Restaurants & Bars

le restaurant - a review (paris)

gg | Nov 17, 200407:41 AM

ok, the name is cheesey. i never would have set foot in it had it not been for a nice recommendation from my dinner partner's friend, who is described as a foodie.
it's also in an improbable area, full of touristy translated menus and pizza joints: monmartre, up from pigalle.
le restaurant sits on the corner of a quieter side street, with a fairly stark white interior, plain tables and chairs, tile floor. lots of chair squeaking, especially at the unfrench early hour of 7:45. the menu at 20 e? (i have to start writing these things down) included entree and plat, and we shared an additional cheese plate for dessert (5e). also 2 carafes of vin de table, 10 e each maybe.
it was a cold night, and i found the restaurant a trifle chilly, so i asked if we might get some more chauffage. the waitress checked the thermostat and informed me it was up all the way. this provided a little comedy for me and my friend, as every server in the place had a large scarf wrapped around their necks the entire evening. ah well. i did the same.
entrees: grilled sardines. 3 on the place, wedge of lime, in a pool of olive oil, whole chili pepper laid across the top. fantastic. moist interior, crisp skin, spiced just right, with little kicks from the pepper now and again, and a delicious oil to dip the well-earned chunks of self-filleted fish into. not since portugal have i had such nice simple fishes, and probably better. my friend had slices of salmon, reminiscent of gravlax, served with a little potato and onion. very subtle and nice, with touches of clove.
plats: baby duck with stewed figs. turned out to be a half duck, roasted a bit crispy with cracked pepper on top, sitting in a pool of very sweet sauce. scoops of fig confit and a creamy cabbage concoction accompanied it. ok, i know the whole tradition of pairing duck with sweet sauces, but this was nearly a dessert. i mean, it was very well presented, but i have to have some savory with my sweet, and i think the chef could have included a bit more salt somewhere. oh well. the meat was tender and well cooked. my friend had a tagine of lamb, with the usual suspect spices, and a couple decent hunks of meat in brown sauce of peas, carrots, potatoes. i found it a bit underwhelming, but not by any means bad. just more ooomph required. he liked it.
i don't remember the cheese plate, but i do remember the home-made little round rolls that came all night. nice flour and salt affairs, almost like a crispy biscuit.
anyway, you know my heart was with the sardines, and if other items on the menu come close to that, you'll be in for a decent meal. i may just have expected too much from the duckling. btw, the service was friendly and efficient.

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