"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, March 5, 2014

Sur Le Fil -- Restaurant Review

9 rue Léopold Robert
75014, Paris (metro #4 Vanvin)
Web: http://www.restaurant-surlefil.fr/
Reserve on La Fourchette
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 - Star..............................................................€€............................................................2 - Bell

From the outside, this is a very unassuming restaurant.  In fact, you might miss it if you're walking by quickly and blinked your eyes.  But as you enter the restaurant, it is quite lovely, albeit small, long and narrow, but very, very cozy.

There are a few tables in the front by and a few tables in the back. My guess is that there are about 15-tables that can sit around 30-people comfortably.

They have a pre-fix menu du jour with outstanding prices.  For the entrée, plat it's €17 and with dessert it's €22. If you make a reservation at "La Fourchette" similar to "Open table" in the US, you get a 20% discount off the à la carte menu. We perused the "Menu du Jour" but opted to order from the regular menu. 


Two of us had the "tourteau, avocat, pamplemousse" (Crab, avocado and grapefruit). This dish was fantastic, albeit just a tad citrusy for me, since I don't eat much citrus due to the fact I have acid reflux, but that's another story onto itself.  However, my companions absolutely loved it. The presentation looked like a scallop shells made of thinly sliced daikon radishes with a hidden surprise. It was like a treasure hunt.  

Our companion had the "Saint Jacques rôti, poitrine de porc confite" (roasted scallops, pork belly confit).  Scallops are not my favorite shell fish, but I have to say, I absolutely loved this dish, especially the combination of the scallops combined with a slightly salty crusty and moist interior of the pork belly. It was nothing less than fantastic for me. 

Our companion tried to hide the pickled red onions, but we stole some from him, and they were delicious. Crisp with the right amount of sourness. This was my favorite of the two entrées.


One of us had the "cabillaud, gnocchi à l'encre de seiche" (Cod gnocchi with squid ink). They really know how to present their dishes to make them eye appealing/appetizing without overdoing it, as this dish. The cod was poached, very moist, but a bit on the bland side. It was accompanied with cabbage, rainbow daikon radishes and our favorite little pickled red onion. The squid ink gnocchi was good, but a bit gummy in texture. But overall, the dish was very good. 

Two of us had the "Joue de boeuf braisée, pommes de terre" (braised beef cheek, potato).  I thought this dish was delicious. Two of us absolutely loved, loved, the tiny bit of the mango/dijon mustard sauce. I normally don't like fruit with protein, but this sauce made me a believer. It had that nice sharp hit of dijon, being tamed by the sweetness of the mango. Excellent!  The beef cheeks were very moist, not stringy as alot of slow braised items. It was very tasty and the "au jus" was very flavorful. However, the potatoes were not as crispy as we would've liked. But overall a very good dish, and a very large portioned dish. In fact, our friend took his left over portion as well as mine. This is a great dish for a meat and potatoes person!


Comme d'hab (as usual) I had the cheese plate. This cheese plate had a wonderful, wonderful variety. I had the Comte, Morbier, aged chèvre, and a strong blue cheese. All were wonderful. It was accompanied by a "mache" salad with walnuts. One thing you can pretty much depend on in France are their cheeses.  I also have to add that their bread was delicious. Crunchy exterior with a moist interior. I forgot to ask where they get their bread from, but it's a bit far to get a baguette from where we live.

We also had the "vacherin exotique" [slow baked egg whites (looks like breadsticks in photo)] which our wait person said was exotic fruit from Asia, like mango and papaya. I grew up on it, so I wouldn't exactly call it exotic, but oh well. The vacherin sat atop some whipped cream atop the exotic fruit sauce which one person said reminded him of very flavorful applesauce with fruit. It was garnished with some dill. Overall, it was a good dessert.

Then we also ordered the "Paris à Brest" (Paris to Brest).  As some of my readers know, I do not eat sugar as a general rule, but our friend insisted that I have a taste, in fact held me in a strangle hold until I had some. So, I gave in, and, I have to say I thought I died and went to heaven.  First of all, they're not the classical shape like a large doughnut, so it was easier to eat and share. the choux pastry was wonderfully baked, but the praline cream and dusted chocolate thew me over the top. It was light creamy and filled with some much wonderful flavors.  I wanted to bathe in it, it was so good. 


All I have to say was wow, what a GREAT find. We go to the 14eme alot, since it's just the next arrondissement to us, but this is a hidden gem in an otherwise somewhat touristy area known for really mediocre food, because of one of the major train stations. So, now I'll know where to dine whenever I'm in the Montparnasse area of Paris,   The service was excellent. The maitre'd/wait person was extremely personable and had lots of personality.

With 2-bottles of a wine from the Loire valley made with gamay grapes, and 2-glasses of rosé, with one coffee and the 20% reduction, total for 3 people was 149€. Our good friend took us out for lunch as a wedding gift. We should get married more often!

Would we go back? ABSOLUTELY!!! In fact, we've already made plans to return!

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