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, July 26, 2017

Ristorantino Shardana -- Restaurant Review


134 Rue du Theatre, 75015
Open for lunch & Dinner Monday-Saturday 
Tel: 06 25 19 53 07
Metro (8) Commerce
website: https://www.ristorantinoshardana.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+)


3.25 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell



Our close friend Marie walks by this restaurant a lot and has been wanting to try so we jumped at the chance when she said she wanted to go and would we be interested. It's in our neighborhood in the 15eme off of Rue du Commerce.


This restaurant is a really, tiny, but a cozy restaurant. There are only 22 seats in the whole restaurant. Our wait-person told us that the restaurant had actually been open for about 2-years, how did we miss this?


We perused the menu. As typical with most Italian style restaurants you have an appetizer (entrée), a pasta dish, and a protein dish (fish, meat or fowl), and of course followed by dessert. There was no way we could eat the typical Italian meal and include pasta as well, so we opted for an entrée and a plat principal (main), which in our case would be a pasta dish.

A little bit about Sardinia that I learned about. First of all Sardinia is the 2nd largest island in the Mediterranean. They had their own culture and language similar to "old latin", but as integration happened, Italian unified them into Italy, but with a regional dialect and some differences in cuisine.  One distinguishing feature of their cuisine from mainland Italy is their fondness for beans, e.g., lentils, lava, chick peas, etc. And, in Italy they are known for their cheeses, and they are the main exporters of cavallo cheese (a type of caciocavallo) and salso cheese (a salted sheep’s cheese like pecorino cheese), and used widely in flavoring and adding to dishes. Interestingly though, since they are close to the ocean, you would think that their cuisine would be more from the ocean, not the mountains as what happened, so sheep etc., were favored. This has changed dramatically over the years and seafood is now a main source of their diet.



We were given a regular baguette and then their local bread called, Pane Carasau or Carta da Musica It's a Sardinian bread, shaped into thin disks, almost like flat round matzo bread. It is believed that it was made so shepherds in Sardinia could take them to the pastures since they keep well. I got one that was a tad soggy, but the next one was nice and crispy. I rather enjoyed it.


ENTRÉES

Charcuterie de sardine. (Cold cuts) Our wait-person told us that they actually serve 2-additional charcuterie, but today they only had the sliced smoked ham and salami. Jack said that was fine. Both were delicious, especially the ham. It was a nice mellow ham akin to Iberica jambon, but not aged as long. And, the salami was also good.










Cerveau de veau frit avec salade de asperges et mayonnaise à la moutarde et poivre vert. (Fried veal brain with asparagus salad and mayonnaise with mustard and green pepper). I liked this dish. Who doesn't like fried croquettes of veal brain? The asparagus was sliced thinly and a perfect accompaniment. The mayonnaise was delicious and not overwhelming. Only minor complaint I have is that it was overly breaded for my taste. But other than that a nice all around entrée.





Poulpe soutes a la poêle avec creme de courgette et petit tomate confit. (Octopus in the pan with courgette cream and small tomato confit). The octopus was perfectly cooked. It was slightly smoky and charred. Now this is the problem with this dish was for me. The zucchini sauce was overly salted. And, the octopus was also salted, but worked well had it been on its own. Keep in mind, I have a very high tolerance for salt, but I could not even finish the sauce and just ate the octopus. I understand having a heavy hand salting e.g., pork, but vegetables? So, this was not a hit for me at all. It would've been perfect had the chef not have a heavy hand with the salt. So, this was a miss.




PLATS



Linguine palourdes, moules et asperges. (Linguine clams, mussels and asparagus). In its simplicity this dish was a good dish. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the shellfish were not overdone and quite succulent. The asparagus still had a nice crunch to it, so overall a good dish, but nothing out of the ordinary.



Paccheri avec creme de aubergine fumeé et ragoût blanc de porc. (Paccheri pasta with smoked eggplant cream and white pork stew). I ordered this dish and I liked it a lot. The fat round pasta was stuffed with a mild pork and the creaminess of the eggplant with cheeses just made this a very, very flavorful dish. They did give us a side of, I'm assuming, their Sardinian pecorino style cheese, and I added some and brought it the next level. I enjoyed this dish a lot.






Tortelli avec endive rouge et ricotta avec sauce gorgonzola et noix. (Tortelli with red endive and ricotta with gorgonzola and walnut sauce). A pretty dish with all the tortellini line up like little soldiers in a creamy cheese sauce. My first bite was, wow, you cannot mistake the gorgonzola flavor. It was distinct, but not unpleasant to the palate, assuming you like blue cheese. I'm not a big fan of nuts with pasta, with the exception of maybe pine nuts. Good thing, cause I avoided tasting it; however, Marie did and mentioned that the whole walnuts were a little rancid. Oh well.


DESSERT


Sevada or Sebada. (A flaky pastry filled with cheese and drizzled with honey). As many of you know, I don't eat desserts but Marie and Jack shared this, I did take a little taste and it was reminiscent of a lot of middle eastern sweets sort of like "baklava", but filled with cheese. We were told the pastry was stuffed with ricotta, but it tasted more like "string cheese" to me. But I have to admit the honey with the savory cheese was a great combination, and the crunchiness of the dough made it a complete dessert.


WINES

COSTAMOLINO fermentino di Sardegna Argiolas.  This Italian white is known for it's straw yellow color with light green reflections. Flavor profiles are: Subtle, intense and delicate, with good primary and secondary aromas. As for the palate it is fresh and dry, sapid, with a delicate and pleasant sensation.

Carrasegare isola dei nuraghi rosso.  An Italian red wine with grapes from Bovale, Cannonau, Monica and Sangiovese. It has a ruby color with an intense scent and has a nose reminiscent of ripen plum. On the palate it is warm, full bodied and slightly tannic.  And Jack and Marie loved it.


SUMMARY

Sardinia has a lot of similarities as well as differences with their mainland brothers and sisters in Italy. They also have a lot of similarities with other countries including France, in particular southern France, and north Africa. In fact, they have a pasta called "fregola" which is very similar to couscous. I thought this restaurant was above average. The pasta dishes were delicious. Service excellent. I believe it's family owned and run. There were some tasting errors, however, that I can't overlook like the inedible saltiness of my entrée as well as the rancid walnuts (both easy fixes), but over-all, it's worth going back and trying other dish.


For 3-people: 3-entrées, 3-plats, 1-dessert, 1-full bottle of red wine, 1/2 bottle of white wine and 2-coffees our bill came to 149€ or almost 50€ a person.


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