Dear Chow Hounds:
Thank you for the invaluable feedback on restaurant suggestions in Paris. This is update on the various restaurants, I have been fortunate to dine at that I will continue to update. I hope that this will prove useful for some of the restaurants of which there are few/ no threads on.
Spring - The nearest Metro is Louvre-Rivoli, where the restaurant was located less than a 5 minute walk. The decor of the restaurant is modern though a little dark. Diners were an equal split between Americans and French. There is a good wine selection with mark up averaging ~ 300%. My effusive host was Martin, who made dinner at the bar counter a great experience! Amuse #1 was a platter of pata negra, figs and pickled beet root. Amuse #2 was 2 cubes of tuna accompanied by a freshly, shucked oyster and the fried oyster. I have never had oysters as sweet as these! Entree #1 was mullet with a mint sauce with olives. A surprisingly harmonious dish with great flavor although the olives were extraneous. Entree #2, a pigeon ravioli with sliced shitake in a vegetable broth - outstanding! This was the highlight of the meal - I joked with Martin informing that he should replace my main with a bowl of these. The Main was pigeon with a cepe puree and pomegranate - well executed technically, perfect amount of seasoning and the pomegranate providing a good counter to the 'gaminess' of the pigeon. Being greedy, a mistake in hindsight I also had the supplementary 3 cheese platter where the piece de resistance was a 36 month old Comte. Dessert was a mud cake, olive granita and raspberry -lemon tart. Cost for dinner came to Euros 110. Would I return - definitely; I found the hype about Spring genuine.
Saturne - The nearest Metro is Bourse, where the restaurant was conveniently located across the street a 1 minute walk away. The dinner menu was 60 Euros and included Amuse #1 Tomato, and black olive. Amuse #2 oyster, beetroot and pear. Entree #1 cake, carrot and mustard. Main #1 hake, wild mushrooms, molds. Main # 2 sweetbread, quince, butternut squash. Dessert #1 was raspberry, fennel, tarragon, goat cheese. Dessert #2 was sollies figure, fig leaf chocolate. After dining at Spring, Saturne was an afterthought. The food was technically well executed but decidedly average. Interestingly, my wife and I were engaged by our French neighbors dining next to us who were intrigued on how we discovered the restaurant. Cost for dinner came to Euro 75 per person. In conclusion, I would have given Saturne a miss given the small price variation compared to Spring.
Ze Kitchen Galerie 1* - The nearest Metro is St. Michel where the restaurant is approximately a 10 minute walk away. The restaurant is located on rue des Grands Augustins but Chow Hounds should note that it is actually adjacent to this street. I actually walked past it before having to retrace my steps with my map. The chef - William Ledeuil has a reputation for creativity and I looked forward to my meal with great excitement. The restaurant decor is modern, but similar to all restaurants in Paris the space was extremely tight. It was impossible to dine without inadvertedly eaves dropping on the conversation of my neighbors to the left and to the right. Similarly, it was impossible to leave the table without having to pull the table out. I selected the Tasting Menu at 82 Euros which included 7 dishes (3 entrees, 2 mains and 2 desserts). Entree #1 - mussel, shrimp, whelk, emelon, coral and saffron. Presentation was exquisite, the ingredients combining together with great harmony and excellent balance. This was definitely a 1* dish! Entree #2 - white beans, chanterelles, a sous vide egg in a Thai broth. This was in summary an egg in a very, balanced Tom Yam Gong. I found it immensely creative let alone delicious. I wonder however, if it could have been improved if the egg would have been replaced with a quail's egg though. Another outstanding dish that displayed the chef's creativity and use of fresh produce. Entree #3 - linguini, octopus and sea weed. This was ho-hum - perhaps a larger portion would have enabled a better conclusion to be drawn. Main #1 - mackerel, ceps, spinach and a cep puree with foam of lemon grass. The mackerel was brilliantly cooked and the foam packing in flavor but hardly an outstanding dish. Main #2 - suckling pig, mashed potatoes, quince and a Thai jus. Now, this is what we're talking about. The Thai jus was excellent and the suckling pig was moist, pink with a great crackling! Dessert #1 - corn galette, caramel and some pudding. I'm ambivalent about corn but this was a very, good dessert - give me more! Dessert #2, tamarind - apple cappuccino, nut alcohol emulsion and ginger ice cream. Who is the pastry chef?! This was another good dessert. Service was excellent and quick - the 7 dishes came within 1 hour and 45 minutes, but perhaps this was because they were turning tables. Overall, Ze Kitchen Galerie is a solid 1* and offers good value - would I return? Definitely.
Agape Substance - The nearest metro is St. Michel where the restaurant is located 10 minutes away. The restaurant again was tiny and diners sat at the counter (adjacent and opposite each other) which ran in a straight line from the kitchen. My wife would have found the space age toilet funny - it’s similar to the toilets in Korea which at the press of a button does 50 different things to your bottom :) Dinner did not get off to a good start as I found the menu price did not reflect what was reflected on the website and cost 129 Euros compared to the 99 Euros displayed - be forewarned Chow Hounds especially if you are on a budget! I confess that I almost walked out in disappointment, but decided to bite the bullet - a good decision in retrospect. Dinner here is different from your typical restaurant instead of the regular entree, plats, dessert - one is served a multitude of small dishes which despite the size compensates by the quantity. I pack away a good amount of food but found at the conclusion of the meal that I was eminently satisfied. Dish #1 - beetroot chips that were thin, translucent but packing in flavor. Dish #2 - sponge cake of green tea - ho hum, next please. Dish #3 - parsnip and crème fraiche - the chef used such simple ingredients with great results, I wanted more damn it! Dish #4 - tomato tart with truffle. Dish #5 - pig trotter and beluga caviar - which had a good crunch but was perhaps a little salty. Dish #6 - cream cheese and something - apologies Chow Hounds, the dishes were coming fast and furiously and I found it difficult to take notes. I remember that this was too small a portion to arrive at a cogent conclusion. Dish #7 - deep fried pumpkin and truffle ... exquisite presentation. Dish #8 - white tuna and rem du plaix (spelling?). Dish #9 - sous vide egg, corn mousse and cumin ... god, this was so good. Dish #10 - king crab, Jerusalem artichoke in a sea food broth - this had good balance. Dish #11 - chorizo and Jerusalem artichoke - you will notice that the artichokes feature prominently in the meal ... Dish #12 - pumpkin veloute, German spek and crème fraiche - my wife would have adored this soup - very good. Dish #13 - potato consommé, Jerusalem artichoke and ris de veau - this was another very good dish. Dish #14 - carrot, galangal and yuzu. This was the most creative dish of the night. I have never had galangal where it was not used as a spice. Dish #15 - smoked eel in a black, sesame puree. The highlight of the night; the black sesame puree was to die for - this was a 1* dish. Dish #16 - scallops, broccoli in a broccoli puree which offered an interesting combination. Dish #17 - pork and mushroom in a mushroom jus - ok. Dish #18 - a 48 month old Comte - Jesus wept. Dish #19 - dessert of butternut squash - ok. Dish #20 - chocolate mousse with dark chocolate flakes. In summary, this was an outstanding experience of consistent highs with few average/ mediocre dishes. Would I return? Definitely.
Next update - Les Fables de la Fontaine and Frederic Simonin ...