|Forum des Halles La Canopée 75001 Paris|
Phone: 01 53 45 84 50
Hours: 11:30 am to 12 pm Monday-Thursday
11:30 am to 1 am Friday-Sunday
Metro: Châtelet or Les Halles
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......................................................€€€......................................................... 1 - Bell
I was never a fan of the old "Les Halles"; it was a run down "seedy" area of Paris. But with the revitalization beginning 2010 it has really transformed. If you walked around, it has the feel of a US mega-mall of yester-year. It has really, really transformed. Some would hate the modernism and the feeling that you could be anywhere, but I sorta like the new area.
The restaurant is an Alain Ducasse creation, but at the helm is Chef Bruno Brangea, who himself has worked at some pretty notable restaurants. The restaurant by any standard is enormous. As you enter, you see a huge American style bar, in fact a cocktail bar.
The restaurant is very modern. There are long booths and tables, lots of windows that give it a very open feel, and there is also al-fresco dining, if you prefer. The restaurant is billed as a cocktail/bar restaurant. And, the mixologist is French Canadian Marjolaine Arpin, unfortunately, she wasn't there, but would be doing a later shift, we were told.
We were seated by the bar, how apropos. What caught our eyes was the huge "black board"on the wall, and it would update, just as they do at European train stations, noise and all. We found it gimmicky, but loved it.
We perused the menu, now I have to say this is definitely a departure from the French style menus we're use to. It was a very "American Style" menu. It almost felt like the sports bar menus we have in the U.S. They also had the special of the day, which was odd, because they ran out of the special before we even had a chance to order, oh well. Also, the English translation online was really, really off, unless they had substitutions for the day. For example, the "Roasted fillet of duckling with peach" was actually duck with figs, not peach. Fortunately, we had the French menu, and it was much more accurate. To be fair, it might also be because they change the menu daily, hence, the menus are not synchronized with their online menu.
Note: As an aside, if you can read French, always order from a French menu. Many times, the English translated menus are incorrect. For example, one time I saw "Breath of duck", when it should've been "Breast of duck".
Normally, I do not like cocktails in Paris. They're usually never made right, and they're very light in the alcohol department. Our wait-person told us that the bartender was trained in"Cafe in Paris")
Lobster Soufflé. I shared the lobster soufflé with a friend. As it came, we were told to punch a hole
Eggplant with pesto- This was a very simple entrée, 3-chunks of eggplant nicely seasoned with a pesto, but the pesto and accompanying sauces had strong notes of citrus, which was great for JJ since he likes all things sour, but not so good for me.
Entrecôte (ribeye steak). I had the rib eye steak and you had several choices of accompaniments, I selected it with fries. And, you also had different choices for an accompanying sauce, I selected a shallot sauce. I ordered the steak cooked medium rare, or in French, "a point". For most Americans this steak would be a little tough because the steak is grass fed versus grain fed as in the US and thus is not as marbled. I liked it, it was good, but nothing out of the ordinary.
CHINON--DOMAINE Bernard Baudry. Is a wine from the central Loire Valley. The typical quintessential Chinon wine is tannic, leafy, berry-scented Cabernet Franc. I liked it because it was a very light red.
From what I've read, it is said this restaurant is not for everyone. And, I would agree. If you're looking for a typical Parisian restaurant, you can forget it. It's very industrial, high-tech, and net-net has a very modern feel. Surprisingly though, not un-cozzy. It also has some charm such as the old rail station signage. Although it's located in a mall, it is anything but mall food. It's an enormous restaurant by any standards, but what impressed me most was the charm and personalization of the service despite the size. The service was beyond reproach.
It is billed as a cocktail/bar restaurant. As for the cocktails, the assistant bartender had textbook knowledge of cocktail recipes, but not quite there yet with the execution. Our wait-person did say we should come back when the bartender arrives later that day. But I give lots of points to the assistant bartender and the restaurant for replacing our cocktails, without question, to our liking.
As for the food, oddly, they don't quite yet have their quantities in sync with their anticipated volume of diners. So, from our perspective it was weird that they were out their special of the day by 12:45 pm, when we ordered. The train station departure board had several off menu items on it when we entered the empty restaurant at 12:30 and by 12:45 the board was cleared. And during our meal the board kept updating about stuff that would be available later in the afternoon for their 'afternoon' (not lunch) service. We agreed the soufflés were excellent. The plats were good, but nothing out of the ordinary. This is a great place to go if you are in the area, or need to shop and are hungry for a meal or just want a cocktail. My overall rating would've been lower, however, the service and ambience bumped it up. It is an above average restaurant that has the potential to becoming a "go-to-place". Bottom line they do need to do some fine tuning such as getting the bartender's assistant more training and knowledge. But I am very confident that will happen over time. Would we return, ABSOLUTELY.
With 5-cocktails, 1 large bottle of water, 4-entrées, 6-plats, bottle of wine, 2-glasses of rosé and 1-coffee our bill came to 60€ per person for 6-people.