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, February 3, 2016

Anthocyane -- Restaurant Review


63, rue Daguerre
75014 Paris
Bus line 88, Metro
Metro: Denfert-Rochereau (Lines: 4,6 &RER)
Phone: 01.43.27.86.02
Closed: Sundays & Mondays

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+)

 3.75 - Star......................................................€€€ ......................................................... 2 - Bell

The restaurant has only been opened for less than 4-months.  At the helm are Jean Paul Da Costa and Andrea Franceschi, the latter a native of Tuscany who moved to France 6-years ago and trained with such culinary luminaries as Joël Robuchon.

Entering the restaurant, everything looks so new, in fact it is. It's a split level with a dining room area by the main entrance (street level) and a higher level where the kitchen is located and where we sat. There is a large port-hole window that lets us peer into the kitchen, which I enjoyed, cause it's always fun to see what's happening in the kitchen, and it's always a good sign when the kitchen is well run and the staff are happy.

It's a small kitchen, in fact, no bigger than my kitchen in Paris, but it appeared to be very, very functional.



Their menu is simple, not complicated. They had specials of the day. In fact, they have a tasting menu of 4-courses for 59€. It was a bit too much for us so we stuck with the primary menu. a wine pairing (4-glasses) is also available for an additional 39€.








We ordered some wines, and the waiter disappeared for what seemed to be a long, long time. He finally reappeared with a bottle of the Chablis we had ordered and placed it on the table, then he said they were out of the red Medoc,  we eventually settled on a Languedoc as a replacement. Then he left? I called him back and said we'd like the Chablis to be opened, he seemed almost surprised. I'm assuming he wanted to open it only when our food was served, I told him we want it opened NOW! What were we suppose to do just sit there at stare at the bottle. Very, very odd. Then we he rattled off the  specials, he rushed through so fast that we had to ask him repeat it when he returned.


We had two amuse bouches, the first was a platter of: parmesan wafers with a parsley sauce, beets encased in a macaron and a squid beautifully cooked with a sprinkling of citrus. Wow what a great start. All were delicious, although the others loved the beets encased in the beet flavored macaron, I am not a fan of macarons, I know it's sacrilegious since I live in France.








For our next amouse bouche we had a large scallop with a camembert sauce. I honestly thought that this would be a strange combination. Was I ever wrong. This was absolutely delicious. The camembert was creamy, not overwhelming, just a subtle taste that enhanced the perfectly well cooked scallop. This was a hit for all of us.






ENTRÉE

Our friend J decided he would have 2-entrées whereas JJ and I had an entrée an a plat.  All 3 of us had Octopus.

Poulpe croustillant, oignon rouge confit et capre (Crispy octopus, red onion confit and capers).  This was actually one of my favorite dishes. Octopus is not easy to cook and can easily turn into rubber bands within seconds. The plate was beautifully presented on a nice thick cream of parsley, the octopus were succulent and the accompanying capers was  nice as the sour component of the dish. JJ just thought it was good, but not exceptional.  Overall, J and I thought it was excellent and a well composed dish.



For J's second entrée he had the Oeuf parfait, velours d'artichaut et chorizo (poached egg, chorizo and artichoke). The egg was perfectly poached, very creamy and the dish also included a crusting of some chorizo, which added a nice textural element.


PLATS

JJ and I ordered the Canon d'agneau de lozere, poitrine crispy, pamplemouse et kumquat (Canon shaped lozere lamb, crispy breast, grapefruit and kumquat). Although this was a good dish, it was my least favorite dish. The dish did not wow us. The way the potatoes were served were beautiful. They were sliced and spread with a cilantro salt. That's where it ends. The potatoes were salty, almost inedible. The lamb on the other-hand was perfectly cooked despite the fact they're not in season. And, the accompany sauce was rich and velvety.



As an aside, the gave us spoons that didn't exactly look like spoons, and our waiter told us they're not really spoons, they're more for mopping up the thick sauces. What a very clever idea, I must get me some.





DESSERTS


For dessert JJ ordered the special dessert of the day which was a creamy lemon that was almost like a thick pane cotta.  It was beautifully presented. JJ and J loved it because it was extremely tart, and they love all things tart. I thought it was a good dessert, not too sweet, but in all honesty I am not a fan of anything tart.








We were all pleasantly surprised when the restaurant also gave us some "parting desserts" which I though was quite nice. It fact it was a nice tasting of 4-different sweets. A pineapple, a pistachio financier, a sweet cannelle and an orange.  Each uniquely different and each very tasty.  Albeit, the group found the orange a bit bitter.









SUMMARY

We had a very, very rocky start with the service. J arrived before us maybe 5 minutes earlier than our reservation, he was told he had to wait, they weren't ready, huh? He asked if could be seated any way cause he had a bad knee and was obvious he had a cane. There was only 1-waiter for the whole restaurant which is not atypical, but the restaurant was not crowded. The waiter didn't know what to do with the wines, he seemed lost. In fact, he went awol looking for our wines. I would've given the restaurant a lower rating had the waiter not acknowledge his short comings and apologized profusely because he was new and was still learning the ropes. Apologies are not easy to come by in Paris, so I took this as genuine offering. In fact, after the wine issues were settled, his service and timing improved.

Now onto the food. The food is exceptionally good. There were some incredible flavors and I especially enjoyed the entrées. And, although it's not lamb season, the lamb was good and the accompanying sauce was very flavorful. My only real complaint was the extreme saltiness of the side of potatoes which was almost inedible, and I happen to like salt. Would I go back, assuming they fix their service issues, absolutely.  With a bottle of chablis, a bottle of red Langedoc and 1 coffee that came to 186€ or 62€ a person, pricey, but the food is exceptional, albeit the service rocky.

Oh, and by the way, they don't do "doggie bags". J was unable to finish his second entrée and wanted to bag it. Oh well, c'est la vie. BTW, I always have small baggies with me, just in case the portion are larger than I expect. I hate to waste food. I guess I used my last baggie, since I didn't have one to offer J.


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