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, May 27, 2017

Divellec -- Restaurant Review


18, rue Fabert 75007
Tel: 01 45 51 91 96
Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner
Website: http://www.divellec-paris.fr/en/
Metro Invalide (8 & 13)
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+)


1.75 - Star......................................................€€€......................................................... 3 - Bell


A friend J had recommended we go to this restaurant. It's a stone's throw away from "Les Invalides".  He had been here a few times in the past 40-years when it was still owned by M.Divellect himself. In September 2016, it was bought by Michelin starred Chef Michel Pacaud who happens to be the son of famed chef Bernard Pacaud. He has restaurants around the world and these are the ones that garnered michelin stars: L’ambroisie (3-stars), Hexagone (1-star), and Histoires (2-stars).  He is the first French chef to have obtained three Michelin stars in a row. So, he's got quite the pedigree and rightfully so our expectations were quite high.



The restaurant is quite large. It takes up a corner of half the block. It's quite airy and open. We were seated on the extreme end across from the park.   I guess for lunch time they squeeze all the patrons on that end to make service easier, understandable. We sat in a semi-booth, unfortunately we sat next to some very loud people. As we walked in, the very first thing I noticed was that english was spoken everywhere. Not a good sign.



WARNING: this restaurant is VERY expensive. 

As we perused the menu, there were a few prix-fixes. 49€ for 3-courses, 90€ for 4-courses and 210€ for 7-courses.

J and I selected 3-courses prix-fixe since neither one of us are big eaters. And, Jack decided to order a-la-carte, because the prix-fixe did not excite him.

Note: this restaurant specializes in seafood.

A-la-carte Menu




Amuse bouche was a small spreadable seafood paté. Our wait person said it was sardines, but it was definitely tuna. It was served with very thinly sliced toasted baguettes. This was nothing special. Anyone with basic cooking skills could've made this. 















ENTRÉE

Œuf mollet, velouté de céleri à la badiane. (Poached egg, velvety celery with star-anise). The dish was pretty enough, but looks can be deceiving. I have one description for this dish, BLAND. Cold dishes normally need to have a heavy hand with spices, but it was so under seasoned that we had to ask for salt/pepper. Interestingly, unrequested our wait-person also gave us some olive oil, hmmm? what does that tell you? Only flavor came from the smoked eel bits. And, the only saving grace for this dish was the poached egg. It was perfectly cooked. This dish should either be improved upon or just plain removed from the menu.



Coques-couteaux, marinère aux épines vinettes (Razor clams with marinière of "berberis" sauce).  Jack ordered this dish. Normally the clam is quite long, but they were sliced into small round disks and placed back into what looked the original shell. It was served with some greens and tomatoes. The dish was good, the clams were cooked perfectly and although I did not taste the star anise, it did have a nice citrusy flavor, but it was nothing out of the ordinary.



PLATS

Merlu de ligne, fenouils, pommes de terre confites de Noirmoutier et sauce bouillabaisse. (Hake, fennel, candied potatoes of Noirmoutier and sauce bouillabaisse). Beautifully presented. Ah, nice change. There was actually some flavor in this dish. The bouillabaisse was rich and tasty. The potatoes were tasty and cooked in the style of Noirmoutier, an island off of France. Now keep in mind the star of this dish is the hake, one word, OVERCOOKED. How does a restaurant who specializes in seafood overcook their fish? Whoever cooked this fish needs to go back to "cooking fish 101."




Bar, enroulée de poivrons doux, extraction d’une sauce piperade. (Sea bass, coiled sweet peppers, extraction of a "piperade" sauce). Fortunately, this time the fish was cooked much better. Moist and tender. It was topped with pureed red peppers and the sauce, although had espelette (basque spicy red pepper), lacked flavor. It was an underwhelming dish for 55€.  It came with a side dish of chopped zucchini.


DESSERTS

J had the strawberry dessert that comes with the prixe-fixe and Jack had the raspberry dessert. The desserts were good. In fact, I think this was the only thing the guys liked on the menu. But, as Jack said, you could get this at any café/bistro and even at some of our local patisserie. Although good, they were nothing special.










I asked, since I don't eat sugar, could they replace the sweet dessert for cheese. They obliged. Unbeknownst to me until I got the bill, they charged me an extra 18€ for the privilege. I had the cheese plate, and I have to say this was the redemption dish. But, like I always say, you can't go wrong with cheese in France. After-all they are the experts. From my recollection I had the chèvre, brebis, tomme de savoie, camembert, young chèvre and believe a slightly aged cow cheese. I finished them all. Surprisingly enough though, I had eaten half a piece of baguette, so the wait-person left it for me to eat with the cheese. I assumed he'd come back with more bread. Never did, nor did he ask if I wanted more. Fortunately, I don't eat much bread.


WINES 

Jean-luc Colombo 2015 Les Collines de Laure.  A white wine where the Provençal grape Rolle (aka Vermentino) is used. Characterized with having fresh citrus acidity and peach, orchard fruit and herb notes. Excellent wine.

Les Augstins, Les Bambins, pic saint loup. A red languedoc. Jack originally ordered something else, but our sommelier suggested we try this wine, which was only 5€ more than the original Jack requested. We were happy we took his advise. This was a great red wine.  This red wine had a slightly oak taste with hints of black fruits. Excellent choice. I do want to add that our sommelier know his "stuff." 


MIGNARDISES (PARTING SWEETS) -- I would expect with this type of expensive restaurant, we would have some. So, none to report. 


SUMMARY 

One word describes this restaurant well, UNDERWHELMED, second word EXPENSIVE. It was so unmemorable, I actually had a hard time recalling what we had, and we just had our meal yesterday? The entrées were just "meh"? But what shocked me the most was the overcooked hake. Keep in mind this restaurant's specialty is seafood.  From underwhelmed, under seasoned, and an overcooked plat, the only redeeming dish for me was the cheese and the wines, which neither is made by the restaurant. As for the service, it seemed rushed. In fact, one server wanted to clear the plates before one of us even finished? I understand that the Chef has restaurants all over the world and has won several Michelin stars for OTHER restaurants, but he really should focus some attention on this restaurant. It is an overly priced tourist trap. Would we go back? ABSOLUTELY NOT. We'll leave it for the tourist. 

For 2 prix-fixe meals (3-courses), 1 a-la carte (3-courses), 2-bottles of wine, 2-glasses of additional wine, 1-coffee, 1-tea our insult to injury came to 353€ ($395) for 3-people, 118€ ($132) per person. I took price into consideration for my overall review. 

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