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)!

Friday, June 17, 2016

L'Assiette -- Restaurant Review


181, rue du Château
75014 Paris
tel: +33 (0) 143 226 486
Bus: Line 62 (Les plantes)
Metro (13) Pernéty, (4) Mouton-Duvernet
Website: http://restaurant-lassiette.paris/ 

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+)

4.5 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell


Another great find not too far from our home.  I could've walked, but unfortunately it was raining so I opted to take the short bus ride. The restaurant is tucked away on a side street of a main thoroughfare, Avenue du Maine in the 14eme. It's the only red building on the tiny side street of Rue du Château.


It's a spacious restaurant, but what caught my attention was the etched acid stained glass ceiling. It was quite impressive. The maitre'd and our waitress warmly greeted us and while we waited for our friends to arrive they gave us some nice slices of thin "jambon" (ham), very tasty I might add.



We perused the menu, they had a nice selection of meats, fowl and seafood, in particular squid. They also had a daily prix-fixe menu, which I guess must be their staples because they did have substitutions for the 2-plats, which was pork and a octopus risotto, replacing the "quail" and "squid."


ENTRÉES

Bisque de crevettes. (Shrimp bisque). At the bottom of the bowl were some crispy croutons and some chopped shrimps, with a dollop of creme fraiche. Our wait person poured a thick rich bisque. I tasted it, and it was absolutely delicious, albeit rich. The shrimp flavors came through and the crunchiness of the croutons gave it texture, and the chopped bits of shrimp added to the shrimp flavor. It was a hit.








Terrine de campagne. (Country terrine). Recently, I've had some fatty, very dry and even "grissly" terrines, this was neither. This was a great example of what a terrine should be. There were bits and pieces of various cuts of meat.  It was encased in pork skin which I assumed help keep it moist naturally.  It came with a slaw made of simple creamy mayonnaise, and accompanied with slices of crunchy toasted slices of baguettes. I'd have to say this was one of the best terrines I've had in a long time.




PLATS

Poulpe risotto. (Squid risotto). I don't know why, but I was expecting squid ink, probably because I misunderstood what the special was. But I was pleasantly surprised to see a risotto flavored with saffron. The dish was simply presented, but it did pack a punch of different flavors and textures. The risotto was perfectly cooked (al-dente) and the octopus was so incredibly tender. Then much to our surprise there was a piece of sweet braised pork and perfectly salted. What an absolutely great dish, visually, texturally and hit different notes in your mouth.




Râble de lapin farci de cochon rôti en cocotte. [Stuffed rabbit cooked in a cocotte (cast iron casserole pot)]. I like the taste of rabbit (tastes like chicken, hahaha), but I rarely order it because I find the thin bones bothersome. This rabbit was "deboned" and stuffed. It was slowly braised, I had a taste of the rabbit and have to say it was perfectly cooked and very moist. It was accompanied with carrots and various vegetables. A nice hearty stew.






Cochon en cocotte. (Pork cooked in a cocotte). This was one of the specials of the day. It was actually poitrine de cochon (pork belly),  typically cooked with the skin and a layer of fat. I had a taste of it, it was cooked perfectly, moist and succulent. And, my friend who had it loved the simple braised pork.










Pappardelles de seiche façon paella. (Pappardelle with squid paella way).  When I first read this, I don't know why I assumed it would be a pasta dish because of the papparadelles in the title. Turns out the squid was thinly, evenly sliced to mimick pappardelles pasta, ingenious! What a great whimsical dish. The squid sat atop the same risotto I had.  And, a crowning glory, sat a sweet braised piece of pork. Interesting dish and a very good dish, but my least favorite.






DESSERTS

Île Flottante. (Floating island). This is a very popular French dessert. It's basically a meringue (island), floating on a sea of crème anglaise. This meringue was formed. At first glance I thought it was a creme brulée. Typically the meringues are just scooped onto the dish, but the Chef made it point to make it look more refined, these are the kinds of detail that separate Chefs from cooks. It was covered in a nice caramel sauce, which was a nice accompaniment. I tasted and  it was light, airy and simply delicious.




Fontainebleau aux framboises, râpée de citron vert. (Raspberry cream with lime). Another french classic dessert akin to a  "panne cotta"  Typically this dessert is made with a form of cottage cheese. The dessert was smooth, and the citrus flavor gave it almost a yogurt type of flavor. The citrus and the raspberries definitely were pronounced. And, for added texture, was topped with some cookies that resembled "churros".  Overall a good classic French dessert.




Assiette de fromage. (Cheese plate). And, of course the cheese plate. I told them that I don't eat dessert and they brought out two simple cheeses of Saint-Nectaire cheese and an aged cow cheese. No complaints here.














SUMMARY

Chef Clermont David Rathgeber has quite the pedigree of experiences. He trained under the tutelage of one of the best chefs in the world, Alain Ducasse.  And, has worked at restaurants such as Louis XV in Monaco and Plaza Athénée in Paris. And, to boot he's worked at the Essex House in New York, and several places ;throughout Asia, such as Osaka and Tokyo, Japan.  Now onto the food; what can I say, this is one of the best meals I've had in a very long time. Classical French dishes done "presque parfait" (near perfect) from the simple country entrées and "cocottes", to a very inventive and whimsical squid dish to mimic pappardelle pasta, and the classic French desserts and cheeses. The service was EXCELLENT. Our waiter was very patient and explained the dishes on each menu. It's a neighborhood restaurant without pretentions. But dining is about the whole experience, from the time you make the reservations to the time you leave, and without a doubt, overall it was a wonderful experience. Would I go back? ABSOLUTELY.

They did have quite an extensive wine list, and hefty prices came with it. We ordered a simple rosé from Provence at 36€ a bottle, which was the least expensive of the wines, but in my excitement over the food I forgot to take a photo. But overall, the price point for a near perfect meal is excellent.

With 2-three course prix-fixe, 2-two course prix-fixe, and 2-a la carte and 2-bottles of rosé our bill came to 256€ for 6-people, or close to 43€ per person.



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