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We were in Paris March 25-31, 2015 and this is my report of our dining experiences:
One of our primary reasons for visiting Paris is the food both in the restaurants and markets. I spend A LOT of planning time on the restaurant list with the dilemma being to go to new places or visit old favorites.
Once we dropped our stuff in the apartment we went back around the corner to the tea room where we had had lunch the last time we stayed on rue Saint-Romain. (Salon Marie The 102 rue Cherche Midi) My DH asked for the parmentier canard only to be told it was sold out- luckily Madame was misinformed. I had one of the French salads that would never fly here- Salade Payanne with poached egg, potatoes (fried in duck fat), bacon lardons and duck confit with butter lettuce. We split a glass of red wine and the rhubarb crumble with crème fraiche. The bill was €40.50.
We almost didn’t make it to Philou (12 avenue Richerand, 75010)for dinner due to problems with the technology. We had been there for lunch with another Fodorite and really thought it was great. We still think so!! After practically running to get there we were glad to settle in with two glasses of sparkling wine with some olives. The entrees we chose were the foie gras terrine and a carpaccio of magret, basil, mango & mozzarella. My DH has asked me to get some duck breast to recreate this dish!! The plats were Filet de Saint Pierre with caramelized endive and an Onglet with mushrooms, potatoes and a yummy sauce. Decided to go with wines by the glass – a Samur (white) and a Roussillon red. Desserts were a delice de pommel & poire , caramel ice cream and croustillant de chocolate, raspberries & pistachio ice cream. With a glass of Armagnac the bill came to €129.
I had wanted to reserve at La Cerisaie (70 boulevard Edgar-Quinet, 75014)for the evening we returned from Chartres since it is close to the apartment. My DH who does the calling for reservations said the number was disconnected. I had him make a reservation at another restaurant but when we got off the train we decided to swing by and see if La Cerisaie was still in business. We were glad we did. The chef stopped sharpening his knife long enough to tell us there was a table available at the 7:30pm seating. (Yes we called and cancelled the other reservation!) La Cerisaie is a tiny restaurant with maybe 20 seats so does two seatings each night (closed on the weekend!!). We started with two glasses of cremant and some olives while we considered l’ardoise and listened to a description of the specials. Our entrees were a shellfish soup (very deep flavor but the topping tasted a little sweet to me) and white asparagus with a preserved lemon vinaigrette (wonderful). For plats we had the magret d’oie with roasted pears and the seven hour lamb. Desserts were a fabulous strawberry soup (with a sweet wine and Chantilly cream) and baba au Armagnac (don’t light a match near this puppy!!). We shared a glass of white wine with our entrees and bottle of Cahors with the plat. My DH loves Armagnac and tried both the 1964 and 1975 vintages. He said for the prices the 1975 was much better. With all the beverages the tab was €161 with my DH’s indulgence in Armagnac being €31.
We met friends for lunch at Ze Kitchen Gallerie (4 rue des Grands Augustins, 75006) which had been on their list for a while. We started with glasses of rose champagne to celebrate seeing each other in Paris!! We were brought an amuse bouche of shot glasses with a parsnip soup flavored with Thai seasonings (lots of lemongrass). We order the three course menus with the entrees we chose being Oysters & Shellfish with calamensi condiment, squid/softshell crab with a Thai flavored bisque (similar to the amuse bouche but shaded with shellfish)and black rice and conchigloni pasta with Waygu beef and kimchi (some of the pasta were stuffed with the beef). For plats we had Scallops with cauliflower puree and yuzu, quails with plum and vin de noix and Suckling lamb with a Thai sauce and pine nuts. Wines by the glass were Chassagne Montrachet, a red from Le Baux de Provence and two glass of a Côte du Rhone. Three of us had to order the white chocolate wasabi ice cream which came with passion fruit, pineapple and mango. You could taste the wasabi but not with the ice cream which was odd. I had to try it since I made a plum wasabi sorbet. The other dessert was Financier with praline and blood orange sorbet. This was a delightful lunch but in a sense could have been anywhere. I did enjoy watching the young staff in the open kitchen. The total for four was €305.80.
The odd thing about our first night at La Cerisaie was that we had picked it because it was a Restaurant Du Sud-Ouest which means it had a lot of foie gras on the menu and we hadn’t ordered any of it. SO we asked if they had any tables available for the next night and so we returned on Friday night. We started with the same cremant and olives. This time the objective was to stuff ourselves with foie gras. There were three dishes on the menu with foie gras and we ordered all three- terrine de foie gras de canard; pan seared foie gras with corn bread and a fricassee of pigeon with foie gras raviolis. To get our vegetables we ordered the white asparagus with preserved lemon vinaigrette again. We had a bottle of Roussillon which was very nice. For dessert we ordered the strawberry soup again and a special dessert which was a strawberry cream with meringue and strawberries. My DH had another glass of the 1975 Armagnac and a dish of prunes which had been steeped in Armagnac. At the end of the meal we asked Madame if they were open on the weekend and when she said no we asked if we could get an order of the strawberry soup to go. She very kindly gave us a jar which we ate with rhubarb yogurt and sliced strawberries for breakfast- YUM!! The bill was €155.
The repeat meal was at Chez L’Ami Jean. (7 rue Malar 75007)I love it for the energy and open kitchen with Chef Jego yelling at the window as much as for the fabulous food. We were seated on the wall in the row of deuces. The couple to our left never acknowledged us when we sat down and didn’t remove their eyeglasses from our table which I thought was odd. I had to remind the woman to take them and then she left her gloves. American and not very happy it seemed. Ah well they left early and a delightful three top sat there. They were French and the father (?) didn’t speak English but we had a great time with them. He ordered the terrine which they brought as the terrine pan about a third full and two big chunks of the terrine on a board. He encouraged us to try it with the cornichons. My DH suggested they get some moutarde with it which is how he prefers it. The gentleman also shared his brebis cheese at the end of the meal. When a couple sat on the other side of us and ordered the terrine it became a little party.
We started with two glasses of champagne while we perused the menu. We order a crab dish and the asparagus with aged Parmesan for entrees. It took me a while to figure out that langue d'oiseau was orzo but the dish was wonderful as were the asparagus. I had to order the ris de veau because I adore it and theirs is always wonderful. My DH ordered the côte de veau which he was very happy with. We had glasses of Meursault and Roussillon. For dessert we had a lemon cream dish which they kept saying had licorice but if it was supposed to have something poured on it they forgot. Not that we minded since it was very good. The other dessert was a chocolate mousse/pudding with a salted butter caramel ice cream. With a glass of Armagnac the bill came to €286.
As many know you can have problems finding a place to dine on Sunday night. We have a list of places that are open that night but were meeting friends staying in the 5th who like to walk to and from dinner. Au Bon Coin (21 rue de la Collegiale 75005) has always been a note on my list and finally we went there. It was a cold rainy night and the welcome was warm. We started with champagne with Pêche – a takeoff on Kir Royale. The amuse bouche was a shot glass of a very nice smoked haddock and potato soup. Our entrees were Œufs mimosa, seared foie gras with artichokes & white balsamic vinegar and a tart with chicken livers, confit of shallots and raspberries (yummy- would never have thought of combining fresh raspberries with chicken livers). The plats were rack of lamb with spring vegetables, smoked chicken filet with mashed potatoes (and they were very obliging and left out the scallions my friend didn’t want) and a spicy swordfish cooked en cocotte with quinoa and Kalamata olives. We ordered two bottles of wine- a Volnay and I think a Samur blanc. We only ordered two desserts- the ice cream selection with vanilla, coffee and pistachio and a Moelleux au chocolate with a substitution of raspberry sorbet. My DH ended with an Armagnac which brought the bill to €333. We were all delighted with Au Bon Coin. Since it is a nice walk for our friends they plan to return and asked if reservations were necessary for Sunday evening and the answer was definitely.
We generally tend to have one meal out a day while we are in Paris but a visit wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Le Comptoir du Relais (5 carrefour de l’odeon 75006) or L’Avant Comptoir. When we got there on Monday around 2 there were many seats available at the restaurant so we chose to sit inside. We ordered the asparagus with balsamic vinaigrette, a hearts of romaine salad and my DH’s favorite the roast tuna. We order two glasses of wine – a petit Chablis and Calcinieres Gauby red from Roussillon. We thought it was funny that the deuce next to us from Spain ordered Coke Lite with lots of ice. The glasses each came with one piece of ice and the guy was annoyed. Don’t quite see the appeal of lobster bisque and Coke Lite but I am not a cola fan at all. The bill was €58.
Our final night in Paris was Monday night- another difficult night to find open restaurants. Using the list of restaurants open on Monday on the Paris by Mouth website we decided on Pirouette (5 rue Mondétour, 75001) in the first. Our friends were joining us to try and talk us into coming back to Paris while they were there in the fall (I wish!!). I am a little shaky on details of this wonderful meal but since the menu changes daily it shouldn’t matter. We started with kir royales and the amuse bouche was a piece of pork skin that seemed to have been deep fried (had the texture of a shrimp chip) with a radish and some wonderful soft cheese. The entrée I remember was fregola with morels. The plats were a red mullet with a very dark red wine sauce reminiscent of the Provençal fish soup, veal cheeks also with morels and we think the last dish was a pigeon with asparagus and radishes. For desserts we had a chocolate ganache, rice pudding with caramel sauce, a crumble with lemon ice cream (I think) and my DH got a cheese I had never heard of -Ossau-iraty. The cheese came topped with a black berry puree and was fabulous. Of course the next days I seem to see it everywhere. My memory of this dinner might have been affected by the wine- my DH splurged and ordered a 2002 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape. With the wine (€125) and an Armagnac the bill was €451.00. Good thing the exchange rate was more favorable this trip!!