About

"The evolving 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)!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

L'Atelier Maître Albert -- Restaurant Review


1, rue Maître Albert 75005
Tel: +33 1 56 81 30 01
Website: http://www.ateliermaitrealbert.com/
Transportation: Maubert Mutualitié 10)
Opened for lunch every day but Saturday & Sunday. Open for dinner 7/7


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



It ain't easy finding a restaurant in August or for that matter on a week-end, as most locals know. So, I was tasked for finding a restaurant for a Saturday evening. I thought why not go close by to our friends KO's home on the Ile St. Louis. This restaurant has been around a long time. The brain child of famed chef Guy Savoy and architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte.



The interior is lovely. There are 3-separate rooms. A room to the right with tables for dining as well as wine tasting with a very long bar. The wall was filled with wines. The 2nd room was a private cozier smaller dining area. And, then lastly we had the main dining room with colorful paintings and a full view of the rotisseries, where we sat.


Amuse Bouche. As we sat and perused the menu we were given an amuse bouche of a small cup of cold mildly thickened broth, a savory sablé cookie, and a thick dried sausage. I didn't care much for the cold soup, it really didn't have a real distinguishable flavor to me. But the other ingredients were good.










Note: We ordered several dishes, but I'm only reviewing the dishes I tasted. However, for the desserts. I relied on comments, since I don't eat sugar.


ENTRÉES



Fresh seasonal salad and sauteed chicken livers. I ordered this dish, and it was a really good start. The chicken livers were nicely cooked with seared little bits of crispiness on the outside, and nice and tender inside. The mixed greens were good as well. It was seasoned with a sweet vinaigrette dressing and accompanied with toasted baguettes. Overall a good, simple dish.








Around the tomato 2017. The title of this dish is what you'd expect. A medley of tomatoes from around the world. There were beef tomatoes, yellow tomatoes and some zebra tomatoes. It was a good dish to have since it was a warm August night and tasted very refreshing. The tomatoes were beautifully sourced and naturally delicious. It was accompanied by burrata cheese, herbs with a bread that interestingly had raisins it it. I suppose to offset some of the sourness of the tomatoes. It was a good dish, but nothing out of the ordinary.




PLATS


Fish of the day "Merlu" (Hake). Jack ordered this dish. It was beautifully presented, but that's where it sort of ended. The fish was extremely bland. It sat on a bed of green herbs. This dish really needed something to bring it to the next level. Maybe some flavored oil, or added some slices of lemon or lime to just give a little zing. Not at all a memorable dish.








Spit-Roasted free-range chicken. The majority of us ordered the chicken. I have to say the chicken was perfectly cooked. The breast was tender and it was accompanied with a jus. The only problem with this dish, it lacked any real flavor. It was so under seasoned, we were literally fighting for the salt and pepper. The jus did have some flavor. Maybe a sprinkling of flavored salt, even a thicker richer sauce, could've been used to give this dish some character.





Note: With all our mains, we were served a side of Spinach and mushroom gratin. Now this was the only savory dish to me that had any real flavor and richness. It was a very good side dish. But how can you go wrong with a gratin. Jack's side was a medley of bell peppers which was quite bland.


DESSERTS


Dark chocolate and crispy praline. It was deliciously chocolaty but not rich in flavor. The praline cakes added a touch of crunch. A very good dessert. In fact my best friend who had this dish, said it was the highlight dish of the evening.














Grapefruit terrine and tea sauce. A very, very simple dish. But the grapefruit was deliciously fresh and it was clever to make it into a terrine, but otherwise it was just basically some grapefruit pieces.






Wines:  We had a white and a red.

Guy Savoy Chardonnay. This was his namesake wine. It was actually pretty good. It was a full bodied white Chardonnay with tasting notes of vanilla, butter and some citrus.

Chinon. What surprised us about this particular wine that it was served very cold. When I say cold, refrigerated cold. Not like Brouilly's that are served mildly cool. So, this is a new way of serving this wine for us. It's a light to medium bodied Cabernet Franc wine, characterized of having tasting notes of vegetal characteristics, in particular green bell peppers.



SUMMARY

This is a fairly large restaurant and can accommodate a lot of people. I would say more than half of the people were English speakers, so the servers can speak English. The ambience was great, but it didn't have that quintessentially Parisian vibe. It could be any restaurant in the US. The prices have been slashed and made more affordable. It wasn't that long ago where the restaurant was able to command much higher prices. Now onto the food. The quality of the food and the technical cooking was good, but it lacked any soul or any depth of flavors. Nothing stood out. In french there's a word "fade" meaning bland, which is how you would describe the food. Because the dishes were so under-seasoned, we literally fought for the salt and pepper. And the accompanying jus for the chicken was gone in a nano second. The food was average and prices comparable to other restaurants. The servers were super nice, but the service itself was inconsistent, e.g., one person was not served an entrée so we had to ask for it before we could all begin eating (French custom).  It's a good place to go if you're hungry and just want to eat something good. With that said, I'd go back knowing that I need to pack some spices or sriracha in my bag.

For 5-entrées, 5-plats, 2-desserts, 2-bottles of wine, 1-bottle of water, 2-sodas, and 2-coffees our bill came to 247€ or 50€ a person. Note: I got a 20% discount because I made reservations with "la fourchette" and we all ordered a-la-carte.




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