"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, January 31, 2011

Les Délices d'Aphrodite -- Restaurant Review

Some members of our Ethnic Dinner Club
Les Délices d'Aphrodite
4, rue Candolle
75005 Paris

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 plats--main course)
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+)


"It's all Greek to me..."

As some of you may know, last year, with our good friend Bonnie, we started an Ethnic Dinner Club. With the exception of Jack and myself, most of the members are French willing to explore the vast numbers of ethnic neighborhoods and restaurants throughout Paris. We each take turns hosting (organizing) a dinner. In some cases, because of our group size we sometimes get discounts on our dinner and/or get special pre-fix menu for our "group." Some have been hits and some have been misses. All-in-all, we always have a great time exploring.

We went to Les Délices d'Aphrodite on January 29, a Greek restaurant in the 5eme.  This restaurant has 2-seatings: 7 pm and 10 pm, we opted for the earlier seating. There's much debate about "staggering" tables in Paris, which seems to be picking up steam for profit margin, but I'll discuss this new trend on another day.

Jack and I arrived about a half-hour late because our bus was delayed and we simply got lost on arrival. Our group had already started with apéros of kirs and ouzo. The menu was quite extensive. They had cold and warm entrées, various types of salads, and a whole list of typical main dishes to choose from.

For our entrées some folks ordered the squid salad.  Our group liked it. It had a nice balance of citrus and oils and you can definitely taste the squid, but not fishy.  And, the texture of the squid was perfect, not rubbery.

I had the spanakopitas; interestingly it was the Chef's interpretation. Rather than combining the cheese and spinach, I had one filled with spinach, and the other filled with a feta cheese. The dish was accompanied with nice tart greens. I liked it alot. The Filo dough was nice and flaky and the fillings were great.

 Jack had an entrée of marinated red bell peppers, some greens and a dip made with feta cheese, garlic and pine nuts called "ktipiti", which I absolutely adored.

The others in our group had dolmas and a typical Greek salad of greens, tomatoes and feta cheese.

All-in-all, our group loved the entrées for it's freshness, balance and good taste.

For our plat, or main course, the majority in the group got the moussaka . I have to say I liked the presentation. It was original in that the eggplant spiraled in a circle, and cooked individually versus cooked like an eggplant parmigiana. I had an opportunity to taste it and it was delicious!

I had the pastitsio, which is basically a macaroni casserole similar to a "ziti" Italians make except they add cinnamon and mint. It was good, but nothing special. 

Bonnie had the Koupès, which was cabbage stuffed with lamb and a cracked wheat side dish with a light yogurt sauce. I thought the dish was quite good, albeit a little bit on the heavy side. It would've of reminded me the polish stuffed cabbage except it was stuffed with lamb and had traditionally Greek spices.

Jack had a simple stewed lamb dish. And, it was just that, simple. It lacked depth and could've used a heavier hand with the spices.

For desserts, the restaurant offered the typical Mediterranean desserts of baklava etc., but I find these honey laden desserts too sweet. Most in our group ordered ice cream. You can order 3-flavors in a bowl. One flavor I've not tried was, "fig".  Once I tried it, I found it to be way too sweet.  Jack had the halva; it was actually pretty good.

Overall, we liked the restaurant. The entrées were excellent!  As for the main dishes, some were hits, and some were just OK.  The service was excellent. And, some of the Greek waiters actually wanted to practice their English and spoke pretty well.  Because of the 2-seatings (7 and 10) I did feel the service was a bit rushed.  Would we go again, absolutely. The prices seem reasonable, but once you start adding the apéros, we averaged almost 50€ per person. So, would we go back, ABSOLUTELY!

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