And six days flies by! I can't believe we've been home for a week already.
I wasn’t a very good hound - not a lot of notes, only a couple receipts, so there won’t be detail on every one. This became the “raw meat” trip as you will see. I love steak tartare, but have been disappointed by it over the years so I’ve stayed away. Until now…
Le Richer (9th) No reservations taken here, so we had about a half-hour wait on a Monday at 1:30, 4 people. We shared 4 starters: 63 degree egg; mushroom consommé, steak tartare and mackerel. All delicious, but the egg stood out for me – creamy goodness. Mains were daurade, duck and beef cheeks, with the latter being stellar and everything else very good. Friendly service, very casual. Would return. 134 Euros for 4 with one bottle of wine.
Restaurant Clairière (9th)– I found this place while google street-walking before last year’s trip, but we never got around to going. This turned out to be one of our favorite meals – not just the food, which was very good (grilled vegetables, goat cheese salad, steak tartare, daurade), but the ambiance and sweet service as well. The tartare was more rustic than the version at Le Richer. It was served with Tabasco – is that done often in Paris? I resisted because it was already seasoned so well, but when I tried some on it, it was quite good! And since we spent some time living in Louisiana, I felt almost obliged.:-) Most definitely a neighborhood place with a couple one-tops who were well-known by Madame, and a table of work colleagues. 20 Euro for 2 courses at lunch. Definitely plan to go back.
Le Mary Celeste (3rd) – we stopped in before a play for cocktails and a bite to eat. I loved this place, and want to return to try more. Plates included: a fresh, crisp kale salad with fruits and nuts, boudin noir with foie gras (a new addition to the menu, I believe – so good), tongue & grilled cheese sandwich, and tataki with chili oil, nuts & veggies. All so fresh-tasting. Just a note that if you end up downstairs, be prepared to have to track down your server. We’re normally never in a hurry, but we were on our way to a show, which they knew.
Les Portes in the 11th – open late, it was a good choice for post-ballet. Nothing really wow-y, but just fine. We had a lovely, large table in the corner by the window which made us feel like we were in someone’s living room. Very cozy space yet very lively (or at least the foursome sitting next to us was), good service. It was late so we only had plats here and a bottle of wine: cèpe ravioli, squid with chorizo (perfectly cooked, so tender, one of the standouts), lamb shank (another good one) and short ribs.
Bistrot La Bruyère in the 9th (thanks, Laidback!) – We really liked this place; super-friendly welcome and service, 19-Euro two-course (2 choice on each) menu. My one quibble was the beef main. Although it was called “confit” and wasn’t meant to be served like a steak, it was pretty dried out. But the daurade was lovely as were the two entrées : duck carpaccio and smoked salmon. 115 Euro for 4 with a bottle of wine. Would return.
Café du Centre right on Rue Montorgueil in the 2nd – chosen strictly for its terrace and having a 4-top available at a late hour (I know, very un-chowlike of me!); food really not worth mentioning although my friend liked her steak frites just fine and the salad I had was OK. Great service, though, lively atmosphere, and of course, we loved the terrace.
WINE BARS, CAFES, ETC.
Les Sardignac – wine bar in the 9th where we waited out Le Richer. Great service; don’t remember much about the wine list other than there was a good Chinon on it, as well as some organic wines. Would return.
Le Progrès in the 3rd – I was stunned by how reasonably priced drinks on the terrace were, considering you’re smack-dab on the Rue de Bretagne with excellent people-watching. I could have stayed here for hours, even on a gray, drizzly day.
Experimental Cocktail Club – I’ve been wanting to come here forever; loved it, but it was pretty packed considering it was fairly early on a Friday night. Great cocktails, neat space, very good service.
The Grands Crus Tasting at O Chateau – not cheap, but I was attracted by their private sommelier offering, which they stopped offering while we were planning this. It was still a fairly small group (11 of us) with a sommelier named Richard who was not only informative, but entertaining as well. Here’s what we tasted: Laherte Frères – Les 7 Champagne; Domaine Chavy-Chouet – Les Folatières Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru ; Domaine Nicolas Rossignol – Chevret Volnay Premier Cru; Domaine du Coulet – Brise Cailloux Cornas; Léoville Las Cases – Le Petit Lion Saint Julien; and Château d’Yquem, 1er Grand Cru Classé de Sauternes. Nibbles included a wonderful jambon and something else which reminded me of a coppa, two cheeses, foie gras, salad and bread. Very enjoyable evening.
This was one of those trips where we just stumbled along Rue des Martyrs – not even sure we went to any "famous" boulangeries or patisseries, to be honest. We did go to La Maison Georges Larnicol in the 4th for a Kouign Amann for Thanksgiving dessert. I’m glad I got to try one (as opposed to the smaller versions, which I also like) – reheated in the oven, it was pretty good.
Salon des Saveurs (thanks mangeur!) – In hindsight, I’m thinking it wasn’t the best thing to do on jet-lag day, but I’m still glad we went. We sampled many products, and picked up some Pata Negra, 3 different cheeses (please don’t ask me the names!) one of which we ate last night while trimming our tree (almost brought us back - almost...), bread, and another dried sausage – pork shoulder encrusted in herbs. If you go, be strong! (lest you drop waaay too many Euros. ;-))