"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, March 3, 2017

L'Archeste -- Restaurant Review

79, rue de la Tour
Tel: + 33 1 40 71 69 68
Metro: Rue de la Pompe (line 9). Passy (line 6)
Closed Sundays-Mondays, and  Saturdays only for dinner
Website: http://www.archeste.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+)

4.25 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell

Our good friend recommended a restaurant close to where she lives in the 16eme. It's relatively new, opening in September 2016. And, in fact the restaurant was recently awarded a Michelin star. Surprisingly, despite the win the restaurant prices have not changed.

The Chef, Yoshiaki Ito was the head Chef of Hiramatsu Paris. A popular Japanese restaurant, which has since closed. The restaurant interior clearly was definitely influenced by the chef's Japanese heritage. The restaurant has clear lines, simple and uncluttered. You can definitely see and feel the Japanese sensibility.

The restaurant has 2-choices for lunch. Lunch =  39€ for 3-courses;  56€ for 5-courses.  Diner =
98€ 7-courses. It is a tasting menu, but they will ask you if you are allergic to anything. I told them I didn't eat sugar and they easily accommodated me and others with a plate of cheese for dessert. We all opted for the 3-course lunch special. I'm glad we didn't get the 5-course tasting menu, because we were quite full after 3-courses.

AMUSE BOUCHE.  A foam of haddock with rice. You could definitely taste the fish and it was very light. It was a pop of flavors versus substance. And, it had a little bite afterwards. My guess it was espelette. Overall, we loved this little spoonful of deliciousness.


OCTOPUS. OMG, this had to be my favorite dish. The octopus was so tender and succulent. I definitely could taste some Asian influence in the marinate of the octopus, a sort of sweet soy sauce. The octopus was served with mini-potatoes, and an aioli topped with some frisée. This was not only beautiful but the combination of flavors was a hit.


As I mentioned, this restaurant just won a Michelin star. But this did not go to Chef Ito's head. He actually came out and poured the demi-glace for us at our table. There's nothing pretentious about this restaurant.

VEAL.  For our main course we had the veal with brussel sprouts and charred sweet potato strip, shaved mushrooms and a beautiful tasty demi-glace. I could've just drank the sauce. The veal was very tender. It's deceiving because it looks like a small dish, but in actuality, you got two very nice pieces of veal. The dish was flavored with black salt. Salt can be used as a flavoring agent, but for some it might be a bit salty. I happened to like that the chef used it as a seasoning, rather than "just salt." Excellent dish.


THREE SELECTIONS OF CHEESES. What a nice selection of cheese. We had a Camembert and two aged cow cheeses. They were delicious. The accompanying bread was also good. Crunchy exterior with a soft tender well developed yeast bread.

VANILLA ICE CREAM. The folks that had this said the ice cream was very, very creamy. And, it was accompanied with passion fruit, which I don't see that often in Paris and topped with a crispy tuile. Nice combination of different textures, sweetness and sourness from the passion fruit.

At the end of our meal, were given a little cake and the chocolate truffles. I broke my no sugar rule and decided to try the chocolate truffles. OMG, it was heaven. It was soft gooey creamy interior encased in a hard chocolate shell, rolled in cocoa. Once you took a bite it literally exploded with chocolatey goodness.  The little cake was also a hit. I dream of having that chocolate goodness again.


Saint Nicolas Les Clous -- Thierry Michon.  The wines were relatively expensive. This is a chardonnay and is known for its high acidity, honeyed aromas,  green-apple flavors, often with a hint of hazelnut.

Chateau Beau-site -- Saint-Estèphe
2010. A red wine from the Bordeaux region. Characterized by  Intense purple-bluish crimson. Concentrated nose of ripe red and black fruits with a hint of oak in the background. On the palate, dense stuffing, refined tannins and a robust, fairly warm whole with a good framework. (description from tasting notes)


Kudos to Chef Ito for winning a Michelin star for 2017. It's a small restaurant, my guess is there are less than 30-seats. But the tables were nicely spaced so it didn't feel like you were on top of each other.  This is an affordable Michelin starred restaurant. It's an unpretentious restaurant that also serves unpretentious simple food, but packed with tons of flavor. The one complaint that I had was that once it filled up, the noise level went up. Probably because there were plenty of surfaces for noise to bounce around. My friend said she had gone there for dinner and it was not as noisy. The service is excellent, but unrushed. We were there for 2 1/2 hours. So, if you're in a hurry, this is not a place to for you. But if you want a nice leisurely meal, then this is the place for you. Would we go back. ABSOLUTELY!

For 5-prix-fixe menus, 2-bottles of wine our meal came to 282€ or 56.40 each.

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