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)!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Fulgurances -- Restaurant Review




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+)


3.75 - Star......................................................€......................................................... 3 - Bell

I'm sure everyone by now has heard of the "Pop-Up Restaurants" concept. Friends had read about this place and recommended we go. The concept is easy. They have stationary restaurant and invite several different chefs to cook for a certain period. For example our Chef was Céline Pham who is slotted from March to September 2017. This is not only to introduce the chef, but also have the chef showcase their food and style.

10, rue Alexandre Dumas 11eme
Tel: 01 43 48 14 59
Opened Tuesday-Friday lunch & Dinner
Metro: Rue des Boulets (9)
Website: http://fulgurances.com/en/

This restaurant sits a little under 40-tables. We had a late lunch reservation, 1:45 pm. As we entered we noticed it was packed. A good sign. When I say they squeeze tables, I'm not exaggerating. The restaurant was so tight, it was actually a little uncomfortable for me, since my chair touched the chair of the person behind me. We sat at a round table for 4, but it was butt up against a wall so we could only occupy 3/4 of the table. In order to facilitate service I had to constantly squeeze forward so the server could squeeze between us. And, mind you. We sat next to the toilette, and if people came by and didn't look where they were going they'd literally hit their head on the stair rail.


The prices for the prix-fixe lunches were extremely reasonably priced. The Chef's background is Vietnamese. The menu reflected her Asian background, but the menu focused more on the Japanese flavors.


ENTRÉE

Tataki de boeuf. Thin slices of beef (carpaccio). One friend ordered this dish. Tataki is a Japanese term that is used to described how meat or fish is served. It can be very quickly seared, but more often it is served raw. This dish was a sweet and sour dish or yin-yang carpaccio. The sour component was the quickly vinegared marinated thin slices of beef and the sweet component was the sweet noodles that the beef sat atop. Hard to do a quick marinate, to prevent the meat from turning gray because of the acidity, but she her knew timing. It was garnished with watercress and carrots . I liked this dish for its tasting contrasts. The sweet balanced the sour.



Haddock. Three of us had the haddock entrée. The dish was flavored with bergamot (citrus fruit similar to a lemon).  I'm  starting to get the impression there's a theme/personality to the chef's food. The chef seems to like vinegary/citrus flavors, which is fine with me. The haddock was salt cured, so if you don't like salt, this is not the dish for you. I happen to like salt, and the potatoes with the creme fraîche counterbalanced the sourness/saltiness. It was also served with sweet cucumbers and yellow summer squash. It its simplicity the dish was citrusy, but balanced with the other ingredients. Flavor wise, I don't think the basil was needed, but it did make for a pretty presentation.


PLATS

Tonkatsu. (breaded deep fried pork cutlet). Two of us, including myself got the last 2-tonkatsus, lucky us.  This dish had a lot of flavors going on. The pork cutlet was cooked perfectly. Unfortunately, the mild curry sauce poured over the cutlet made the tonkatsu lose some of its crunchiness. The dish had sweet potatoes which was a nice counter-balance to the very sour confit de citron (lemon confit). It was garnished with arroche also known as "false spinach" and sweet pea pods. I would've liked the dish a lot more if it didn't have the curry sauce over the the cutlet. It wasn't the flavoring so much as the fact that the tonkatsu lost some of its characteristic crunchiness. I did like this dish because of the differing sauces and vegetables and the contrast and its uniqueness in flavor, but sometimes less is more.


Bonite. (Bonito fish from the tuna family). This was probably my favorite plat. The fish was cooked perfectly, nicely seared on the outside and tender on the inside. It sat atop some sweet black rice with some citrus Asian slaw with cooked radishes. Again, there was a yin-yang of sour components with sweet components.











DESSERT

Tatin de Bananes. (Banana tart).  The group shared this dessert. The tatin was covered with caramelized pecans with a dollop of coconut ice cream. The dessert almost looked like a pecan pie. I tasted a little of it, and it was good, but I happen to like flaky crust, but this was a softer crust. But overall a very good dessert which wasn't overly sweet.









WINE


Côt à Côt, Noella Morantin. We originally ordered a cabarnet franc red wine, but apparently they were out of it and the server brought a similar bottle suggesting that it had the same 'spirit'; a malbec. We accepted. This wine is characterized has having notes of red fruits, cocoa, cinnamon, and prune. It was very good and went well with our meals.














SUMMARY

I love pop-ups and pop up restaurants. They introduce us to new chefs or chefs wanting to introduce new food flavors/experiences. Keep one thing in mind when you come to this restaurant, you're NOT coming for the ambience, you're coming solely for the food. It's a tight squeeze, and it's very noisy. This particular restaurant usually changes chefs on an average of every 3-months. However, chef Céline Pham will be featured through September 2017. Just like fashion, there's a certain style/flavor that identifies a chef. I'm pretty sure I could identify her cooking style if I were to be blindfolded. Her flavors are definitely Asian inspired, bold and wasn't masked with all the heavy creams or butter as most classical french dishes. The only cream I noticed was the dollop of creme fraîche in the haddock entrée. I rated higher than I would normally because it is a pop-up, so the food is the featured star, and not the ambience. Would we go back before chef Céline is finishes her term, absolutely.

With three 2-course prix-fixe, One 3-course prix-fixe and a bottle of wine, our bill came to 115€ or 58€ a couple. The price can't be beat!

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