"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)!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Les Petits Plats -- Restaurant Review

Les Petits Plats--red color makes it stand out

39, rue des Plantes 14eme

Rating Standards: 4-Stars = Extraordinary; 3-Stars = Excellent; 2-Stars = Good; 1-Star = Fair; NO stars = 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 (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)


This is our second time in 2-months to come to this neighborhood restaurant in the 14eme.  It was one of the warmest nights of the year, we were originally going to be 6-people for dinner; unforunately, Ms. W. had an unexpected meeting, and another friend has been ill so I'm assuming he just couldn't make it. Regardless, the hardy 4 of us, who will never miss a meal, Cynthia and Joël and Just Jack and I, it would take an act of God or death before we ever miss a food outing.  Jack and I are such Americans, we got there at exactly 8 pm. The bartender, Matthew asked us if we wanted to wait by the bar, a bien sûr since we would be right by the open doors and the breezes would be welcoming.
Our bartender, I said give it to me cold... and he gave me a nice house rosé

While sitting at the bar, our bartender gave us some nice tapenade. which was extremely creamy, rather than chunky, probably had to do with the heat. It was good, and the bread was particularly tasty, I need to find out who supplies their baguettes.

About 8:30 Cynthia and Joël showed up. We had a few drinks at the bar before we headed to our table, which happens to be a nice round table surrounding by bottles of wines, and our favorite table.
The corner area where we will be dining, yep like dogs we marked our favorite territory, by spilling wines that is...

Les Petits Plats' menu is great. You can get a tasting menu of 4-small plates for 32€; hence, the name les Petits plats.  You can mix and match any 4 dishes, so if you want all desserts you can get all desserts. I opted for 1-entrée, 2-plats, and 1-dessert.

You would think that with 4-small tasting dishes, it would not be satisfying, on the contrary, the portions are quite sufficient. What can I say, but yum, yum...

We started with the entrées, Cynthia and myself started with the Terrine de Lapereau aux Graines de Fenouil (rabbit terrine), perfect entrée to start with since it's a cold entrée. It was akin to eating a nice home made chicken soup, albeit with rabbit, in a nice terrine with some gelée to keep it's shape.

It was accompanied with pickled carrots and onions. Quite refreshing, and not overpowering for a very first course.
Joël had the Oeuf cocotte, foie gras póelé, pain grille (eggs and fois gras). It was a really nice rich dish with lots of flavor, and like I always say, how can it be bad, cream makes everything taste so, how do you say, c(d)reamy.

Just Jack had probably the best of all our our entrées. It was Velouté glace de bettrave, coriandre et poivre (cold beet soup). The carafe of chilled beet puree is poured over the fresh herbs. This gave a whole new meaning to gazpacho. I like beets, but am not in love with them, this dish made me a believer. Since beets tend to be naturally sweet, you would expect that this dish would be extremely sugary, but on the contrary, it was just the right amount of sweetness.
For our plat, Cynthia and I got Joue de boeuf en dauge provençal (beef cheeks). The cheek beefs were braised perfectly. Very tender and very tasty.

It came with a nice surprise, a bone barrow, which was nicely salted with sel de mer. This truly was a delicious dish all the components blended well with the olive oil, the wine reduction and the little pieces of crackling, that gave it a nice added texture.

Jack got another entrée, carpaccio de mulet (known as leaping fish or rouget) with citron confit.

This dish was executed really well, simple, but refreshing and I have to say the citron confit was wonderful. Lemony, but not so lemony that it would be bitter. It was quite smooth and accompanied the mulet well.

For the next tasting plat, Joël, Cynthia, and I got the Piece de cochon carmeuisée, carottes fondantes (Basically a sweet caramelized pork chop over carrots)

I liked this dish, and we all agreed; the pork was slightly overcooked, so it was a bit dry, but tasty none-the-less. I had ordered the pied de couchon last time (pigs knuckles), I think I'll stick with this pork dish.

Jack ordered the Bourride de Lotte (Provençal fish stew) served with a mustard aoili and fennel. You have to like strong flavors. For me it was great. I don't like wimpy fish, and this definitely was not wimpy with very strong challenging flavors.

For desserts, I normally get the cheese platter, but it was so warm I wanted something cool. So Cynthia and I ordered the vacherin a la vanille, cerise de romarin (baked meringue with ice cream).

Just Jack had the Ile flottante aux graines de vanille (a light dessert filled with sweetened poached egg whites) and Joël had the Nage de fruits frais au basilic, granite syrah (fruit in a nice sauce of basilic and granite syrah)

                                                                                                          Ile Flottante


Nage de fruits

Both desserts were very good and very refreshing.

All I can say about this place, keep it for the locals, but then again, I'm all about sharing. And, sharing we did tonight, considering I tasted everyone's dish.  As I mentioned in previous reviews, tapas are very popular right now.  Since I know more about Asian cuisine, I can tell you in a typical Asian dinner, whether it be Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Indonesian, you are typically going to have several dishes for a meal. Being accustomed to this, and seeing it as part of the French repertoire these days, it is making me one happy camper.

I highly recommend this restaurant, not only for the food, but for the warm, attentive and caring staff.  As most of you who have visited Paris know, it's sometimes quite challenging to get ice. Typically if you ask for ice you get one or two ice-cubes at the most. Imagine this, at the restaurant they kept filling our ice bucket without our even asking, that alone makes me want to come back. So, with this said, who'd like to go so I can eat off your plate...


  1. Yum! My tummy is growling after reading this post. :)

  2. ca a l air SUPER bon !!!!!
    miam miam !!!