"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, June 15, 2018

Signature Montmartre -- Restaurant Review

12 rue des trois frères
Tel: 01-84-25-30-00
Metro: Line 12 (Abbesses station)
website: https://signature-montmartre.fr/
Call for operating hours
Reservations can be made on "La Fourchette" 

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+)

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

This restaurant came highly recommended by a friend who lives close by. The restaurant has only been open since December of last year. I'm very familiar with this area, since I literally used to live a block away. So, for those that don't know Montmartre, it is quintessentially French. The restaurant is small, but had a nice cozy feel to it.

I met the owners Victor and Sukwon the chef, they could not have been anymore welcoming and accommodating since we were a large group (8), and we came at various times because of personal issues. But it appears they don't turn tables, so good for us. Regardless they accommodated us and we drank until the others arrived.

Sukwon, the chef, has quite the impressive resume. He is Korean, but  graduated in French cuisine (Cordon Bleu and Ferrandi). He has worked in several gourmet restaurants and Michelin starred (Ze Kitchen Gallery, Ibaji, House Rostand), and I will tell you I'm a big fan of William Ledeuil of Ze Kitchen Gallery, Bis and also Kitchen Terre. (refer to my previous reviews)

As many of you know, I like small simple menus. It tells me two things, it's manageable for the diner to select, and the fewer dishes on the menu are generally cooked well. I remember that the late Anthony Bourdain once said, consistency is key in a restaurant, and one way to achieve that is not to have a novel as a menu.

This review will be a little different since I'm only going to review the dishes that I had which were two, and it would've been impossible for me to taste everyone's dishes. Also, to be honest the wines were fabulous, but so many different wines came out I couldn't keep track.

Tartare de boeuf au couteau à la coréen -- sauce beurre de cacahuetes, soja et gingembre -- Tempuras légerès de légumes -- pickles maison.  (Beef tartar hand cut in the Korean style  - peanut butter, soy and ginger sauce - Light vegetable tempuras - homemade pickles)

As a general rule I don't eat tartare, because I've gotten sick from the unsanitary conditions of some kitchens, especially if they're machine chopped and not hand chopped. But last night I made an exception, since it's hand-chopped and I am so glad I did.

Let's start with the whole platting. You have a "Ying-Yang" of cold raw beef coupled with a warm cooked tempura. You've got 2-textures, 2-temperatures and 2-elements.  The beef was out of this world delicious. It had some wonderful spicy elements to the dish, and it actually had a kick, but not overwhelming.  As they say in French "beaucoup de gout, pas fade" (a lot of flavor and not bland). So this dish brought the tartare to a new level that I haven't had before. I think I will make this my go to place for tartare, because to be honest, I'm not big on the French style of making tartare since I find it bland.  As for the vegetable tempura, true to their word it was light, crispy and not spicy, so you can a balance again with spicy and not spicy. Overall, I thought this was an A+ dish.

Ongsimi (gnocchis coréens) et gambas -- Sauce tomate -- Vierge au kimchi -- Panure à l'ail -- Tomates confites.  (Ongsimi (Korean gnocchi) and prawns - Tomato sauce - Virgin kimchi - Garlic breadcrumbs - Tomatoes confit).  

Another very well balanced dish. You have the soft texture of the gnocchi sprinkled with a crumbly texture of the garlic breadcrumbs and topped with 2-meaty prawns and the smooth texture of the sauce that brought it all together. This was delicious as well, and I love it when the whole prawn is served, because I'm one of those that love "head mustard". The kimchi was a mild kimchi, not the spicy "heat", but more of a flavorful kimchi. Definitely  packed with lots of flavor, but combined to make a very cohesive dish. Plus the confites of tomatoes added a nice element. Another great dish.

I did not have dessert, but was told their pastry chef Lim Kim has her own philosophy of desserts is that it shouldn't be too sweet and have a nice balance. I regretted not trying it. If you're interested she has a blog of her recipes and philosophy of pastries at https://kimshii.com/


I have to say that although I only had 2-dishes and was unable to try the other dishes, I was blown away with what I had. The owners are very, very personable and they know their stuff. They have a nice collections of wines reasonably priced. What I liked about the dishes, they were balanced, spiced, and had different elements of "Ying-Yang" in their food. It's a small restaurant, but as word gets out, I'm sure they'll start getting really busy. It can get noisy after it fills up, or maybe it was just us being loud. This is one of only a few restaurants that I gave an almost perfect rating. Would we go back? in a heart beat.

As for the prices, for a 3-courses = 40€; 2-courses (main/dessert) = 32€; 2-courses (entree/main) = 35€. Very, very reasonable prices.

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