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)!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Restaurant l'Inconnu -- Restaurant Review


4 Rue Pierre Leroux
75007 Paris
Tel: 01 53 69 06 03
Metro : Vaneau (line 10), Duroc (lines 10,13)
website: http://restaurant-linconnu.fr/en/

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+)

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


A good friend organized a luncheon at this well known restaurant in the 7eme. It's a very, very staid building with little signage, but it stands out in contrast to the surrounding light colored brick buildings.

“L’inconnu” means : Someone you don’t know, Something unknown, An experience you’ve never got..." (refer to their mission statement on their website)



I have to say, the tables were nicely laid out, very spacious, very unusual in Paris.  It wasn't overly decorated, simple and staid, sort of like its exterior.


They had a very eclectic menu.  There was a "degustation" pre-fixe menu for 50€, and a lesser "degustation" for 38€ with a 5€ supplement if you wanted to add meat versus fish for one of the courses.  With the exception of JJ who selected the 50€ "degustation", we all opted for the 38€ "degustation". You could also order just an entrée and a pasta dish for 24€.



Interestingly, they served us a pan baked bread rather than a typical baguette. We all loved the bread. It was a moist white bread, but a slightly crunchy top with chunks of salt and topped with a swirl of whipped herbs. One word, delicious.


For the an amuse bouche, we had the "coulis de carotte".  Well this was a nice surprise. The carrot had 2-components, the top layer was a mousse like consistency, extremely light and airy with very subtle wisps of carrot, but not sweet, and served cold.  As you reached the bottom of the little tasting cup, you got a nice surprise, a thick creamy carrot mash, but sweet. This was definitely a big hit with the juxtaposition of the light savory of the mousse, and then the thicker carrot at the bottom. We loved this dish.







SAVORY "DEGUSTATIONS"

Seasoned bread crumbs with a potato mash, accompanied with a pancake and green leafy vegetables which the waiter said was haricot vert, which made no sense, since it was leafy. JJ had this extra course not on the menu. I tasted this dish. I actually did not like this dish at all. It tasted like you were eating seasoned bread crumbs. The bread crumbs were overwhelming. It was a poorly composed dish, almost like an after-thought, since we later saw the same crumbs used on a dish as a textural garnish. However, JJ did like the pancake with the greens.














Asperge blanche confite, sabayon de carbonare, castelfranco. (White asparagus with a cream of carbonara sauce). We all loved this. The asparagus were perfectly cooked and the same bread crumbs JJ had in his dish were properly used this time. It was added to give the dish a textural element.  Overall, it was a very well composed dish.










Cabillaud poêle, petits pois, pois gourmand, navet. (Pan cooked cod, with peas, snap peas and turnips). For those who had this dish, they thought the fish was perfectly cooked, very moist and the pureed peas was a nice accompaniment to a simple but well executed dish. Overall, a good dish.











Pintade rôtie asperge verte, civette.  (Roast guinea fowl, green asparagus and chives).  I chose this dish over the fish dish, and I'm glad I did. For whatever reason, there was a 5€ supplementary, which was well worth it. We got two nice pieces and the skin was nice and crispy. The interior was extremely moist and tender. The only minor complaint I have is that this dish was was a bit sweet. My guess is they added honey. But overall, it was a very well thought out and composed dish, and extremely colorful and beautifully presented.



Spaghetti bolognaise, brocolis. (Spaghetti bolognese, broccoli).   It's definitely not your traditional bolognese sauce since it wasn't as "tomato-y". Overall, I thought the dish was OK. The pasta was cooked al-dente, but I found the pasta a bit on the grainy side. I would surmise that the pasta had more semolina or maybe all semolina to give it that texture. For JJ, he found the dish very salty, for the rest of us we liked the saltiness of the dish. Overall, it was a good dish.

DESSERTS


Pavlova agrumes. (Citrus pavlova). It was a very, very simple dessert of grapefruit sorbet, citrus fruit and garnished with a sugary thin creamy wafers. Nothing out of the ordinary, but simple, refreshing and good.













Tiramisu à la banane. (Banana tiramisu). This was a traditional tiramisu with a twist, it was flavored with bananas and the traditional liquor flavoring would've been marsala wine, but in this case it was a sweet liqueur, which our friend wasn't sure what type, but she loved the dessert.







Assiette de fromage. (Cheese plate). They did not have this on the menu. I told them upfront that I do not eat desserts, so they made a special plate of cheese for me. A creamy vache cheese and a blue cheese. Like I always say, you can't go wrong with cheese in France. So, I was a happy camper.




Their wine selection were mostly from Italy. Although it was a nice list, they were not inexpensive. The lowest price wine was 40€.  For our wine we selected a Champagnes vireos chardonnay vie di romans,  A nice and balanced chardonnay great with seafood and vegetables since it has bright and fresh notes,  but enough straw and earth to keep it from being too astringent.  And, JJ had a glass of valpolicella, a red wine with some fruit, medium bodied wine, which he really liked.










And, when we thought all was said and done they gave is a parting favors of sweet little tidbits. Interestingly they almost looked like little various sushi.



SUMMARY 

The restaurant setting was very simple, probably because the Chef wanted to concentrate more on the food. Typical of the Japanese Chefs, they have a great sensibility of how food is presented. He was no exception. The food was beautifully plated.

Now onto the food. The food was all over the board. There was some excellent dishes such as the "Coulis de carotte" and "pintade", good dishes as in most of the others, and one I found absurd (bread crumb course). They do have a resident sommelier who also doubled as our wait person intermittently.  What I found strange was that after everyone finished with their amuse bouche, I wasn't and was actually still holding it in my hand, and the sommelier/waiter wanted to pull it from my hand, and I told him I wasn't finished? I found this extremely odd.  Now JJ did have 2-extra courses, so I can see them removing his plate sooner than the rest of us, to keep up with their timing, which did happen. Minus the odd quirks, the service was excellent.

Their mission statement is that they will be making unusual combinations and ingredients out of ordinary dishes with an Italian foundation,  However, we found nothing out of the ordinary, unusual, Italian, or "unknown."

I thought it was a slightly above average restaurant, and I give them good marks for accommodating me since I don't eat desserts, that scores big points in my book, since most places would not have accommodated me. Would I go back, sure, pourquoi pas (why not).

With 4 prix-fixe 38€ with two 5€ supplements, and 1 prix-fixe 50€, a bottle of wine, a glass of wine, and 2-coffees and 1-tea, our total bill came to 291.50€ for 5-people.




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