"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, March 23, 2015

Restaurant Review -- A. Noste

6 bis Rue du 4 Septembre
Paris 75002
Phone:01 47 03 91 91
Metro: Bourse #3
Website: http://www.a-noste.com/
Hours: Tapas 12 noon to 11 pm daily (no reservations) 
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+)

 4.5 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell

A friend was staying around the corner from this restaurant and it quickly became one of her favorite places for a casual go to meal.  She insisted that we go and try this restaurant. I'm so glad we did.

The restaurant is very casual. In fact, the "tapas" tables are set high at "bar level", fortunately the stools have backs to them otherwise it would've been very uncomfortable. They do have a few small tables, but those must be reserved. As for the 'communal tables' section, they do not accept reservations, but if you go before or after peak lunch/dinner hours, it's easy to get a table. 


Once seated you are given a small menu with a pencil. You simply mark the dishes you want, which by the way, you share as a group, and they come typically two-dishes at a time, which is necessary in order not to clutter the tables. Also, they wait until the dishes are eaten before the next round, again to make space and easier eating.  The dishes are quite generous; often times tapas, or more specifically pintxos, are individual-sized portions, but their dishes are larger and geared for group sharing.

So, these are the dishes we shared.

Le véritable risotto aux morilles et moelle de boeuf
(risotto with mushrooms and beef marrow), and yes, this is 1 order

Falafels au foie gras et magret fumé
(Falafel with foie gras and smoked duck breast)

Jambon blanc du pays Basque cuit à l'os
(Basque country ham cooked on the bone)

Chipirons frits au piment d'espelette
(Fried squid with espelette)

Mijoté de légumes paysan
(Peasant Stew vegetables)

Nems de canard croustillants, sauce Thailandaise
(Crispy duck spring rolls with Thai sauce)

Curry de gambas crémeux, pommes vertes et coriandre fraîche
(Creamy curry prawns, green apples and fresh coriander)

Choux vanillés, caramel beurre salé
(Choux pastry vanilla salted butter caramel)

Crème brûlée au fruit de la passion et safran
(Crème brûlée with passion fruit and saffron)

Fromage de brebis, confiture de cerise noire
(Sheep's cheese, black cherry jam)

The dishes were all delicious, but some stood out from the rest. For myself the "Risotto with the bone marrow" stood out the most. It was moist, and delicious and had both a smooth and crispy texture. The crispy texture came from the miniature croutons. It was so delicious we actually had to order a second helping.

The next dish that popped for me was the shrimp dish. The chef did not shy away from the spices. It was a nice creamy curry, almost like a masaman curry (peanut based curry). Truly delicious.

Although tasty, my least favorite was the "duck spring rolls."  The chef had used rice paper as the wrapper, and for me, I think rice paper absorbs more oil. So it was a bit oily for my liking, but the filling was very tasty and the accompanying sauce was nice.

My favorite dessert was the Crème brûlée with passion fruit and saffron. It was baked in the shell of the passion fruit. Although a tad sweet, the flavor profiles were a great match.

The flavors of the tapas are definitely Basque in origin. The chef used "espelette" generously. He definitely did not shy away from spices, which is such a nice change from the otherwise very subtle taste of French food.

With a bottle of rosé, a glass of kir royale, 25cl of red wine,  and a bottle of sparkling water, our bill came to 179€ for 5-people. A great deal for such great food.

It's not a place to go for a romantic dinner, and can get quite noisy.  But the food and service was exceptional. Would I go back, in a heartbeat!

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