"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)!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chamarré Montmartre -- Restaurant review

Chamarré Montmartre

52 Rue Lamarck
75018 Paris, France
01 42 55 05 42

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+)


Our dear friend Shauna organized a lunch to her favorite restaurant in the 18eme arrondissement where she also lives and works. I was excited about going to this restaurant because we lived in the Montmartre area about 2-years ago and I've passed by this restaurant many times, but never had an opportunity to eat there.  The restaurant is well known. It has been written up in several publications, such as "Le Fooding", Figaro and Telerama Sortir. It is also in the Gault Millau 2010 guide.  The reviews are all over the board, and based on the "write-ups" Chef Antoine Heerah is much beloved by the "food" community.  In general all the reviews appear pretty favorable.  But as I mentioned in the past, the proof is in the pudding.

The interior of the restaurant is quite lovely, and they have an outdoor sitting around to the left as you enter the restaurant. We would've opted to sit outside but since it was getting a little chilly we stayed indoors.

They have a pre-fix menu, with varied choices. You can have the entrée, plus plat or plat plus dessert for 23€, and all 3-courses for 29€ which seems pretty reasonable for a nice sit-down restaurant.

We all got the 3-course lunch special. First we got the amuse bouche, this was extremely delicious. It was a creamed cauliflower with a little tangerine "drop". It was extremely tasty, but surprisingly light. I actually could have had a bowl of this and called it a day.  

For the entrée we all got the salmon with the roe (caviar) served with a little greens and a dollop of  confit de citron verte (lime). The dish was nothing special, and as you can see, very simply plated without much effort. But it was the combination of flavors that made it exciting.   The dish was served with a lime coulis, it was wonderful and we could have a bucket instead of a dollop!

We all got the pan roasted bar (european bass). Interestingly, the dish is normally served with rice, but Shauna asked if she could have hers with vegetables; it sounded good to all of us and we all followed suit. I thought, well this is a good sign, restaurants in Paris don't usually like to substitute, especially for such a large crowd. And, I noticed something else very interesting, as they were serving the dish, they made sure the women were served first and the plate was actually placed in front of them before laying the plates for the men. Although I don't care about such detail, it sent me a message that they care about the customers experience, and doing the "correct" way of serving. So, I was dually impressed with both actions.  The bar was cooked perfectly. The skin was crisp, the flesh was moist and very, very tasty. And, the accompanying vegetables were excellent. This dish came with a lemon coulis. It was so delicious, we asked them for extra, which they gladly complied.

Not to be different, we all ordered the same dessert, and rather than sharing, we decided we each wanted our very own.  The dessert was a white chocolate crème with strawberries, accompanied with a "formed" milk shake that can be spooned out from a bowl.  Very simple in construction and platting, but extremely light with a burst of creamy white chocolate taste. Definitely not for the lactose-intolerant.This was a good simple dessert.

And, as we thought that we were at the end of our meal, a nice little surprise came, we each got a macaroon and a cookie. 

Overall, 7 very different people unanimously concurred that the food was excellent, the service was fantastic, and their willingness to please and accommodate us must be commended! 

So, if you're in that neck of the woods, we highly encourage you to make it a point to have a meal there.  

1 comment :

  1. Noted although I think those little "dollops" (Surely the French have a prissy word for those) are silly. Either give me a spoonful or just let it go.
    Lordy aren't I sounding like an uppity snoot??? Maybe I need to go shopping for a bit and get over myself. Hand me a couple of those macarons while you're at it.