"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)!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Le Pario -- Restaurant Review

54 Av. Emile Zola 75015 Paris
Hours: Every day
12h - 14h00 / 19h - 22h00
Reservations by phone or online: Tel : 01 45 77 28 82/ resto.pario@gmail.com
Metro: Line 10 (Charles Michels)
Website: http://www.restaurant-lepario.com/

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+)

4 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 1 - Bell

with regards to noise level, we had a private room)

I usually have lunch on Wednesdays with a group of close friends. On this particular day, I told my friends I needed to be near the 16eme since I would be visiting a friend at the hospital close by. My friend recommended this restaurant, in fact near my home, that she'd been to and really enjoyed it.

I made reservations on "La Forchette" the French version of "The Fork" in the US. I had to change it twice because the number of people changed.  So, when we arrived, it appeared that there was confusion about our reservations and they did not have it. None-the-less, they were able to accommodate all 9 of us. In fact upstairs there's a private room, enough to accommodate a dozen people, easily, and that's the room we had. Great for "noisy" Americans.

As typical of most restaurants, they had a "prix-fixe" lunch with actually looked very interesting. I decided, as half of us did, we would go for this menu. The prices were very reasonable.  This review only covers the prix-fixe menu, but those that ordered à la carte also raved about their food.

After sitting and perusing the other choices on the regular menu, we had a nice "amuse bouche" of pâte à choux (a pastry used to make profiteroles) stuffed with ham and cheese. Very tasty, and a nice start to what was to follow.

ENTRÉE: Raviolis de châtaigne et marrons, écrasé de gambas et girolles, velouté de potiron (Chestnut ravioli, mashed prawns and mushrooms, cream of pumpkin). We all agreed this dish was delicious. Originally, when the waiter was pouring the cream soup over our raviolis, I forgot what type of soup it was and asked him, he said lobster. I think he was confused, cause it was definitely pumpkin. He may have thought I was asking him about the ingredients, after-all there was crushed prawns. I do have to say there was a nice little surprise in the soup, there were a spoonful of chopped sweet beets. This added a nice sweet note to the savory dish and paired well the other ingredients. I will say though, the soup was under-seasoned, then I realized we were given "truffle salt" to sprinkle atop. The truffled salt made a huge difference to the flavor profiles and brought it to a whole other level. DELICIOUS!

PLATS:  Pressé de cochon confit parfumé au romarin fine mousseline de patate douce (Pressed pork confit flavored with rosemary with a fine mousse of  sweet potatoes).  I love anything pork. And, this dish actually reminded me of the Chinese pressed duck dish, but only with pork. There were a lot of textural elements to this dish. With the crunchy skin and the moist meat interior. We did, however, agree that although the dish was delicious it could've used more sauce, since the exterior was coated with a bread crumb and without the sauce it could be dry. None-the-less a simple confit that hit all the textural and tasting notes.

DESSERTS: Clafoutis a la pêche (Peach Clafoutis).  Clafoutis is a thick flan-like batter, very eggy and is typically made with cherries. And, during cherry season, this desserts can easily be found throughout France. I did not have it, but opted for a substitution of cheese. Those that did have loved the dish.

Since I do not eat desserts, as I've said before, you can't go wrong with cheeses in France. I had a nice combination of chevre and some aged hard cheeses.

WINES: Domaine de la grange, Le clos Mabille, corsé.  Described as a fine wine with structure and distinguished by its deep garnet color. It smells like ripe fruit (cherries) highlighted by violets, well balanced with generous body and silky tannins. Ideal with meat sauces.

SUMMARY:  As I've said before, there are a lot of "un-sung" heroes in the food world that are from different countries, and bring a lot of their influences into French cuisine. They are changing the Parisian culinary landscape exponentially. Chef Eduardo Jacinto hails from Brazil, but worked for such luminaries as Chef Christian Constant. The restaurant is located in my neck of the woods, and not typically a tourist destination. It's more of a neighborhood restaurant.  Its a 2-story restaurant. It has a cozy ground level area for dining and I was impressed that they had a large room to accommodate large parties (a dozen or more) on the 2nd floor. What impressed me was as the waiter was about to pour wine into my friends glass, he noticed there was a spot and immediately changed it out. Very impressive, since this is not a "high-end" restaurant and as I mentioned, a more neighborhood restaurant. The only service fault we had was when we were served the soup, they forgot our spoons, but it's a wash, since they did change out spotty wine glasses.

The food was excellent. All courses on the prix-fix menu were perfectly executed. Over-all service was excellent, even with the one mishap (spoons). The price point is excellent as well. There were 9 of us, and we ordered off the menu as well as ordered the prix-fixe lunch. So, the average price per person is a little skewed, my guess it was roughly around 35-40€ per person with 9 entrées, 9 plats, 8 desserts, 2-bottles of wine and 4 soft drinks.

Would we go back, ABSOLUTELY!

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