"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, June 6, 2012

La Tute 2 -- Restaurant Review

7 Rue Rossini
75009 Paris 
Tél: 01 40 15 65 65
Monday -- Saturday 12 pm to 12 am (lunch/dinner)

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+)

  2.5 - Star..............................................................................................................................2 - Bell

 It was our monthly outing with our good friend to explore a new restaurant that’s only been open for a week. The original "La Tute" restaurant was in the 2eme arrondissement, but closed and moved to the 9eme arrondissement as a result of a dispute with the landlord. From the outside it looks like it was newly painted with its bright red lipstick paint and great location. It is across the street from the "Drouot", a public auction house.

This is a "Pyrenees" style restaurant.  As you enter there are two seatings available, up front closer to the windows with much more natural lighting and much more open, or in the back which was OK, but not as open, so a little claustrophobic. There are also tables downstairs, which were not in use. On reflection, I wish we had sat up front. Before entering there is a large blackboard in front listing what’s available. We then got another two smaller blackboards with the handwritten menu, one for the entrées and another our plat.

Entrées: Our friend got the “calamars à l'encre” (squid cooked in its ink). It was thick and rich. I tasted it and it immediately brought me back to my childhood. We have a Filipino dish called "adobong pusit", it actually tasted very similar to that, it even had a little vinegar. The ink sauce is much richer and thicker than the "adobong pusit" that I'm familiar with, since it was cooked down, but there’s no denying the ink flavor. I liked this dish.

I had the “coeurs de canard à la plancha” (duck hearts). It was pre-cut in a fan shape to later facilitate slicing and eating. It was very, very lightly pan fried medium-rare, so as not to be too rubbery. It was very simple and with a sprinkling of  "espelette" a French red chili pepper; it was a good first start.

And, our other companion got the “boquerones--anchois marinés” (marinated anchovy filets). It actually tasted more like pickled mackerel than it did anchovies. It wasn’t anything special, but in itself, it was good.

Plats: I originally wanted the poitrine de cochon (pork belly), but they were out, so I ordered the “chorizzo de Navarre poché au vin rouge potates à l'écrasée” (chorizo sausage poached in red wine with mashed potatoes). I truly regret that I ordered this dish. First of all the chorizos were poached in this glutinous mess. All I tasted was cornstarch and onions with a hint of wine. And, there was so much of it to make it seem almost like, let’s make the dish look larger than it is by adding more of that glutinous mess. Thank god it was atop a cutting board, so I was able to take the 3-chorizos and place it on the board to cut it thereby, avoiding as much of the gooey mess as possible. The chorizos themselves weren’t bad, but they weren’t good either. The saving grace was the mashed potatoes!

Onto the other plat, which was “tripes à la bigourdanne” (stewed tripe). I tasted this dish and I actually liked it. It was accompanied by some herbs and a bottle of armagnac to pour into the tripe. The tripe was prepped really well and cooked to as tender as you can get it. And, surprisingly, it was not oily, which tripe can sometimes be.

Our companion had the “lomo of pork and veggies brochette with a side of fries”, not on the menu, but a special. I tasted it, it was good, but nothing out of the ordinary. The side of fries looked really good, we all commented that the texture, crispness etc. was great, but it was EXTREMELY salty.  Methinks someone has a heavy hand with the salt in the kitchen.

Afterwards, feeling quite full, we shared a “pruneaux à l'armagnac”. Sometimes simple is really good, and this is what that dish was. All it was were prunes soaked in an armagnac. I’m not a prune fan, but the two liked it. All I can say was wow, that armagnac was strong.

Summary: I was really put off by my plat and it has tainted my desire to want to return. The rest of the food itself was good, but nothing out of the ordinary. Service was excellent. The plating was very simple, but some of the plating was a bit strange, like 3-pieces of chopped bell pepper placed in one corner of the board, or espelette sprinkled outside weirdly around the food.

With a bottle of Domaine les esquirots sauvignon and one café afterwards, the bill came to 117€ for the 3 of us.

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