My wife and I did Paris for the first time. Many thanks to this board for your input. Please excuse all the typos and gramatical errors. Reservations are essential and all were made a day before or the day of, except for Astrance and L'Epi Dupin. Astrance is likely one of the most difficult reservations to get. Here's why: you must reserve exactly 30 days in advance of the night you would like to reserve; you should call starting 9:30AM Paris time; they have about 10 tables; for 84E you get unbelievable quality and imagination; everyone wants to eat there. Our friends in Paris were able to secure our reservation. I am convinced short of sleeping outside the front door, this is the only way to get in. The reservation at L'Epi Dupin was made by our friends also.
Chez Paul-18 rue Paul Bert , Tel: 01 43 72 24 01, metro: #8-Ledru Rollin
A perfect place for my perception of the quintessential bistro experience. The dark wood panelling and white table clothes give way to a noisy and boisterious crowd chatting like bees in a hive. Upstairs it is somewhat less frantic. The menu presents a variety of classic parisian food. We order a la carte. I opt to start with a haricot vert and tomatoe salad and follow with the l'onglet cooked rose. It is in a pepper cognac sauce and comes with a potatoe gratin in its own side dish. My wife had the roasted leeks in vinagret, outstanding, and a starter of saute sardines as her main. A plate de fromage concluded our first Paris dinner outside of our host's home. No room for dessert, just cafe please. We had two half bottles of red: a Crozes-Hermitage and a St. Joeseph (cannot remember the producers). Both were delicious and paired well with our meal.
Le Troyon-4, rue Troyon in the 17th arrd. metro: #1,2,6 Ch. De Gaulle Etoilé, just off Ave de Wagram Tel: 01 40 68 99 40 Fax: 01 40 68 99 57 The blackboard reveals a 30E menu which included a very nice amouse bouché, entree, granite, main dish, dessert or fromage and ginger cookies. Nice selection of wines from the South. We had a 2000 Langeudoc called Cazeneuve's from the Pic St. Loup. The three of us thouroughly enjoyed our meals. Unfortunately I recall only what I had. First dish was the seared ahi tuna on frisee with crispy shallots and vinagret. Main course was the duck confit (leg and thigh) and roasted breast and wing with flagolet and parsley. Dessert was a raspberry tart with creme anglaise. Expresso. Great meal in an unpretentios bistro that tries very hard to please, and they do!
Astrance-4, rue Bethoven in the 16th arrd.
Tel:01 40 50 84 40, metro: #6-Passy
Our table of 4 started with apertifs. Vodka martini for me and champagne for the rest. We all ordered "le suprise" at 84E per person. This included wine and required that the entire table order it. We were not disappointed.
1. Amuse bouché in a shot glass. Bottom layer of very sweet yogurt, then melon puree topped with olive oil emulsion.
2. Crab tian using thinly sliced avocado drizzled with almond oil. A great version of the classic combination. Extremely light and delicate.
3. Apple (granny smith) and mushroom tart dusted in cinnamon. Sliced very thinly, the combination of flavors was astonishingly refreshing.
4. Grilled white asparagus in safron oil with tangerine reduction accompanied by fennel and dill salad. I now know that I am in the hands of greatness.
5. Langoustines in lettuce sauce with toasted coconut and candied tomatoe. Ditto
6. A most daring combination of oysters in the half shell with a camembert froth and chervil infusion.
7. French lentils in lentil broth (frothy) with puree of chorizo and onion sorbet. Again a brillant combination of ingredients. Contrasting flavors, temperatures and textures. Amazing!
8. Fresh water white fish filet steamed (red mullet?) with rhubard & basil sauce on a bead of onion confit.
9. Two roasted eggplant and bell pepper raviolis in a bitter chocolat reduction.
10. Half roasted guinea fowl au jus with roasted turnips.
11. Lemongrass, hot pepper and ginger granite.
12. Fresh raspberries, strawberries, cherries and grapes with a citrus sorbet
13. Fresh madeleines
14. sorbet with sauce and tule cookie ( I cannot remember the flavors).
15. Jasmine flavoured egg-nog served in egg shell, in egg carton.
2 whites: The first was 100% Rousanne cote du rhone. Forward fruit and mineral. Not bad. Couldn't guess the second. Turns out to be 100% chardonnay from Languedoc. Very nice toasty pear fruit with generous acidity--very nice compliments to the first three fourths of the meal. I asked for a red wine which I ended up having with the ravioli and guinea fowl. It was from Minervois, however I cannot remember the name. It was not very memorable, somewhat light for what I was hoping for. They in fact intended the entire meal to match up with white and likely had not opened a better red for glass service.
L'Epi Dupin-11, rue Dupin 01 42 22 64 56, metro: #10,12 Sèvres-Babylone
A popular place with the Americans, this is a place I like to call, "the little bistro that could." The three course menu is littered with sophisticated dishes that are ambitous and creative. I started with the crustillant of roasted beef with tomatoe confite and mustard glace. An amazing combination of texture and taste. The delicate, stringy meat, the sweet tomatoe and the cold yet mild grip of the glace is a remarkable marriage. My main course was roasted monkfish with a saffron broth infused with basil. We had a small fromage course, one slice of camembert. Desserts were cumin glace with fresh cherries and chocolat gateau with vanilla glace. We had a bottle of Cuilleron's 00' regular Condrieu and a Gaillard's 99' St. Joeseph. The condrieu was very ripe and concentrated. The St. Joseph was medium bodied and was a fine complement to the food.
Fish: 69, rue de Seine metro: #10-Mabillon. Started with a glass of Syrah from the Laguedoc then ordered a 99' Ogier Cote Rotie straight to the decanter resisting as long as possible (after 1 hour we still had two-thirds of the wine left!). We each had mussels in curry broth to start. I folloowed with Tagollini with lardon, leeks and girolles. Marina had grilled salmon with leek and tomatoe. We met Juan who is originally from Florida. He's been in the wine/food business in Paris for about 10 years. He started selling wines at the outdoor markets in Paris, including the one on rue de Seine. In addition to Fish he part-owns and runs Cosi, a more upscale bistro; and the shop du vin, La Dernière Goutte (The Last Drop) on 6, rue de Bourbon Le Chateau. He offers a great selection on Rhone and Southern French wines. The back room is filled with Burgundy and Bordeaux, including a few library selections. I left with two bottles of 99' Ogier Cote Rotie for 32E each. Not bad since I hear pre arrivals are going for $80. They can pack things up so you can carry on the plane or check your bottles in.
Astier- 44, rue Jean Paul Timbaud, 01 43 57 16 35, metro: #3 Parmentier
23,50E menu including 4 courses, of which the cheese course was quite memorable. We sat upstairs. When we arrived nobody was upstairs, however within ten minutes the place was full. We orderred a bottle of the 99' Les Palliers Gigondas-amazing bottle of wine. We started with a tuna tartare and filet of sardines served warm in a herbs and olive oil. Main courses were the saute of rabbit in mustard sauce and saute of veal provençal. The cheese course consists of a large round wicker tray holding about 20-25 cheeses, placed on your table for you to help yourself. Dessert was a raspberry gratin and chocolat mousse.
Le Repaire de Cartouche: 99, rue Amelot, metro: #8 St. Sebastien-Froissart
We orderred a bottle of 00' Minervois from Jean Babtiste Senat. A wonderful blend of grenache and mouvedre tasting of black pepper and cassis with round tanins. It went very nicely with our meal. Amouse of roasted beef in a sour cream like sauce. Think of potatoe salad, substituting the meat for the potatoe. Spread this on the amazing bread and enjoy. We started with a pate of pidgeon and green bean salad with a generous shaving of black truffles in a light vinagret. The entire terrine dish is brought to your table for you to slice your own helping. The pate was accompanied by wonderfully tart house cured cherries and pickled cornicons. My main course was a gateau of lamb in a tomatoe sauce and layered with roasted eggplant in sauce vert. Terrific! The lamb has that carmelized meets exotic spices of shwarma taste. Marina wants something vegetarian and although not on the menu, the chef serves her various roasted vegetables (carrots, peas, turnip, potatoes, leek, red bell pepper, girolles and garlic). We decide to pass on dessert and instead take a walk around the neighborhood. As we are walking, I see this bar called "Pop In". So we decide to go in and discover a bar that is straight out of Silverlake, Ca. It is 2 stories with a seperate dance/performance space, the bar, and an upstairs lounge area. Fun place. We meet these guys from Boston and London, they were late 20s? We chatted for about an hour and decided to head home about midnight as we were beginning our 8-day road trip in the morning and I wanted to be fresh for the adventure.
In the next post I'll report on our 9 day excurrsion to Beaune, Lyon, Grenoble and Avallon. Cheers! G