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Paris report -- La Cerisaie [moved from International]

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Paris report -- La Cerisaie [moved from International]

Bill Strzempek | Nov 21, 2005 01:30 PM

LA CERISAIE
70, boulevard Edgar Quinet, 14e
Metro Edgar Quinet
01 43 20 98 98
(Menu at 29 Euros, comprising entree, main, dessert or cheese)

I had read a lot about this shoebox of a bistro, including its Michelin mention, and was eager to try it. It is a room with little in the way of decor and even less in the way of elbow room. Service is gracious if a bit harried, and good cooking is served up, and I choose the word “cooking” rather than “cuisine” because everything we ate had a proper preparation and an unadorned presentation that made me think of a Sunday dinner cooked in a family’s kitchen in the suburbs. However I couldn’t help but feel that given the raves I’d been reading for this place that perhaps we were there on an off night, as the experience didn't merit such superlatives. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the meal or the experience, but neither was there a grand feeling of satisfaction when we were walking home.

We began with ramekin of sanglier (boar) rillettes served with a salade frisee and croutons. The meat was shredded into hefty portions and was nicely seasoned and dressed so that it had a silkiness. If this were the afternoon one could consider this dish for a very nice light lunch. For mains we ordered up “Pot au feu, perdreau farci,” “Magret d’oie et figues,” and “Epaille d’agneau de sept heures.” That last dish, the lamb, was a knockout and proved the rule that whenever one sees a menu listing an item with the phrase “seven hours,” that’s the sure thing to order (which lamentably I had not done). This lamb was succulent and oh so full of the flavors of the vegetables in which it had been cooking, and it was beyond spoon tender, if you looked at it, it melted before you. I had a little taste of the goose and I enjoyed it as well, but I really could not get more than that since my friend was warding off all tasters since she was enjoying it so much. Sad to say both those dishes made mine, the pot au feu, seem wan. It was a bowl of broth clouded up by the farci and the tiny partridge breast and legs were placed on top of the mirepoix. It was good but that was that.

Our desserts were a fondant chocolate with coffee ice cream and a coffee biscuit (the coffee items hit the mark), and a wonderful roasted fig “crumble” that went well with the last of the red wine. There was also goblet of four unnamed autumn sorbets three of which I figured out to be apple, pear, fig. The fourth gold-colored sorbet stumped us all. The waitress finally told us it was plum, the surprise being that it was a yellow variety of plum.

I would try La Cerisaie again to see if it blooms fully the next time around, but right now it’s on the B List behind those bistros that serve up more adventurous or complex cooking.

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