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)!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Les Saisons -- Restaurant Review


52 Rue Lamartine, 75009
tel: 01 48 78 15 18
Mail: Lesaisons@hotmail.fr
Metro Line 7 (Cadet ou Pelletier), Line 12 (ND de Lorette or St. Georges)
Website: http://www.restaurant-les-saisons.com/


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+)


2.95 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell


This restaurant is in the 9eme, just around the corner from the church "Notre-Dame-de-Lorette" and very near to the line 12-metro. So, it's in an easy location to get to. The 9eme has transformed to a food destination where there are many good places to choose from, and also a number of ethnic restaurants. It has transformed quite a bit since we moved here in 2008. I made dinner reservations online through "La Fourchette" and it was odd, my preferred reservation time for dinner is 8 pm or 8:30 pm, but I could only make reservations for 7:30 pm or 9:30 pm, hmm, then it dawned on me that maybe they turn tables. Never-the-less, I heard good things about the restaurant, so we decided to go. We were six people.


The interior is tight, but there is an upstairs dining area as well. The staff are extremely nice and extremely helpful, in fact very attentive, and I'll explain later. We got there promptly at 7:30 pm, but one of our companions was a little late, maybe 20-minutes. She didn't even have time to say hello before the waiter came by and asked can I please take your order now? Odd I thought, why the rush on a Friday night.



There was an a la carte menu as well as a "Chef Suggestions". According to La Fourchette if you order a la carte, you get a 30% discount. If you order a prix-fixe, there is no discount. But that didn't matter to us, we just wanted to eat what looked good to us.

Note: Not that I was expecting it, but there was no "amuse bouche" typically served at restaurants in Paris.









Entrée

Artichauts poivrade cuits en barigoule et parmesan (purple artichokes cooked in a white white sauce with shavings of parmesan). Normally, purple artichokes are shaved thin and eaten raw, but these were braised in a barigoule (wine sauce). They were actually very good. This salad had everything including the kitchen sink. It had ham, baked tomatoes, parmesan cheese, mache, and even pomegranate seeds. Surprisingly, as busy as this salad was it all came together. The saltiness of the ham and cheese complimented well with the rest of the dish. So, this was a hit for me.




Plat


Pluma pata negra, concassé de tomates (Iberian pork shoulder with crushed tomatoes). Having lived in Spain, this reminded me a lot of the Spanish way of cooking pork, where the outside meat or skin is crispy and the interior is moist. Some Americans may find this too dry, but I like this style of cooking the pork shoulder, makes it less fatty. Now what I wasn't particularly fond of was the "crushed tomatoes" I thought it tasted like tomato paste directly from the can and strategically put in different spots on the plate. Plus I found it tart. However, my companions who had it liked the concentrate of tomatoes and the tartness.  The pork had a sprinkling of mache for greens, it seems the Chef likes mache. And, it came with a bowl of fries. Because of the way the fries were cut I assumed they would be crispy, but they were more shaped like fries, but were actually baked, so not crispy. Overall, it was a good dish, but nothing out of the ordinary.


Dessert

Strawberries are in season, so a few of us got the strawberries with the melba and whip cream, very simple dish, but the star was definitely the strawberries. One had the Chocolate mousse, it was almost like a deconstructed profiteroles. He thought it was delicious. And, I had the roquefort cheese.









Wine



Fache Mornay, Morgon Corinne et Vincent Fache 2014.  We ordered 2-bottles. This is a beaujolais wine generally made of the gamay grapes. Gives off a nose of blackcurrant and spices, a wine with ripe tannins but rich, with a warm mouth. This wine is characterized as a garnet color wine with tasting notes of cooked fruits, violets and gives off a nose of blackcurrant and spices.














SUMMARY

The food was good, I'd give it an overall 3 star rating over 5, the service was EXCELLENT, definitely a 4.5 star rating, the staff could not have been any friendlier. I had a suspicion the restaurant turns table when I originally tried to make reservations for dinner online for 8 pm, but could only make it for either 7:30 pm or 9:30 pm. I don't have problems with that, but it's unusual in Paris and I like to be told upfront. Another suspicion was when our friend was 20-minutes late, she didn't even have time to peruse the menu and immediately the waiter had to take our order, hmm, hence the over attentiveness.  Next clue was they didn't bring JJ's tea after dessert, nor could we order a digestif (after dinner drink).  And, lastly, the waiter tried to make light humor of the fact that the front of the house manager was getting worried and upset because they had our table reserved for another group of 6 at 9:30 and they were waiting outside. Before we knew it our bill was shoved in our face and we needed to leave. FYI, we left at 9:35 pm.  Initially, I was ANGRY. Seriously, on a Friday night? no time for tea or digestifs? Now this is where they could have corrected their error. At the ONSET of our reservations they could've told us that they turned tables and we would need to be out of there by 9:30 pm and would that be ok? If not, we could've selected another restaurant. For this reason, I lowered their overall rating. Dining should be about the "whole experience" from when you make reservations, until you say good-bye and hopefully say, see you again.

I understand the concept of turning tables, that's what we do in the US, but in Paris? Where long leisurely meals for hours is the norm. Typically when you reserve a table in Paris, it's yours for the whole evening. BUT I want to be told upfront, because for many of us a meal out is a social event. As Americans we are used to this, but I hope this is not going to become a trend in Paris, then it'll just become like any other big city in the US. We felt that there was something incomplete about our evening out.

For 6-entrées, 6-plats, 4-desserts, 1-cheese plate, 2-bottles of wine, 2-coffees, 2-glasses of rosé the bill came to approximately 86€ a couple, which is extraordinary reasonable. But keep in mind we got a 30% discount from La Fourchette for ordering a-la-carte.

Would I go again? For a "quickie", but not for a social meal.

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