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)!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Kitchen Ter(re) -- Restaurant Review


26 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris
Closed Sunday & Mondays
Metro: Jussieu (Line 7 & 10)

Bus: 89 (Institut du Monde Arabe)
Tel:  01 42 39 47 48


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+)


4.80 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell


This restaurant has only been open for a little more than a week by renowned Chef de cuisine of "Ze Kitchen Galerie" and "KGB" (Kitchen Galerie Bis) by Chef William Ledeuil. Chef Ledeuil's trademark style of cooking is using Asian ingredients, but cooking with French techniques. It wasn't that long ago that anything not traditionally French was looked down upon. In fact, I once made a "Boeuf Bourginon" with 5-spice and my French friends were appalled, "c'est pas Francais".  Now almost 10-years later the French are not only embracing new flavors, but seeking it out.

Chef Ledeuil

Chef Ledeuil spent time in Asia and in fact goes there annually to hone his culinary knowledge. Bravo for him to seek out different cuisines. Speaking to his maitre'd he told us that he encourages his staff to go to Asia every year as well, to broaden their food knowledge.




As we entered the restaurant, it was nothing extraordinary, simple, but had a very casual welcoming feel. Chef Ledeuil brought his seasoned staff from his other restaurants to help get this restaurant get off the ground. In fact, we were overwhelming surprised it was opened for little more than a week, since it was run like a fine tuned orchestra.


We told the maitre'd that we had reservations under our friends name J, he immediately informed us he knew who he was, since J has been a loyal customer of the Chef's different restaurants for years. We were given complimentary champagne from Charles Heidsieck vintners to start. Hmm, it pays to go out to lunch with celebrity food writers.

Secondly, Jack and I have not been to the "Ze Kitchen Galerie" for years, yet, the maitre'd remembered us from our last visit. Now that's classy, and gave us a warm welcoming feel that they remembered us and welcomed us back. Very personable.














Our maitre'd explained to us that they use special grains in their starch dishes from using e.g., a wheat bulgar rather than rice for the risotto. He brought out a sample and explained each one of them to us. Very impressed.











I found the menu fascinating because just from reading it appeared to be so innovative and different from most other "French" restaurants, other than ethnic restaurants. What was also comforting was that  I am very familiar with the Asian ingredients used. And, our maitre'd confirmed that his generation (born in the 90's) are better traveled and more open to changes and admitted that French cuisine needs to evolve. He himself had just come back from almost 6-weeks in Indonesia.

Meals (please refer to menu above for English translation)


ENTRÉE

Gaspacho de Tomate.  The Chef wanted us to taste one of their trademark dishes on the house. This is probably the best gazpacho I've ever had. If our maitre'd hadn't told me there was no cream it, I would have sworn there was cream in it. Makes sense since the Chef's inspiration is Asian, and Asian cuisine typically do not use dairy. This recipe is trademarked and I can see why. But our maitre'd did share with us they use different tomatoes that creates the richness and creaminess with a touch of heat and garnished with fresh herbs. I believe it also had lemongrass. One word DELICIOUS.


Tartare de boeuf. I don't normally like raw beef because I've had some bad experiences but, I decided to taste it anyway. OMG, the Chef made me a believer again. This was absolutely delicious. Normally raw beef is sort of just "eh", and needs to be flavored with olive oil, citrus and cheese as in the case of Italian carpaccio. But this tartare was flavored with different Asian spices, citrus and herbs that gave it so much flavor and freshness that he has once again made me a believer.


Crabe mou. I had ordered this entrée, although good, this was probably my least favorite entrée comparatively speaking. The croquettes were delicious and I believe they sat atop an squid ink paste. The crab was perfectly cooked, but I guess I was expecting a little more of the body. And, the accompanying frisée had a wonderful peppery bitter taste. Simple, but well executed dish.







Salade de Poulpe de Galice.  Another wow moment. Talk about titillating the palate. The octopus was perfectly cooked. It was accompanied with tomatoes, citrus, a sauce of strawberries and topped with fresh herbs, which brought a fresh component to the dish. This seems to be a common theme with all the entrées of adding fresh greens/herbs. Bravo, a big hit with all of us.






PLATS

Blesotto (Engrain) Pistou Thaï, Girolles & Pecorino. At first glance, I thought, wow this is a very strange combination of flavors. And, this dish veered from the traditional flavors of Asia since it was topped with pecorino cheese (dairy). But I have to say it all worked. The Blesotto was made from a raw wheat cornels and the "pesto" was inspired by a Thai pesto sauce, which I'm assuming the Chef used Thai basil and of course garlic. The mushrooms and pieces of tomatoes were perfect. What I thought would be a strange combination all worked beautifully in texture and taste. Even the cheese worked.



Casarecce (Epeautre) Volaille Laquée, Harissa & Citron Confit. This was Jack's favorite dish. In fact, he said it was perfection. Harissa is a North African (Maghreb) spice akin to sriracha that we're familiar with in the US. The wheat noodles were perfectly cooked al-dente and the chicken was perfectly lacquered. What distinguished this from the other dish was its spicy heat. It was perfectly seasoned, wasn't too spicy where you couldn't taste the chicken. In other words it had the right amount of heat. It had a citrus flavor from the confit, so you had a balance of sour, sweet, salty and spicy.  And, it was garnished with some fresh basil. So, hit all the flavor notes.


Girolette (engrain) Porc Ibérique, Kimchi.  J and I ordered this dish.  I was expecting this Iberian pork to be on the salty dry side, but it was anything but. It actually tasted like sweet-and-sour pork to me. The maitre'd told me it was cooked twice with the last searing on the grill lacquered with almost like a sweet hoisin sauce. The kimchi was not overwhelming and brought the dish  to another level. Overall, a delicious dish.








DESSERTS


Three had desserts. They were delicious. Looking at the menu you're going to think, WHAT? some of the combinations are strange.

Sorbet Fyord & Fraise, Melon, Pêche. This was the least exotic of the desserts. It was basically melons and peach topped with a strawberry ice sorbet. Good and simple.

Gianduja café, miso. OMG, this was so chocolatey rich and delicious. Loved this dessert. To be honest though, I did not taste the miso. Miso can be a little salty, so in combination with chocolate I can see how it works. Salt, in actuality, brings out the sweetness of chocolate.

Cappucinno, fraise, pistache, wasabi. I was never a fan of desserts with a spicy element, e.g., chocolate sprinkled with red peppers. On the other hand this was an extremely refreshing dessert. It did have a little kick from the wasabi, but it wasn't unpleasant, in fact it brought the otherwise very simple dessert to the next level and gave it a pop. So, I'm once again a believer that a little heat goes a long way with desserts.


WINES

As our usual modus operandi we ordered a bottle of white and red.

Domaine de la Janasse 2015 Côtes de Rhône. A white wine characterized a taste of fresh fruit of crushed strawberries and blackberries. Also with a crisp flavor with a hint of licorice.

La Grande Ourse 2014. A red wine from the Côtes de Rhône as well. It's characterized has having tasting notes of dense and velvety materials. It has very complex flavors.






SUMMARY

One word, WOW. Chef Ledeuil is a true culinary artist. Chapeau to the Chef. He broke the French mold and took chances to influence the French's otherwise strict, classical and rigid palette to explore other flavors of the world, but not losing French technique and/or sensibility. I remember just 10-years ago when even a hint of spice was looked down upon by the French. But with the influx of Chefs from around the world opening restaurants in Paris with foods and spices from their native countries, to classically French trained chefs traveling the world to broaden their food knowledge, what a great culinary evolution taking place in Paris, and what a great time to be in Paris.

Chef Ledeuil is known for his broths and sauces and of course his use of Asian flavors. Although the menu was heavy on Asian products there were other influences from e.g., Galicia and also North Africa. The gazpacho was out of this world, the entrées were all delicious and although I'm not a dessert person, I have to say they were good. The staff seemed genuinely happy. In fact, one of his apprentices, our maitre'd, had worked for Chef Ledeuil since he was 17 and he's now 27. He had nothing but praise for the chef. And, the other staff all seemed extremely happy. It says a lot and showed in their enthusiasm when describing the dishes, and serving them. So, the service was beyond reproach. This is one of the best meals I've had in our almost 10-years of living in Paris. Will we come back? ABSOLUTELY. I'm afraid it's going to get so popular that I may not get in anymore.

For 4-entrées (soup comped), 4-plats, 3-desserts, 3-coffees, 1-tea, 2-bottles of wine, our bill came to 192€ or 48€ per person. What a great deal for an excellent meal.










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