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)!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Chez Mademoiselle -- Restaurant Review



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+)

2.5 - Star......................................................€€ ......................................................... 2.5 - Bell


We've been wanting to try a restaurant that wasn't French, and discovered this restaurant by accident. It's a Russian restaurant in our quartier (district), 15eme and lucky us, in walking distance of our apartment. So, we went there for lunch.



It was an absolutely warm beautiful day. I like the interior of the restaurant. The theme color was red and gold. I felt like I was in a bordello, but I sort of like the gaudiness and the color combination. Thankfully, it wasn't too warm because there was no cross-breeze in the restaurant, and I can only imagine how hot it must get in that restaurant in the summer, since I saw no air-conditioning, but then again, air-conditioning is rare in Paris.



They had a prix-fixe lunch menu and the prices were reasonable.  You choose your dishes from the menu.  They also had a nice wine list.
















ENTRÉES




Borscht soup.  JJ ordered this soup. Borscht soup can be served hot or cold. From my understanding borscht soup is normally served hot in Russia and in the Eastern European countries, whereas in the US, it can be served cold. On this particular day I wish it had been served cold, but it was hot. Rather than thickening the soup with either the fiber from the beets or another thickening agent, the soup was very "brothy." It did come with a side of sour cream that you could use to thicken it up. I tasted it with and without the sour cream. Either way, the soup was extremely bland. Not a favorite of ours.



Eggplants/Tomatoes. The menu actually read "mille feuille" (puff pastry) of eggplants and tomatoes. However, there was no pastry to be found anywhere. I think they meant the description to be more figurative than anything else. You be the judge, based on the photo. It was actually quite refreshing in its simplicity. In between the lawyers of cooked eggplant rounds and tomatoes was sour cream and parsley, but it also had a nice kick of red peppers that hit you later. I liked it, but it was nothing out of the ordinary, except for the kick at the end.


PLATS

Beef stroganoff. As Americans know, this is pretty much a staple in most of the U.S., especially if you live in an area predominantly settled by Eastern Europeans. Interestingly, it was served over a bed of rice. I mentioned to the owner that in the U.S. beef stroganoff is normally served atop egg noodles, not rice. He said in Russia it's normally served over potatoes not rice nor noodles; interesting.  I didn't mind it over rice, because I love rice. The beef stroganoff was quite good. It had a nice creamy texture and a nice healthy helping of mushrooms. It also had a very pepper taste, which I liked. The dish is extremely rich, in fact if you're lactose intolerant, I would not recommend this dish. Our wait-person came by and I told her it was good, but rich and she just smiled, well it's Russian, it's normal to be rich.

Skewered lamb. JJ had the lamb. Basically, they were brochettes of lamb served over rice pilaf. In general, it was a very simple basic dish of meat and rice. The rice pilaf had carrots and parsley. Although fair, it was nothing out of the ordinary.








DESSERTS

Since my plat was extremely rich and heavy, I had absolutely no room for any kind of dessert. On the other hand, JJ had varenykys (pierogies) stuffed with cherries.  I've had quite a few pierogies in my life-time, but have never had a dessert pierogies.  The dough was characteristically pierogies, thick and doughy. This was a warm dessert. I did taste it, it is not a light dessert, definitely heavy. The cherries were characteristically tart, but was countered by a very, very sweet sauce.  Personally, not a favorite dessert of mine, it was just too heavy.


SUMMARY

Don't expect haute cuisine from this restaurant. It is what it is. A Russian restaurant that serves basic rustic Russian food. Albeit rich, the beef stroganoff was delicious. The lamb fair, and the eggplant/tomatoes in its simplicity was good. The misses for me was the borscht and the pierogies of cherries.

Over-all the restaurant served above fair food. So, if you're craving rustic Russian home cooking, this may be a restaurant for you. For 2-glasses of chablis, 1-glass of red wine, 1-full prix-fixe lunch, and 1-two course prix fixe and 1-coffee, our bill came to 88.50€ for two people.


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