"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)!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Le Pantruche -- Restaurant Review

Address: 3 Rue Victor Massé

Nearest transport: Pigalle (ligne 12)

Hours: Closed Saturdays and Sundays
Reservations: recommended
Telephone: 01 48 78 55 60

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 (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

  4 - Stars............................................. (Pre-fix menu)...............................................3 - Bell

This restaurant has only been open for a little more than a year. A friend suggested we go. It is difficult to get a reservation, but she managed to get a seating for 9:30 p.m. mid-week.  As we walked in, the first thing I noticed, it was packed.  There were maybe 30 seats, and every nook and cranny of available space was used, even a portion of the bar. In addition, I noticed that they turned tables, probably because of its popularity. We actually had to wait for a couple to vacate their table so the restaurant could accommodate us.

We were 5-people. Prior to coming to the restaurant I looked at their menu on their website, it was pretty much what we had available to us that evening.


Maquereaux en escabèche, raifort parmesan et radis croquant (marinated mackerel, horseradish and parmesan crisp radishes). As we all know, mackerel can be very strong tasting.  This particular mackerel was extremely mild. In fact, I would've liked it  a little stronger. The dish was served with greens. It was nothing extraordinary or special, but very good none-the-less.

The Terrine de foie gras, chutney de coings (foie gras terrine, quince chutney). Our friend who had the dish also said it was good, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Risotto truffes noires (risotto with black truffles).  I had a taste of this dish, and I have to say this dish was a hit. It was cooked perfect, al dente, and although the parmesan cheese was prominent, it did not overwhelm the dish at all, same with the truffles, it gave the dish an earthy base.

Huîtres en tartare, bouillon cresson, wasabi-soja (oyster tartare, watercress soup, wasabi-soy). The dish was very colorful, and beautifully presented in its simplicity. Our friend who had this dish said it was fabulous, a big hit. I gathered that since after he finished the dish, the bowl looked as if it had just come out of the dishwasher.


I had the cochon de lait, poires-céleri-châtaignes (suckling pig, pear-celery chestnuts). I have to say that although the dish tasted good, I had some real issues with its execution.  Primarily because the skin and about a quarter of inch of meat from the belly side of the pork was extremely rubbery and inedible. The rib portion of the ribs was tasty though. And, I have to give credit to the Chef for not making it too salty.  Typically, most Chefs cook pork with a heavy hand with the salt.

Ris de veau braisés, carrottes fondantes à la réglisse (sweetbreads braised carrot fondant with licorice).  This is the one dish our waiter recommended.  I had a taste of this dish, and I have to honestly say I was wowed with this dish. Texturally, the dish was well executed. Sweetbreads are not often cooked where outside layer is slightly crispy. The crispy bite followed a smooth soft interior coupled with the braised carrots was a hit all-around. 

Pavé de cabillaud de ligne, duxelle de champignons crème (cod steak with creamed mushrooms). The fish was perfectly cooked, very tender and very moist. Although it was accompanied with mushrooms, they forgot to mention that it also had some chestnuts. The accompaniment to me was actually more tasty than the fish, but together it was a good dish.

Volaille pochée sauce suprême, ravioles de légumes à l'estragon (poached chicken with vegetable ravioli and tarragon). Our friend said the dish was cooked perfectly and was delicious.


Soufflé au grand marnier, caramel au beurre salé (grand Marnier soufflé with salted butter caramel).  I had a taste of this dish, yum-yum, it was delicious. Very simple, but very tasty, a hit for us.

Pomelos et pavlova, glace à l'estragon (grapefruit  pavlova with tarragon ice-cream).  Very nicely and lightly done.  The grapefruit was quite mild (almost tasting like orange) and the pavlova, placed in between a crust, was just perfect and not cloyingly sweet. A hit and an excellent way to finish the meal.

And, as usual I had the cheese plat.  A good selection of strong to mild cheeses with a little citrus mâche.


If you live in the 9eme, or are staying nearby, then I highly recommend it. It’s a great neighborhood restaurant. However, I would not go out of my way for this restaurant. Keep in mind you’re going for the food and not the ambiance. It not only lacks ambiance, but space. You will feel quite packed in, with very little aisle space; hence, unless you're sitting against a wall don’t be surprised if you get bumped or banged into a lot.

As for the service, it was excellent. There was a bartender and waiter, each helping one another serve. The food was above average, with some just so-so, but a few dishes truly wowed us.

For 5-people and a whole bottle of white wine with a half-bottle of red and one digestif, our bill came to 250€ (50€ each).

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