"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, June 10, 2018

Le Bar Des Prés -- Restaurant Review

25 rue de dragon, Paris 75006
Tel: 01-43-25-87-67
Metro: 12 (Sevres Babylon)
Open 7 days a week

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+)

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

Note: if you do not order wine or cocktails, the food prices are quite reasonable, but in France who has a meal without at least some wine?

Our friend J recommended this restaurant owned by famed French chef and restaurateur Cyril Lignac who owns several restaurants throughout Paris. I knew it was going to be a sort of "tapas" type restaurant, but had no idea the food was going to be Japanese. Sort of strange since we just got back from Japan. And, probably not a good idea because I still remember the food that we had in Japan, so to make a comparison to Japanese food in Paris, would maybe be a dis-service. Oh well, pourquoi pas "why not"?

The interior looks very modern, almost a loft feel, with the exposed air vents etc., but with lower ceilings.  There's a long bar where the chefs make sushi or nori maki. The menu really doesn't have any cooked food. Everything is served cold. One noticeable attraction was the amount of liquor. And, when the menu was brought to us, they had quite the extensive cocktail menu, even more extensive than the food menu. We don't normally drink cocktails, so we went straight for the wine.

We got there a little early, just as it opened, but as it got busy I noticed that the bar was a popular place to sit. However, there are booths for people who prefer to be seated at a table.

As I mentioned earlier, I saw no warm kitchen, meaning no cooking. The menu was varied, but definitely a Japanese seafood type of restaurant.

Served like tapas to be shared, these were the following dishes we had:

Tartare de thon spicy.  It was good, but this was anything but spicy. The wasabe was weak, and sort of flavorless. I would've thought they'd bring us more wasabe, but they didn't.  Overall, it was eh, just ok, but definitely made for the French palate.

Yellow tail marinated in yuzu.  I liked this a lot. The citrus flavor of the yuzu with the crunchiness of the sesame and radish was a great sensation of textures as well as flavors. So, an A+ for this dish.

Octopus marinated in vinegar, jalapeno and sweet onions. This was my least favorite dish. The concept is great, however, the octopus for me was inedible. It was like chewing on rubber bands. However, I do have to add that Jack and J liked it. I've had tender octopus in many places, so its not like it can't be done. Definitely a miss for me.  And jalapeno..I don't think so, no oomph at all.

Crispy wafer with crab, curry, and avocado. Another dish I liked. It was simple, but a nice combination of flavors and textures. The crab was nicely folded with some mayonnaise. I have no idea why they even bothered saying the dish had madras curry, I tasted absolutely no curry flavor at all. But overall, it was a good dish in its simplicity served with a lime wedge that you could squeeze on top for a more citrus flavor.

Assortment of sashimi. Believe it or not, the above dishes were all we ordered, and I was still hungry so I ordered an assortment of sashimi. Your basic trio of salmon, tuna, and yellow tail. However, as I mentioned earlier, the wasabe was very bland, almost flavorless. They gave me a nice serving of wasabe, but just too weak for my liking. I do have to say that their fish was very fresh. So, no complaints on the quality of fish.

Mochi ice-cream. Nice trio of ice cream covered with mochi, a glutinous rice pounded into a paste. For most westerners, this is an acquired taste because it's very, very glutinous. However, when they use the mochi to cover ice cream and served frozen, the glutinous texture seems to disappear. I like mochi a lot, so this was a hit for me.

1.  Domaine des Graveness from Cotes du Rhone (37€). Described as a dry white wine dominated by flavors of white flowers, peach, with a touch of hazelnut

2.  Domaine Des Haut Châssis Crozes-Hermitage les Galets (59€). Described as having being dark purple in color and a very expressive nose with notes of black fruits and spices. Typically paired with a rack of lamb, white meat or a guinea fowl.  Note- they were out of the Saumur Champigny we initially ordered.


Have you ever left a restaurant feeling hungry? Well I'm not a big eater, so for me to feel hungry after I leave a restaurant is a bit strange. My photos are deceiving, because the portions served were actually small. The quality of the fish was great though. Nothing is cooked. Sure they prepped e.g., the sesame by toasting it earlier, but other than that, it was all raw. There was only 1-dish that I had an aversion to, and that was the octopus, because it really was like chewing on rubber bands. But everything else was good to delicious. This is a very, very popular bar/restaurant, probably because I think it was intentionally set up as a cocktail bar with Japanese tapas on the side to compliment the cocktails. When the restaurant was not crowded the service was very attentive, but as it got busier, it became painfully slow. Would I go back, I suppose if I wanted a cocktail and some munchies on the side, but not for a meal.

So, for 5-dishes, 2-bottles of wine, 1-dessert, and 2-coffees for 3-people, our bill came to 222€ or 74€ per person. The food itself was reasonable, but the wines and cocktails are not.


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