I was in Paris over the weekend (usually get there 3-4 times/yr.)staying at my favorite hotel in the 5th. Saturday happened to be my birthday and I was alone, so I asked one of the folks at the hotel for a dinner recommendation. I said I was looking for something nice but not real high-end (which, being August, was mostly not an option anyway).
The gentleman I asked recommended a brand new place that had been open less than 2 months, and which was literally a 2 minute walk from the hotel (The hotel is very near Le Reminet, where I usually make a stop. But again, being August, they were closed). He described it as a "Gastronomic Restaurant". I decided to give the new place a try, and was very pleasantly surprised with the results.
The name is "La Partage" Restaurant (La Partage meaning, the owner informed me, "The Sharing"). It is located at 17, rue Frederic sauton (about a one minute walk from the corner of Boulevard St. Germain and Rue Lagrange). It is a tiny sliver of a place, with maybe 12-15 tables. The interior is very nicely done with light wood tones and mirrors throughout. The owners obviously put a lot of care and thought into creating a refined, but very warm space.
The menu was very well thought out with probably 7-8 entrees (starters or appetizers) and 7-8 Main Plates. I chose the foie gras as a starter and the Duck Breast "steak" as a main plate.
The meal was preceeded by a very nice "amuse bouche" trio of a tasty gazpacho in a shot glass,a mushroom tapenade on baguette, and a slivered and seared eggplant dish. All were terrific.
The foie came with a very interesting banana compote on the side and several pieces of excellent toasted baguette. It was rich, smooth, creamy, and the compote added a unique additional kick.
The duck (cooked medium rare) was served perfectly done. It was encrusted in a light rub (sorry, unsure what it was) and served on top of a very light (in texture) curry-based emulsion. The flavors were perfect,and I really loved how they all blended together. Accompanying was a bowl of lightly whipped and fluffy sweet potatoes. With the meal, I had a very nice, reasonably priced bottle of Burgundy. By the time dessert rolled around, the Burgundy was mostly gone, and for the life of me I can't remember what I had for dessert (I remember liking it very much though!). Excellent digestifs completed a perfect evening. Total bill including a bottle of wine and several expensive digestifs was 120 Euro.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the service. After the meal, the chef came out an sat down to chat for a while. He asked my opinion on everything from the wine to the main dishes. He could not have been nicer, and really gave me the impression he cared, telling me "next time you come back, let me know you're here, and I'll cook whatever you like." Wow!
The other service highlight was a woman who said she was an owner (not sure if she was the only one) and was also working that night as a server, busser, etc. She hailed from Spain, and had moved to Paris to pursue an acting career, while also fulfilling her dream of some day opening a restaurant. Several times during the meal she stoppped by to chat (each time asking if she could join me at the table)and one time she sat down and serenaded me with a very sweet(and thankfuly soft) feliz cumpleanos (happy birthday)sung in Spanish (I had mentioned to the chef in passing that it was a great way to celebrate my birthday). I am not usually one to engage in lots of conversation with restaurant service (just prefer the typically European model where they are there to serve a meal and not be your best friend) however, this woman was so throughly charming and engaging, that I just couldn't resist. As the name she chose for the restaurant implies, "Sharing" is what this place is all about.
By all means if you are in this area, I would urge you to try this place. It has all the charm and good cooking of Le Reminet, and the owners are so nice, that I am really pulling for them to succeed. All in all, it was a perfect way to spend a rainy birthday eve in Paris.
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