This is the follow up from this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/579386
(As a starter: I thought I posted this here at the time. I didn't, so I'm rectifying the lack.)
Day 1: Dinner at Le Tastevin
Dinner was at 8:30pm at Le Tastevin, a multi-hundred year old restaurant on the Ile de St. Louis, an island in the middle of the Seine River which is nearly as old as the birtplace of Paris. We walked from our hotel, and it took a little longer than we expected, so when we rounded the corner to the restaurant, we walked right in . . . to a woman in a long gown and pointy-princess hat (you know — the fancy dunce cap with a piece of gauze on the tip) singing. She looked at us like we were killing her dog, so we quickly stepped back out and consulted. Yes, we were in the right place. Yes, it was exactly 8:30pm, the time of our reservation. Yes, the singing woman was right in front of the only entrance in to the restaurant. Ok, clearly this is surreal time.
We waited for a break in her set, and then went in. (Please understand — it was also below freezing and quite damp outside, It was NOT comfortable for us to wait in the street when we had reservations for a table in this warm cozy food-filled place.)
Le Tastevin is amazing.
I’m going to get my one serious complaint out of the way right now: we were seated in the WORST table in the place. It was literally right next to the kitchen entrance. I would have thought that making a confirmed reservation in SEPTEMBER would have given us a better place. But no, and the people who arrived just behind us were, in fact, given a better place. My second compliant is that the quality of the food was a B+, and that includes ’slack’ for it being NYE. Keep that grade in mind as I discuss the meal.
Puff pastry with Munster-cumin sauce (J had this, quite yummy)
Escargots (I had this — YUM)
Filet of beef w/ potato gratin (J had this, very yummy)
Breast of duck, apple chutney onion confit (a sort of jamlike preparation) (I had this, very good)
Cheese course: a kind of fondue with crostini
Digestif: pear sorbet with pear eau de vie
chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and creme fraiche : dry cake but very intense flavor. *just* this side of overly sweet and definitely assisted by the sauces rather than standing beautifully on its own.
It was a lovely night, as much for the atmosphere and the setting and the night (new year's eve) itself. Whispering bonne annee! in Paris, by candlelight makes everything special.