves Camdeborde) from the famed Dany Bertin-Denis, ex of the Moulin a Vin in Montmartre, who ran a booming business in wine with a side room for eaters.

I had eaten there before Tomoko and Dai took over. And, I recalled it being typical French food, and as the French like to say, "pas mal" (not bad). So, I was looking forward to this lunch under new management and a new Chef.


It's a small restaurant and the interior was simple, with cute art and nice flower arrangements.




The menu looked very interesting. I get the impression since it was newly printed that they change out their menus depending on ingredients available or are in season. All a good sign.

The pre-fix lunch menu was 40€ for an entrée, plat and dessert. A tad pricey for lunch.





















While we perused the menu we were given a small plate of charcuterie of adouille, chorizo and saucisson, "pas mal" not bad. (Note- as we were with 'J', who had glowingly reviewed the restaurant before, this was something that others would have had to order from the menu.)















And, for an amuse bouche we had a chicken broth. Oddly, it was served in a brandy glass? It was hot to the touch, but if you held the stem, you were fine. My friends liked the broth a lot. Although, the overall taste was OK, I did not care for it. I felt, #1 -- it was odd drinking it out of a brandy glass, #2 -- it left a slight oily film in my mouth.








ENTRÉES

There was a little bit of mix-up about our entrée orders, "c'est pas grave" not serious, but the staff could not have been more apologetic for the error.


Croustillant de cervelle de veau cuisiné au risotto d'épautre, gribiche et raifort (Veal brains crispy risotto cooked in spelt, gribiche sauce, horseradish).  This was a delicious entrée.  Although the foam was not necessary the veal was cooked perfectly. It was nice and crispy on the outside and extremely moist and succulent. The gribiche (eggy mayonaise sauce) and risotto was a nice accompaniment.  A hit.





Soupe crémeux de choux fleurs, foie gras et haricots du Béarn, mousse au lard (Creamy cauliflower soup, foie gras and  beans from Béarn, bacon foam).  I absolutely loved this dish. Interestingly, we waited for one of the entrées and even after the wait, the soup remained hot. Firstly, soups are typically served warm in France, but this was served piping hot, which I love and prefer. It was extremely flavorful and the morsels of foie gras were melt in your mouth delicious. This was a hit in my book.





PLATS


Ris de veau roti au beurre maitre d'hotel, poêlée de champignons de saison et puree de citron jaune (Sweetbread roasted in butter, sautéed seasonal mushrooms and lemon puree).  Ris de veau if not cooked right can be mealy and almost rubbery. This ris was cooked perfectly. Very tender and moist. The mushrooms were a nice accompaniment as well as the carrots and some touches of greens, mache in this case.  This was a well executed, composed and unified dish.


Noix de St. jacques aux legumes de racines, bouillon de crustacés et crumble au cacao (Scallops with the root vegetables, shellfish broth and cocoa crumble).  This dish was beautifully presented. It's suppose to be served with a broth, but it didn't initially come. So, my friend started eating the dish without the broth, then the broth came in a small pitcher.  The broth was very tasty and a nice accompaniment to the perfectly cooked scallop. Despite the fact the service timing was off for this dish, the dish was delicious.





Civet de sanglier en cocotte, marrons, courgettes et salicoques, oignons au vinaigre (Wild boar stew casserole, chestnuts, zucchini and prawns, pickled onions).  This was cooked in a "cocotte" (a shallow individual baking dish usually with one or two handles) typical of France.  It was served piping hot. The taste and even the style of cooking reminded me a lot of Christian Constant's restaurant, "Les Cocottes."  Not a pretty dish and very rustic, it was a good, very hearty with nice accompanying vegetables. It had a nice rich wine and vinegar flavor, and the chestnuts was a nice change to having potatoes. A perfect winter dish.


DESSERTS

Pannacotta au thé vert, coulis de muscovado et zeste d’orange (Green tea pannacotta in muscovado peel orange sauce).  Much to our surprise and delight, we were all given a complimentary extra dessert. This is probably because our J is known there and compensation for our entrée order mishap.  Regardless, it was a very nice gesture and much appreciated. Although I don't eat sugar I had a little bit of it. This dessert was extremely light. The muscovado sauce was a nice accompaniment to the not so sweet pannacotta. Muscovado oftentimes is mistaken for maple syrup, but is actually a light brown sugar molasses. This dessert was definitely a hit.


Mousse aux châtaignes, glace au lait de brebis et cassis cuit au madiran (Mousse with chestnuts, sheep milk ice cream and baked currant).  It seems their trademark desserts are light and not too sweet. This dessert did not disappoint. From the mousse to the ice-cream and the slightly tart currant sauce all complimented each other nicely. Even the laced tuile cookies gave it a textural element.  It was a delicious dessert.





WINES  

(Note: Although I am by no means a wine connoisseur, I will describe the wines we have based on my research and my friend's assessment).


Cheverny a white wine typically made from sauvignon blanc with some chardonnay from the Loire valley. A smooth round wine with some citrus flavors.

Cause Marines a wine from southwest France. It’s a dark red wine with very bold flavors.








SUMMARY

We were 4 for lunch.  The restaurant is not on a main street and can be overlooked. But it's actually relatively easy to find since it's across the street from the side entrance of the well known Marché aux Enfants Rouges. It's a small restaurant, and once it filled up it became quite noisey to the point it became difficult to converse and be heard easily.  There were some minor service mishaps, but they acknowledged them and were not only extremely apologetic, but compensated us by giving us all a free dessert.  The pre-fix menu is a bit pricey for lunch, but the food is delicious.  Everyone loved all the dishes, whereas I did not care for the chicken broth. For 4-people, one bottle of Badoit (sparkling water), 2-bottles of wine (68€), and 2-coffees our bill came to 257€. Would I recommend the restaurant? absolutely.

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