"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)!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Terroir Parisiens

Palais Brongniart
2 Place de la Bourse
Tel: +33 1 83 92 20 30
Metro: Bourse #3

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+)

 3.25 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2.5 - Bell

This is one of many restaurants from famed celebrity Chef Yannick Alléno who's best known for "Le Meurice" where he was awarded a 3-star Michelin rating back in 2007. So, he's got quite the pedigree in the culinary world.

We had early dinner reservations, 7:30 pm, when most restaurants first open. We were five. As we walked into the restaurant my first impression was wow, I feel like I've been transported back to San Francisco. The set up was very reminiscent of many large "industrial" restaurants you find in any major city in the US. They also had two private rooms. Some may like that, but I personally prefer a cozy atmosphere that doesn't feel so commercial.  And, after-all, we're in Paris.

There's a bar located in the middle of the restaurant where you can also dine. The kitchen is surrounded by windows where you can peer in and watch the Chefs prepare your food, which is something I've always liked.

Since we basically opened the restaurant, we had very, very attentive service. But I also noticed as the restaurant got busier, the service never wavered.  As I perused the menu, I noticed that it was quite extensive. And, the wine list was enormous albeit most of the wines extremely pricey; the least expensive wine on the list was 35€.  And although there was a suggestion du jour on a blackboard (I noticed it later in the evening), the waiter never mentioned it nor brought the board to our table.  No formule. 


One person got the radishes. Radishes in France are typically served with butter and salt, and that's what she got. There's nothing exceptional about this dish in the sense of culinary "know how", but she said the radishes were delicious and sweeter than the one's in the US. And, they were accompanied with nice crispy toasted slices of baguette.

Two of us had the mackerel. This was accompanied with lightly pickled cauliflower and a "romanesco broccoli".  I love this dish, it had the right amount of tartness. Mackerel can have an overwhelming strong fishy flavor, but it was tempered by the nice citrus/vinaigrette dressing, plus the mustard seeds tied the dish together. It was a very good start to an entrée.

One friend had the deep fried "pig-trotters" (pigs feet) with a bearnaise sauce.  Basically, they took the meat from the trotters and encased it in a nice batter and deep fried until crispy. It was served as you would french fries in the US. I actually liked this dish. It was very rich and had a familiar taste. And, let's face it, what's not to like about fried food.

J had the beets. Interestingly enough, this dish had very little beets. There were slices of beets and even some thin slices of potato chip rainbow beets. The dish should've been renamed "creamy" mayonnaise slaw.  I tasted it, and rather liked the cole slaw, but then again, I like mayonnaise. J said they were just OK, and I agree. The name of the dish is very misleading.

I wanted to say so badly, "Where's the beets?"


Two had the kidneys in a mustard sauce.  I had a taste of it and thought the kidneys were nicely cooked. But I have to agree with J, the mustard sauce was extremely faint, you would've never guessed it was there at all. It was accompanied with a bowl of mashed potatoes. Overall, it was a good dish, but nothing out of the ordinary, and was under seasoned.

I had the confit of lamb shoulder. When the dish arrived I was a little surprised. I had assumed since it was a confit, that it would be served just as a "confit de canard"; wrong.  It was served as a stew.  I was a little disappointed since I was expecting something more on the crispy side. It had no accompaniment, just the stew with some wilted lettuce incorporated into the stew. The dish was eh?. It was very, very under-seasoned and quite bland. I couldn't put enough salt or pepper on it to give it some flavor.

One person ordered the "filet de boeuf". Very, very, simple dish, but cooked to her liking "à point" or medium. The dish looked pretty stark, but it was accompanied with a side of fries and a bearnaise sauce. I tasted it, and I too liked the quality and the doneness of the beef.

Lastly, one person ordered the Beef with parsley atop lentils. This is reminiscent of the a typical French dish of "Poitrine de Porc" (pork belly) atop lentils, but replaced with beef. I liked the dish and thought the lentils were nicely cooked, al dente to my liking. It was a good dish.


Three of us ordered desserts.  One ordered the "Paris brest".  I don't normally eat sugar, but had to make sure I tasted it so I can fairly critique them. Well this dessert was fabulous. Loved the light creaminess of the pastry cream and the flakiness of the pastry was just delicious. No complaints with this dessert.

One person ordered the "coffee millefeuille", which is a "napleon," but filled with wonderful coffee flavored pastry cream. This dish was a hit with all of us as well. The millefeuille, is a thin wafer like crust (e.g., phyllo dough).

Lastly, J had the "carmelized apples" with apple cider. This was probably my least favorite dessert. It just tasted ordinary, nothing special. Granted the apples were uniformly sliced and the presentation was lovely, but the flavor profile was just ordinary.


I've been wanting to try this restaurant, and I'm glad I did. First impression as I walked through the door, "Wow, very spacious, and I've been transported back to the U.S."  Very industrial and not the warm charming neighborhood French neighborhood restaurants that I'm use to. Nor was it very elegant. Just stark and industrial.  And as the restaurant filled it became very noisy. 

 Now onto the food. We were all over the map. J thought the food was nothing special, in fact, he thought the food was quite ordinary and very under-seasoned. Two loved their dishes, where I had a slightly different take.

I had high expectations since after all it is a Yannick Alléno restaurant. I found the entrées above average, with the exception of the beet dish.  I was disappointed with my plat (lamb), it was very, very under-seasoned and actually quite boring. It came with no sides, although they did have some you could order à la carte. The kidneys were good, albeit lacked any real mustard flavoring. But I do have the say the steaks were cooked perfectly for my liking.  And, two of desserts were out of this world delicious!

As for the service, they are armed to the hilt with service staff.  Parisian standard of dining is usually a slow comfortable unhurried pace.  In fact, the food came out like precision timing, again reminiscent of the U.S. I was shocked at how fast they served the dishes, for example, not even 10-minutes passed after we gave our order that our entrées came?!?! Hmm, I wonder if they turn tables?

If you have out-of-town guests, this is probably NOT the place to take them to for a "Parisian" dining experience.

Although the food is slightly above average, and the service is excellent, I'll stick to the more traditional French neighborhood restaurants.

So, for 5 people (5 entrees, 5 plats, 3 desserts), a glass of kir royale, a glass of red wine and a bottle of sauvignon blanc, our bill came to 242.50€, not a bad price point.

Note: The wines are extremely expensive. We got the least expensive sauvignon blanc at 35€ a bottle.  The reds started even higher.

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