(I'll try writing something that will make sense and sorry in advance for the "fran-glais"!)
In Paris for a couple of days after a few days in Barcelona (nice pair of cities!) to see family and eat! I've had only lunch in restaurants, all other meals were at home.
After landing in CDC, we had some errands in the center of Paris (around les Halles), so we stopped at "Au Pied De Cochon"; classic, a bit touristic-ish, but fun and good (IMO), but horrible wine list. This is a classic Brasserie; so no real surprise in the menu. we opted for a small seafood platter (shrimps, oysters and "Amandes") all was good and fresh, after that, an Andouillette AAAA (+/- an A) and my sister had the Soupe a L'oignon and my niece a nice salmon steak (from the kid's menu) all was well prepared, meat, fish and soup.
- Cochon à L'Oreille : Small, very small old school bistro right off the "Halles" area. small menu with classics, nothing extraordinary, but well made and just in their portion size; I had quiche as the first course, a sizeable portion, smooth and light, and the Navarrin d'agneau as the main course, a nice chunk of meat with the bones and autumn veggies. One fun thing is that when you order wine, they will open the bottle you ask for and charge you only what you drink; so I had a good portion of a nice Brouilly (Henry Fessy). Comfort food at a good price.
- Pierre Gagnaire :
That was an awesome meal. I found the food to be a lot more "classical" than I expected from all I could read about the restaurant, nothing wildly esoteric or far-fetched either in ingredients or preparation (or it was so well done that I could not figured it out!); maybe because I choose items off the "Hunting" menu ? I also found the progression of the whole meal very well thought of, starting with the multitude of amuse-bouche to the appetizers to the first course and the main course and the deserts.
The Amuse bouche, even if they are numerous, are just about sized appropriatly to actually "amuse" you, you feel happy at all those little things coming in with no end in sight! All of them were quite light, fish, shell-fish (coquillage), small "green" salad (very good) and a small sweet sablé to finish it; as I told the very nice waitress (cute also), it was like a menu inside the menu!
As I wrote earlier, I chose items from the "Menu Chasse"; since it looked a bit more like a seasonal menu, I felt it was more appropriate as an introduction to Pierre Gagnaire.
The "Entrée" was the "La Plume" a series of dishes around duck: A foie-gras terrine marbled with wild duck; Onion tartelette with "acidulée" girolles (marinated girolles) a ballotine of "perdreau" in a quite bitter cold juniper broth (probably the only thing I did not really liked at first, but it grew on me), an excellent potimarron chutney (and fresh ones) that went perfectly with the wine I selected for the whole meal, a
Château de Saint-Cosme Gigondas Hominis Fides 2003 a very warn year but the wine held up very well.
The highlight of "La Plume" was the Champagne "Faisan" soup with nuts and aloe-vera; velvety, crunchy wit the nuts, a bit weird (in a good way) with the aloe-vera (What the heck, we can eat that ??!?); served in two parts, the soup is poured into the bowl, then the soupière (more like a saucière) is rinced with some champagne table-side and poured again into the bowl.
The main dish was the "Chevreuil", a quite simple dish, not multiple dishes, only 2, meat and veggies,, but very satisfying; the meat, presented to me in a terrine, and then finalized table-side, the meat was sliced and put on the plate on a cerfeuil mousseline with a apricot, cinamon sauce with some chestnut pieces; the combination of all the ingredients went perfectly with the meat, which was cooked to perfection, and quite tender and went very well with the wine. The side dish was a "Friselli D'Agria", which is a series of very thinly sliced vegetables and fruits dried, they are either crunchy or a chewy, nice contrast of texture, with, I think a piece of carrot (or potimarron) with a lemon chutney.
After that, the last choice, do I go with desert or with cheeses… decided to go with the desert, the autumn "biscuit souflé" which consisted of a "souflé" with some sautéed rhubard and mirablles, that was warm, and on top of that, a cold "praliné" that melted into the souflé! a nice combination; alongside of that, 2 cold sidekicks, one sablé and one "red-fruits" tartelette. The desert was served with a glass of Sidre Brut 2008 (Eric Bordelet) which was a good end to a great meal!
The service is exemplary, attentive, not stuffy (heard a waiter talking to another table, saying his/their job is to make us happy!) and competent! the sommelier made a good selection, offered a couple of different choices according to what I told him I liked and what would go well with the meal.
The damage : : 334E, not cheap at all, but, IMO quite reasonable (all things considered) !!! and worth it.
It was a memorable meal. I have to go back again!
- Passage 53
P.53 was not a real planned meal, I was walking in the area and remembered about the Passage Panorama; ventured in and found the restaurant; decided to make a reservation for 2 days later; my phone died in the meantime, so I could not reconfirm; and I was 1/2 expecting that they forgot about so I could go to Racines instead! but no biggie, it was a very good meal (and I can find Racine type food in Montreal more easily than P.53 food).
The restaurant is quite small, and loungy, even in its white setting; but it makes for a "light atmosphere" (I can't find the word now), especially during the day.
I decided to go with the 85e tasting menu, not knowing what to expect makes it fun; but enough information about it to select a very nice bottle of Puligny-Montrachet 2007 (Vincent Girardin), the wine list is somewhat small but looked very nice, but condidering the size of the restaurant, no biggie there!.
I don't remember exactly what each dishes were… I should have taken note! but everything was very good, fish was well cooked, meats were tender; one of the highlight was a roasted sweet onion quartered where they inserted between each layer a slice of chorizo!!
The bread was good and served with Bordier butter (demi-sel and espelette)
The Damage : 187e, kind of expensive (but including a very good bottle of wine) compared to PG, but worth it; different in style and substance to Gagnaire, so a nice meal…
Markets visited :
President Wilson St, Market; quite a largish market with a big stand of joel Thiebault and a lot of different other things, from pans and pots to all kind of cheeses and seafood and veggies and meat.
Small I love the way they prepare the roasted potatoes!!
Nogent Sur Marne Market, a very large market in this "banlieue bourgeoise" just east of the Vincennes forest, lots and lots of different kind of stalls, from fish to meats to chair repairman to mattresses, to veggies and patisseries … I love it there! bought some terrine and patés from the Conserverie Marie-Antoinette (http://www.conserveriemarieantoinette...), I've not tried them out yet!
That's all for now folks!
(crappy) Pictures are available : http://www.flickr.com/photos/thesorus...