"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 12, 2016

La Maison Becquey -- Restaurant Review

 34 quai de la Marne in the 19eme
Metro: Line 5 (Ourcq)
open 7-days from 8 AM - midnight

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 (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

1 - Star......................................................€......................................................... 3 - Bell

Well readers, I'm back from my summer vacation and it feels good to get back into the swing of things. Unfortunately, my start for reviewing restaurants has not gone well.  First let me say, it was a beautiful day in Paris.  This restaurant is along the "Canal de l'Ourcq" of Paris. So the restaurant had a perfectly great view of the canal and the way the pocket doors opened, you felt a nice breeze both on the terrace and interior of the restaurant, and it was a welcome relief especially on a warm day.

This is going to be a complete departure from my regular style of reviewing restaurants. I don't want to waste too much time nor effort in reviewing a restaurant that needs some serious work with their service and some of the dishes.

The menu was a bit strange. There was a clear view of the rotisserie, but their menu said that you have to request the roast chicken 72-hours prior? And, some of the dishes were really bizarre, like the "Bagel Texas” which was composed of chicken, tomatoes, onions, cheddar, bacon and a honey mustard sauce. First of all, since when is Texas known for their bagels?

For the entrée JJ had the beet appetizer. It was a good salad. Very citrusy with sweet notes from the beets.

Now here's where the problem began. We asked if we could have the chicken, and they said yes. Little did we know it would take 70 minutes between the time JJ finished his beets (he was the only one that wanted an entrée among the three of us).  First time we asked where's our dish? they said it's coming. Second time we asked I specifically told them it's been an hour since our entrée and he said it would come in 10-minutes. I guess third time's the charm.  Let me put it another perspective, we waited 1-HOUR AND 10 MINUTES, between the first course, where 2 of us did not have an entrée and people were coming and going and we were still waiting for our damn plats.

We finally got our plats, and to add insult to injury my chicken, which was the "spiced" chicken, was drier than the desert canyon of death valley. The cut portion was strange to say the least. It consisted of the wing, a lot of back with accompanying bones that's usually used for stock, and a tiny bit of breast. It tasted like it was seasoned with lawry's seasoned salt. Don't even get me started on the fries. They gave a whole new meaning to the word "limp." My guess is that they "blanched fried" the fries, but forget to give it a second fry, or that's how they make them.

J ordered the stuffed chicken, and although the stuffing was very tasty with mushrooms and herbs his chicken tasted like it was an old rooster that hadn't been quite cooked long enough, therefore it had a rubbery texture.

JJ was the only one that had a decent dish. He had the bar that was pan roasted, skin was crispy and sat atop some mashed sweet potatoes.

We feared that we would be there til midnight if we had ordered dessert, so we opted not to have any.


The Canal St. Martin and the surrounding area is where the new hip and trendy scene is starting to emerge, and this is especially true with the restaurant scene. And, you can find some excellent affordable food because rents are low, so Chefs can concentrate on the ingredients and cooking. Unfortunately, this restaurant isn't one of them. It's trendy, in a great location, but that's where it ends.

I suppose if you order the "in and out" menu, e.g., salads or the formule, you would get served faster. But I saw people getting served pasta, hamburgers and even ordering 2 or 3 courses getting served faster than us. I give them credit though, they did acknowledge their shortcomings and offered us free coffee (really, a free cup of coffee)?

Our bill with 1-entrée, 3-plats, 2-bottles of wine, and 2 coffees offered to make up as an apology for the 70 minute wait between courses, was 92€ for 3-people, but really?

Fortunately, the lunch was not wasted. We were able to catch up with our good friend J who we haven't seen all summer.

Would I go back, ABSOLUTELY NO WAY!

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