|72 Rue Didot|
Transportation: Bus line 62/58 (Didot), Metro Line 4 (Alesia), Metro Line 13 (Plaisance), Tram line 3A (Didot)
Reservations can also be made on their website and La Fourchette
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 (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)
4.25 - Star......................................................€€ ......................................................... 2.5 - Bell
My best friend Steve and I take the bus often that goes down Rue Didot to go to the center of town, but had never noticed the restaurants along the way. Then a good friend, a food writer mentioned that there was a relatively new restaurant on Rue Didot called "Jeroboam", so next time we went down the street we kept our eyes open, and low and behold it is literally a "hop-skip and a jump" from Steve's apartment.
Typically tourists do not venture out to the 14eme or the 15eme around "Rue d'Alésia"; all I can say is that they're missing a lot. These arrondissements have incredible restaurants that are known to locals. Although there were a few foreigners in the restaurant, it is quintessentially a neighborhood restaurant.
The front facade of the building is very deceiving. It appears small, but once inside with the tall ceilings and the nicely spaced tables, it felt comfortable and it felt good just sitting there, in other words very good "feng shui". And, it is a fairly large restaurant because, unbeknownst to us and much to our delight, we found other tables downstairs, long tables that could be shared by groups and one area that can sit a dozen people in a semi-private atmosphere.
The menus were on blackboards and they had quite an interesting varied selection. There's also a sign over the door that says that all their meats are sourced from France, good to know.
We were asked if we wanted aperitifs, but we opted just to have wines with our dinner, in the meantime we were given an amuse bouche of "sablé" shortbread biscuits and vichyssoise, at first thought I thought it was unusual for a winter starter, since it is a cold soup. None-the-less, after we all tasted it we thought it was simply delicious. Creamy and rich with a nice overall balance, and the sablé biscuits, which are characteristically dry, was a nice accompaniment. Thank God it was a small portion, because it was a rich dish.
Truffe d’automne et foie gras en croute, glace aux cèpes, (Autumn truffle and foie gras in pastry, ice cream mushroom). We all agreed that this dish was absolutely delicious. The foie gras encased in the crunchy pastry with the mache would have been a complete meal in itself, no complaints. However, I found it a bit odd that there was a scoop of mushroom ice-cream. In theory, it's a nice juxtaposition, but for me personally, it just didn't work. Maybe if it were summer, it'd might've had a nice cooling effect. Other than that it was delicious.
Tarte renversée de confit de canard et foie gras, (Tart of duck confit and foie gras). In its simplicity, this was the prettiest presentation of the 4-entrées we had. The pastry dough was extremely flaky, so flaky that it rendered it very light and airy. The duck was good and topped with mache. Again, it was a nice, simple, good dish, nothing out of the ordinary.
Filet de daurade grillé sauce vierge basilic, (Fillet of bream grilled with virgin basil sauce). The first thought that came to my mind was, wow, this is a large dish. There were so many different components to the dish that I don't know where to start. First of all the fish was delicious. It had a nice crispy skin and the flesh was tender and juicy. The toppings of tomatoes and abundant amount of vegetables were a pleasant surprise (note: vegetables are more of a garnish in most Parisian restaurants) sat atop mashed potatoes. This was a nice hearty delicious dish.
Cabillaud en habit de jambon de montagne, (Cod with mountain ham). This was a wow dish, the fish was encased in a thin slice of ham and sat atop of what I believe to be short grain purple rice. The fish was perfectly cooked, such an incredibly moist dish. And, the rice that it sat atop was nutty, crunchy and unusual to say the least for a French restaurant to serve. But I thought the different textures, the flavors and different elements made this dish a wow dish for me.
Tarte au citron revisités sablé Breton, (Lemon shortbread tart revisited Brittany). At first bite, I thought, wow, not very much lemon taste to it. Then my friend said, take a bite from the top, which I did, and I definitely tasted the tart characteristics of the lemon. The dessert is deceiving, because it looks like all lemon curd, when in fact it was piped over ice cream that sat atop a shortbread crust. Hence, when I took the initial bite, I had more ice cream than the actual lemon curd. It' a very good dessert, very refreshing and lemon lovers will not be disappointed.
We ordered a bottle of Chateau Escalate Côtes de Bourg 2011. It's a rich dark red wine that is known for it's dark fruit tones, spiciness and has an earthy character.
Friends from a hotel school, one Chef and one Hotel manager who've worked for various hotels and restaurants decided to open up their own restaurant, et voila Jeroboam was born. At the helm is Chef Yann Le Port. This restaurant is more of a neighborhood restaurant it's not an area frequented by tourists, but because there are "dormitory" type hotels for foreign students around the area, you will occasionally see them in these neighborhood restaurants. This area around "Rue d'Alésia" is changing so fast. Rents are cheaper so more and more businesses, and, lucky for us restaurants, are opening in the area too. I try to tell friends visiting Paris, you need to venture out into the various neighborhoods. That's where you'll taste the true essence of Paris in more ways than one.
Now onto the restaurant itself. The restaurant is very cozy, comfortable and seems very spacious for a Parisian restaurant. The service is beyond excellent. Overall the dishes were excellent. The portions were quite large by Parisian standards. But we had no problems finishing them. Most of the dishes were excellent, one was good but nothing out of the ordinary (Tart of duck confit and foie gras). Another complaint I have is there was an accompaniment, "cepes ice cream" with the foie gras entrée (Autumn truffle and foie gras in pastry) wherein the ice cream tasted good on its own, but I found it oddly paired with the dish. And, some of the dishes could've been plated better, a little "tighter" (e.g, the foie gras plat).
With 4 entrées, 4 plats, 3 desserts, a bottle of wine, a glass of rosé and 2-coffees, our bill came to 203.60€ for 4-people.
So, I encourage my readers to go out and get out from the center of the city to explore these neighborhoods, you don't know what you're missing until you try them. Would we go back? Absolutely, it's in our "hood."