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)!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Montée -- Restaurant Review


9, rue Leopold Robert 75014
Tel: 01.43.25.57.63
Metro: Montparnasse 

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 - Bell

The 14eme is close to our home, so we often go to the heart of the 14eme, Montparnasse, to meet friends for drinks. Today our friend J recommended we go to a new restaurant called Montée. As we got close, we thought we were lost because there was no signage. But there was a familiar looking restaurant that we had been to before called "Sur le Fil". Turns out it was bought out by Chef Takayuki Namesura and his wife and they haven't been able to change the signage yet. Knowing France, it takes an act of God because of all the bureaucracy to change a sign, so I think it'll remain "Sur le Fil" on the canopy for a bit.


This is not a large restaurant, based on what I counted there were 28 seats in total, some in the front, the hallway cubby to the back, and back area. Small, but did not feel crowded.



This restaurant offers only a tasting menu. There were 8-courses, without an a la carte menu. However, they will ask you if you're allergic to anything and they will easily change it out.



















Before we began our tasting menu, along with aperitifs we ordered, we were given an amuse bouche of caramelized walnuts. I never really considered having a sweet morsel for an amuse bouche, but it was actually good with our aperitifs.








1st course -- Morue.  It was a cod mixture with a mayonnaise based binding agent. It was served with a wheat bread. Surprisingly the bread was not heavy and was quite light. The crust was crunchy, just the way I like it. We all agreed this was a simple and delicious start and the cod was delicious.




2nd course -- avocat/thon/asperge verte. Now this dish was beautifully composed. Imagine using avocado as a casing around asparagus. I would be nervous about the avocat turning brown. Atop of the roll were black shaved truffles with edible flowers. Inside is chopped tuna which gave the dish a nice surprise, and the the asparagus was perfectly cooked. This dish was not only beautiful presented, but was very refreshing, since it is served cold.


3rd course -- Calamar/noix de coco. This was a calamari served with bulgur wheat and a side of "shiso"  liqueur foam. What interesting flavor combinations. First of all the calamari was perfectly cooked tender, not rubbery at all. And, the bulgur gave it a nice starch element. But what was really surprising was the Shiso liqueur foam. Shiso is a green herb similar to mint. It was really a nice surprise to the palette. It literally tickled your palette because it is effervescent and a nice unexpected flavor explosion.





4th course -- Turbot/oseilles/coque.  I have to say, the Japanese know how to prepare and cook fish really well. The turbot was poached and topped with fresh julienne oseilles, which gave it that added freshness. It was also served with leeks and a thin slice of cockle. I thought the whole dish was excellent, but our friend J was not as enthused as we were with the leeks. 



5th course -- Cochon/lentilles germées.  A pork dish. Interestingly to note, at every single course they changed out our utensils, as they should, but we got to choose the color knifes we wanted for the meat course. Very playful. At first I thought it was pork belly, but it wasn't fatty enough. The pork was succulent and had a little sweetness to it. And, what I particularly liked was the sprouted lentils. Oftentimes lentils are cooked til they're mushy, these had a bite to them. I also believe he added a little citrus to cut some of the fat. I loved this dish.


6th course --  Pomme/safran/cidre.  I was so impressed at this stage, I said, pourquoi pas (why not) have dessert, so I did. And, am I glad I did. The 4-tubes encasing the apples was actually one piece. The casing was a light crispy wafer, how he baked it into one piece and filling it without cracking is genius. The flavor profile combination was great. Fruit, crunchy and soft (vanilla ice cream infused with saffron). It wasn't overwhelmingly sweet, which I liked, so it was worth breaking my dietary no sugar rule.


7th & 8th course -- Marron & Oreillettes.  At the end of this amazing feast we had a candied chestnut and eaten with sugared delicate wafers. The chestnuts almost tasted like it was a jellied candy. How he achieved this is anyone's guess. Overall, I don't think we needed the last 2 since at this point I was already full, but they certainly were good.









WINES -- Medoc and two glasses of their house white wine. J and JJ both liked the red wine. This particular medoc is known for their soft tannins and a little spicy and some describe as having smoky black cherries flavors.

I had 2-glasses of their house white wine, they featured 2-choices. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask what they were. But they did let me taste the two different wines so I could make a selection.










SUMMARY

This is an unassuming small restaurant tucked away on a small side street of the otherwise busy Montparnasse area of the 14eme. It's only been open for 3-months. Amazingly enough Chef Takayuki came to France just a year and half ago. Imagine opening up a restaurant and learning French real quick. Very impressive I must add. Now onto the food. It is a tasting menu, and there was no a la carte menu, but you can make substitutions. At first glance, you're thinking, there's no way I can finish 8-courses, but the portions were perfect. I'm not a big eater but I was surprised that I was able to finish all the courses. The food is excellent. The service impeccable. Imagine changing out the silverware 8 different times. What was very playful was when the meat course came, they asked us what color knife we would like. I have to say I pretty much liked everything, but didn't think it necessary to have 7th and 8th course. Although the Japanese know how to prepare and cook fish perfectly, if I had to choose which was my favorite, probably the pork. Would we go back, ABSOLUTELY.  I highly recommend going before it becomes difficult to get a reservation.

For 3-people, 3-tasting menus, 1-pastis, 4-glasses of wine, a bottle of medoc and a coffee our meal came to 207€ or 69€ a person.

Note: Since we were the only customers for lunch, I couldn't gauge the noise level; however, based on my experience with "Sur le Fil" I rated it accordingly.


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