"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, September 28, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Les Fables de la Fontaine

131 Rue Saint-Dominique
75007 Paris
Bus Line: 80
Metro Line: École-militaire
RER: Pont De L'Alma
RESERVATION: 01 44 18 37 55
Website: http://lesfablesdelafontaine.net/?lang=en

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......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

The restaurant has been around. In fact, it was created 15-years ago by renowned Chef, Christian Constant, who seems to have a monopoly on that street, Rue Saint-Doiminique, with his other famed restaurants: Les Cocottes, Café Constant, and Le Violon d'Ingres.  We heard that there was a new 21-year old Chef at the helm today, her name is Julia Sedefdjian.  

To start off, the location is in a wonderful area. It sits in a little court yard along Rue St. Dominique. Although there was plenty of seating, today it appeared that they just kept open one section of the restaurant. Our friend J had been there several times and he mentioned that it had been redesigned. In fact, the kitchen which used to be on the main floor was now below us.  The interior was pleasant enough. But like most restaurants in Paris, it was a tight squeeze.

We perused the menu and it had some nice choices, expectedly a lot of seafood. They did have a lunch special for 25€ which consisted of an entrée of "bass carpaccio" over a carrot purée, and a "hake" for the main course.  This restaurant is known for its seafood, and everyone ordered seafood for both their starter as well as their main course. I on the other-hand decided to be different, I wanted to see how well they prepare their meat, so I had a meat course for my "plat-principal" (main).

Per se we did not get an amuse bouche; however, we did get some cute little breads which I thought looked like corn bread, along with sliced baguettes accompanied with a flavored butter.  At first bite, the little squared breads were not corn bread at all, in fact, it didn't have much flavor, they were more eggy and very moist, then I realized this was to show case the flavored butter, which we believed was flavored with fennel seeds.


JJ ordered the "Gravlax salmon, yellow and red beetroot carpaccio with walnut oil, and goat cheese cream." It was beautifully plated. As true with gravlax, it's a sweeter version of its cousin the "lox".  Plus the salmon pieces were chunkier. Jack loved this dish for the freshness of the beets but as well as the nice rounded flavors of the gravlax.  If he had one complaint at all, he said it was a tad salty.

I had the "Calamari and butternut cannelloni, pumpkin cream, and crispy squid."  Another beautifully plated dish.  There was a juxtaposition of the soft warm pumpkin cream, the texture of the crispy calamari and the butternut cannelloni. I thought the flavors of this dish complimented each other well. I only had one minor complaint, there were seeds in the dish, it's a personal thing, I like seeds in my breads or salads, but typically not in my savory dishes. I swore they were pumpkin seeds, but I asked the waiter, and if I understood him right, he said they were zucchini or butternut squash seeds. Regardless, it was a delicious dish.

J had the "Carpaccio of bar served on a bed of creamy carrots".  You've got the cooked/uncooked, sweet/salty, warm/cold topped with some greens, each element enhanced sensory and taste flavors.  It was an excellent dish.


JJ and Collette had the "Skate, sautéed spinach with capers, citrus and celery emulsion". Again, a beautifully presented dish. I tasted the skate and it was so tender, naturally sweet, and moist. At the bottom of the dish was a surprise, you hit some very sour and salty notes that came from the capers. JJ and Collette loved the sourness, personally, I'm not big on sour flavors, but they thought it complimented the dish. The dish also came with croutons, but it really wasn't necessary since it was already a very nicely composed dish.  And, unusually, the skate was already removed from the bones.  The spinach was a big hit too.

J ordered the Merlu (Hake).  When it was presented I thought, wow, that's one long piece of fish. Again, beautifully presented. And, it was served alongside with some grilled endives.  The fish had some "Espelette" sprinkled on top which gave a nice little kick.  I had a taste of the fish, and I have to say this was one of the best cooked fishes I've ever had. It was so moist and tender, not in the slightest bit overcooked. And, the added espelette gave it a nice heat source that hit you ever so slightly in the end.  For some however, the fish might have seemed under cooked.

To be different, I of course had to have the meat dish. I ordered this only because I wanted to see how a place known for their seafood could cook meat.  I had the "Braised beef cheeks with bok choy, rosemary panisse and pepper."  The meat was so tender and flavorful. The sauce was rendered down to a nice rich sauce, very complimentary to the overall dish. I also like the rosemary panisse (a fried bread, crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside) at first I thought it was a panisse made of rice flour, but it was a traditional panisse made out of chickpea flour or otherwise known as "besam".  It was a nice accompaniment. Again, this dish was also beautifully plated. So, yes, they do know how to cook meat. And, I'd like to add, I was not disappointed.


J and Collette ordered the "Poached pears with vanilla, walnut biscuit, chestnut cream, pear sorbet." There were so many different components to this dessert that despite it looking complicated, the different components complimented each other and did not compete with each other and made it a complete whole dessert.  They thought the dessert was excellent. They especially liked the sorbet.

JJ and I shared the "Aged mimolette cheese, pumpkin/orange jam".  I love aged cheeses. Aged cheeses have time to develop and actually crystallize salt which to me is an added bonus. If you've never had aged mimolette it's like "aged gouda" we have in the US. So, this dish was a hit for me.


What a wonderful dining experience. All the dishes were nicely composed and beautiful. I've tasted one of the most perfectly cooked fish (hake) ever. And, although their specialty is seafood they know how to cook their meats. I only have 1-minor personal complaint, I don't like seeds in my main dishes.  JJ thought the Chef had a heavy hand with the salt, whereas I thought it was perfectly salted.  The service was excellent and most are bilingual. And, the price point is excellent for this caliber of restaurant.  For 3-entrées, 4-plats, 2-desserts, 2-bottles of wine and 3 coffees our bill came to 199€. Would we come back. in a heartbeat. Chapeau to the new Chef Julia Sedefdjian. So much talent at a ripe old age of 21-years old. She definitely has a promising future!

NOTE: As of February 2016, the 21-year old Chef Julia Sedefdjian was awarded a Michelin star, making her the youngest woman to ever achieve this. CHAPEAU CHEF!

Click on this link to see the article Michelin 2016 win for Chef Julia Sedefdjian

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