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Restaurants & Bars

Paris trip in progress: Clamato, La Cantine du Troquet Dupleix, Philou, Le Servan, West Country Girl, Pierre Sang Boyer

Prabhakar Ragde | May 8, 201401:52 PM     28

Two weeks in an apartment in the 11e, much research done on this board, many thanks to all.

Sunday lunch at Clamato. I had hoped to spot John Talbott, but apparently he and David Lebovitz went to North America to preserve the cosmic balance. We arrived at noon and were the first ones in, but only a few more parties arrived by the time we left. Razor clams, ceviche of lieu jaune, salad of mushrooms with thinly-sliced bottarga, glass of Macon Villages. Mildly hipster but pleasantly so, friendly service, quite good food. 41E.

Monday dinner at La Cantine du Troquet Dupleix. We arrived at seven, and the place was pretty much full by the time we left. Daurade served over stewed tomatoes with citron confit and scallops over potato purée were both terrific. Desserts (riz au lait and quenelles de chocolat guanaja, crème anglaise) did not quite make the same standard, but were decent. With a half-litre of rosé, 69E.

Tuesday lunch at Philou. We phoned for a same-day reservation, but there were never more than a couple of parties inside and a few more (mostly locals/regulars from the look of it) on the terrace. Main and dessert for 27E. Échine de porc, grenailles, champignons; filet de cabillaud over petits pois; fondant de chocolat and kouign amann with apple sorbet. Also a glass of Ventoux rosé. Food not quite as brilliant as I remember from summer 2011, but solid.

Wednesday lunch at Le Servan (could not get in Tuesday an hour before opening, but got a next-day booking). Menu was very short: 23E for three courses, two choices for each (plus a cheese option for the third). We were the third party in at 12:30, and the place (which is not large) was four-fifths full by the time we left. Service was uneven and pacing was off. The menu just said "vins au verre"; I asked for a glass of red, and was given a taste of something sour and thin from a mostly-empty magnum. When I demurred and asked for something with more body, I got a glass of Languedoc Carignan/Grenache from a just-opened regular bottle, which was much better. Despite these missteps, the room is pleasant and the food was excellent. Bonite cru with celery, coriander, and a tangle of cold rice noodles; oeuf mollet with smoked herring and spinach; joue de boeuf confit in a black wine reduction with rhubarb cream; and a tarte au citron barely set, intensely-flavoured with a delicate crumb crust. Just don't expect to get out of there in a hurry; the waits between courses were too long considering the limited menu and small number of diners.

West Country Girl is just around the corner from our place, and was closed for vacation last time I was in town. The crepes, though very good, are not quite as good as I remember from Josselin, but the quality of the ingredients seemed much higher (andouille Guéméné/Emmenthal, and salted caramel with roasted apple and vanilla ice cream). I have limited experience with cider, but the Ferme des Landes brut might be the best I have ever had; well-balanced and perfect with the meal. Nice homey familial atmosphere, friendly service. (We stopped by at lunch to reserve for the evening.) Crepes 5-7E, bottle of cider 11E.

Thursday dinner at Pierre Sang Boyer. We sat at the kitchen bar, close to the stove and the prep counter. The chef and his staff were friendly and talkative in both English and French. Our six courses were: octopus, cauliflower, broccoli, purée of peas; saumon cru, broccolini kimchi, radish, dill crème fraîche; tomate farci, poivron, snow peas on silky roasted garlic polenta dispensed from a whipped cream canister; japgokbap risotto with curried beef, egg softcooked in the steam oven at 63C, housemade ssamjang; Cantal fresh-cut from a huge cylinder on the counter, with coffee buttercream; sweet citrus polenta, crumbled pound cake, fresh fruits, raspberry sorbet. We got seconds on a couple of courses without asking, and when the woman next to us received a strawberry with a candle on it for her birthday, we got one as well. "It's your birthday also!" PSB told us. Simply a wonderful meal and overall experience. 39E menu, wine 5-6E (I had a Vouvray sec to start, then a Côtes Catalans).

Some other food notes: takeout from Jeanne A (gigot d'agneau, poulet fermier roti) was good for a jetlagged first night, but not as good as I expected (I miss the Astier I went to in the '90's); viennoiserie from 134 r.d.T and the two Maison Landemaines on Place Léon Blum are good but not exceptional; pain des amis from Du Pain et Des Idées underwhelmed, but the escargot citron nougat was terrific, and we will return to try other things; and Beillevaire butter is fantastic (we also got some nice Beaufort d'Alpage, Salers, and Langres, from the Belleville location).

Subsequent post coming. (There are some food photos on my Twitter stream, @plragde, if you want to see any of these dishes.)

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