"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)!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Les Tantes Jeanne -- Restaurant Review

42 Rue Veron
Metro: Line 2 Blanche or Line 12 Abbess
Reservations accepted on La Fourchette with a 20% discount
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) Note: Does not include beverages

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+)

  2.25 - stars.............................................................€€........................................................... 3.5 - Bell

As most people in Paris know, it's not easy finding a decent restaurant on Sundays and Mondays, and sometimes even on Saturdays.  Our good friend J did a little research and found this restaurant in the 18eme, our old stomping ground, and since we had a Chef friend Jayme visiting from the U.S., we thought what a great opportunity, lunch in our old stomping grounds and aprés a little tour of Montmartre. 

The restaurant is indeed very cute. In fact, the interior was darling. As we entered another table was occupied with about 5-people, but whatever the walls were made out of, it was quite noisey. The other group were French speaking tourist, but not Parisian, cause they actually said hi to me. And, they were extremely loud.


We perused the menu, they did have suggested dishes of the day, although I did not see a pre-fix menu, and they also provide English menus, ah ha! a tourist place I thought, afterall, Montmartre is a tourist area.  

Two of us ordered the "Boiled eggs’ Henri Fangeron”, truffles puréed". I happen to like eggs, I can eat them every day, which in fact I do. The eggs were cooked perfectly and the accompany truffle sauce went really well with the dish. They provided finger toasted dark hearty bread. It was a good simple dish, but nothing out of the ordinary. 

Our good friend J ordered the "Scallops tartar with persian fruits".  According to our wait person, this dish won the "Concours des Chefs 2014".  I had a taste of it, I'm by no means a gourmet connoisseur, but I know what I like and what I don't like. I did not like this dish one bit. The flavors were competing with each other when they should be complimenting each other. In fact they were all fighting each other so much that the predominant taste was SOUR.  It turned out those little red sour berries were "caprices persanne", supposedly dried small capers marinated in lime sauce turning them somehow bright red. Overpowering and overwhelming, and the other three of my companions concurred. Makes you wonder what the judges at the "Concours de Chefs" were smoking.


We all had one of their suggested plats of the day.  JJ ordered the "Margret de Canard rôti, sauce au poivre de sechuan", which was a roasted breast of duck with a pepper szechuan sauce.  Upfront, the wait person never asked JJ how he wanted his duck prepared. It should be slightly pink, but this dish went above pink, (medium rather than rare).  It was an OK dish, with a semi -sweet sauce. 

Chef Jayme ordered the "Côtes de Porc, Ibérique Belota, Tagliatelles fraiches", a side of Iberian ham, and tagliatelle pasta.  It was not at all what I expected. I was expecting a cured "ham".  Instead it was a huge piece of pork, it almost like a side of beef.  In France pork and salt go hand-in-hand, so I anticipated it would be a little bit on the salty side. I tasted and I only have one word to describe it, 'SALTY', it was beyond what I expected. I couldn't get beyond the salt. The texture of the meat was OK.  The pasta was home made, it tasted good, but nothing out of the ordinary.

I had the "Gigot d’agneau de lait des Pyrénées de Champignons" The leg of lamb from Pyrenees with mushrooms.  It left such an imprint on me that I don't really remember so I had to ask JJ did he remember what it tasted like? It must've been just an average dish, simple and truly not very memorable. However, I do remember the accompanying side of vegetables being very good, especially the roasted whole garlic.

Lastly J ordered the "Foie de Veau Fermier, Poelée de champignons" farmed liver with pan cooked mushrooms.  Of all the plats, this is the one I liked and that I can remember. Although it had some weird colored sweet sauce, the liver was cooked perfectly, and it tasted very good. And, this came with the same accompanying vegetables and legumes that I got as a side with my dish.   


I had bragged to Chef Jayme that she must, must, try the "Religieuse" my all time favorite pastry in France. It's like an eclair. Although pastry cream is what the pastry is filled with, my favorites are chocolate and/or caramel filled.  JJ ordered the "religieuse" to be shared with all of us. What an embarrassment, 
although beautifully presented, it tasted nothing like a true religieuse. 

Afterall, I bragged to Chef Jayme that one would have a "religious experience" after eating this. She sure did have one, and not in a good way, nor did any of us. What was really off-putting was they topped the pastry with this odd orange fondant that was just all sugar. The pastry was all wrong, the saving "grace" were the raspberries.

J ordered the "Souffle of old which you can order with plum or absinthe", he opted for the absinthe flavor. It was beautifully baked and "rose" to the occasion. Unfortunately, the taste elements lagged behind. It just tasted like sweet souffle with no discernible flavor. He should've probably ordered the prune flavor. Oh well. 

Lastly, we recommended Chef Jayme order the "Café Gourmand".  In France when you order a gourmand, it's a typically a shot of expresso accompanied by small sized desserts, for tasting.  In this particular case it had a "Baba au Rhum", it's basically a cake smothered in rum and whipped cream. The gourmand dish also had a vanilla ice cream, and a rice pudding.  They were good, but nothing exceptional. And, I decided not to have my usual dessert of a cheese plate. 


I have to say, overall, the food was a big disappointment. The location is great for the 18eme. The restaurant itself is really cute. I don't know what they painted on the walls, but conversations reverberated.  There were only 3-tables occupied and it was surprisingly noisey.

Nothing wowed us. The portions are large, the presentation is beautiful and the service good. The only dish I liked, despite the odd colored sauce was the liver dish.  A table of two had ordered the "cote de boeuf" side of beef, and it looked fabulous. I asked them how it tasted, and although they offered me a taste (definitely not Parisian) I was too embarrassed to ask. So, if I should go back, doubtful, then I may order the steak, but it's for two. 

For 3-entrées, 4-Plats, 3-desserts, 2 glasses of wine, a bottle of Corbières, a 50 cl of Chardonnay, and one coffee our bill came to 178€ with the discounted 20%, since J made reservations with "La fourchette"

Would I go back, probably not. But if someone twisted my arm, I'd probably would try the cote de boeuf.

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