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)!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Boutary -- Restaurant Review



25 RUE MAZARINE 75006
Metro: Odeon (Line 4 & 10)
Tel: + 33 1 43 43 49 10
For reservations and operating times, check website
http://www.boutary-restaurant.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+)

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




We were looking for a special restaurant to celebrate our anniversary, and I came across one in the 6eme. You can't miss it, it's the reddest building on the block, and the interior had more red. Methinks someone likes red.


They had tables out front closer to the window and it wasn't going to be a busy night so the maitre'd basically told us we could select any seat we liked. We opted to be in the back where it was a little more quiet and cozy. Maybe for lunch we would've sat closer to the window to people watch.




We saw the menu before arriving, and based on all the reviews everyone pretty much suggested we do the tasting menu, so we did. In addition to the tasting menu, we also did the 2-caviars, the "à la royale" for Jack and "Beluga" for me. And, since we were having trouble deciding what wines we should have with our meal, we also selected the wine pairing.





Now, if you wanna be schooled in caviar, this is the place to come. Our wait-staff were extremely knowledgeable about the the different caviars, the aging process etc. I could write a separate book about what I learned, but bottom line what I found most interesting is that caviar is usually stored in tins, rather than glass.  In the US you'll oftentimes see them stored in glass, which is a definite no-no, because caviar is susceptible to light and it can adversely impact the flavor. Secondly, caviar in the US is typically pasteurized, not surprised since we pasteurize everything. Therefore, pasteurized caviar actually makes the caviar taste saltier than it should. And, this is probably one reason Jack has never been fond of caviar.

If you're more interested in learning about caviar, I would suggest you read "The World of CAVIAR" by Frédéric Ramade.


Amuse bouche. We had a little crab dip with some crunchy breadsticks. Jack remarked it's just a tad salty. Later we made the assumption that the amuse bouche was purposely a little salty so you could taste the nuances of the caviar, which was coming up next.














Caviar. I had the Beluga which is picture in the front with a little light gray/blue and aged for about 4-months, whereas Jack had the Siberian caviar, darker and aged for about 6 months.

Our wait person explained that in olden days the caviar was placed on your hand to taste so you could taste the pureness and know that it wasn't contaminated. Jack used this method of eating, or you can use a spoon, which I chose. Note, never use metallic spoons to eat caviar. Spoons should always be something neutral like in our case it was made from an animal horn.

As for the tasting, as I mentioned Jack has never liked caviar. This restaurant made him a new believer. The Beluga to me was milder and almost buttery, melted in your mouth with just the right amount of sweetness and saltiness. The Siberian had just a tad more body and didn't melt as quickly, but was also delicious. I actually preferred the Beluga, which is more expensive, so it figures, whereas Jack preferred the Siberian. So new lesson learned, I don't think I'll ever eat caviar again on a bilini with eggs and onions. I preferred this unadulterated way. You really taste the complex flavors.


ENTRÉES

Foie gras. Now this was an interesting dish. It seems "pea-ing", meaning cutting thin string beans into little pea shapes, seems to be the big rage right now in Paris. This is the 2nd restaurant in 2-weeks where we were served this. At the bottom was a sauce of watercrest. Atop that sat some "pea'd" string beans and around that were croutons for texture and of course nice chunks of foie gras. What I thought was unusual, but thoroughly enjoyable was the anchovy mayonnaise on the side. I liked the composition of the this dish a lot. I was so tired of eating foie gras with toast. Finally a fun and innovative way to eat foie gras almost as a salad with 2-types of dressing. Jack just thought it was OK, but I really enjoyed it.




Potato caviar. Can you have too much caviar? I think not. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture the smoke when our wait-person opened the what look like a gigantic ostrich egg bowl. The chef added smoke to also tickle your sense of smell. It was quite nice. Don't know what the food chip scent was, but it actually made the dish come alive.

Basically, the dish had the caviars we chose earlier sitting atop herbed potato that wasn't completely pureed, because there were still chunks, which I prefer. On the side was a lemon savory curd. Since I like the pureness of the caviar, I ate it alone, without melanging it with the lemon or potato.  Then I moved out to the potato and lemon curd. Delicious separately. I did give it a little try adding the 3-components, they went together, but I preferred them separately.









PLATS


Pollock with octopus.  At this juncture I was getting a little full so had to pace myself for the upcoming courses. Alaskan cod was poached, probably "sous vide" and sat atop a sauce of red bell peppers. Next to it was a charred octopus, and atop of the fish was a large crusted carrot. Also a little bit more of that lemon savory curd. This was my least favorite course, whereas Jack really liked this dish. It wasn't bad, just not my favorite. I found the fish a little fishy and the octopus a little tough and charred. But conceptually it's a good dish.








Duck with cuttlefish. At first it sounded a little strange. But then again we have "surf and turf" in the US. I love anything duck, so I'm a little partial to this dish. We got 2-pieces of duck. A small piece of the thigh and a larger piece of the breast. These ducks are raised in south of France and can reach 8-kilos, hence very meaty. The 2-ducks were perfectly cooked. Very succulent and delicious. I thought the cuttlefish might be a bit strange, but surprisingly it was a great accompaniment. It was perfectly seasoned so that it wasn't overwhelming any other competing flavors and they were extremely tender, not rubbery at all. With it came a side of butternut squash, one pureed and the other in chunks. Excellent dish.



DESSERTS

At this point I was beyond stuffed. I don't normally eat sugar, but since this was a special occasion I decided to partake.

Chocolate. for you chocolate lovers out there, this is it. It was a little chocolate pie crust filled with a chocolate cream with chocolate ganache and a dollop of coconut ice cream. Can we say decadently delicious. No other way to describe it.

Poached pear. This poach pear was flavored with ginger. The pears were perfectly poached and covered with a light meringue flavored also with ginger. Jack loved this dessert. Then bordering the meringue were slices of beautifully poached pears as well. I favored the chocolate over the poach pear, where it was opposite for Jack.



WINES


As I mentioned we had the wine pairing. Lucky me, cause 2 of the 3 were white.

Vin d’Alsace Domaine Agape Riesling 2016.  I normally think rieslings are very sweet, but our sommelier insisted that it's not and would go well with our foie gras. He was right. For me it was a light wine with a smooth texture and then a pop of citrus finish. Delicious.

Domaine Lafage Centenaire. This was my favorite of the 3-wines. This was paired with the fish. It's known for its aromas of vanilla and ripe fruit of pear and white peach, with a spicy finish.

Chateau Pierraille Bordeaux supérieur 2015. This was the only red of the bunch. It was paired with our duck. Red Bordeaux Blends are known for their powerful structure and deep flavors. The tasting notes are those of dark fruits and berries such as plum and blackcurrant, a very full structured wine.


SUMMARY

If you like caviar and want to learn more about caviar, then this is the place for you. At the helm is Jay Wook Hur, Japanese-Korean chef, where a lot of his Asian influences can also be seen in his dishes. Aesthetically simple and beautiful to the eye. The service was beyond reproach. Each server took the time to explain the various nuances of different caviars and also the wines. You would think you'd get tired of repeating the same spiel over and over, but they were very enthusiastic about the caviar, which you could tell.

As for the food, I thought it was interesting that they had something for Jack and something for me. We didn't always agree, but we did agree this was a very good meal. My favorite caviar was the Beluga. My favorite entrée was the foie gras. As for the plat, my favorite was the duck. And, lastly for dessert it was the chocolate.

My least favorite was the fish, it tasted "fishy" to me. What I didn't particularly care for were the utensils. They were very long and narrow and hard to eat with. As for the coffee, I had to ding them on this, it came out barely lukewarm.  Would we go back? absolutely. It's not an inexpensive restaurant so we'd have to save our pennies first.

For 2-aperitifs, 2-degustation menus, 2-caviars (supplementary), 2-wine pairings (supplementary), 1-coffee and 1-tea, our bill came to 291€ ($332.46) for 2-people.




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