TSE, 78 Rue D'Auteil, 75016, Paris, France.
The last time he'd been in Paris, 18 months earlier, Fred had been stuck there for a few extra days, unable to get a flight back to the US because of snow. On that occasion he'd whiled away some of his extra time at the fashionable TSE in the 16 arrondissement with friends V and T. It was fitting, therefore, that we returned to TSE, with our kind host, V, for our final Parisian dinner of this visit.
This is a fancy, glamourous place filled with beautiful people, dark atmospheric lighting, a grand stairway and a stylish roof top terrace, which is where we elected to sit for dinner as the sun set on our last night and the end of our trip. If my translation from French is to be trusted, this restaurant is billed as a "large restaurant lounge, Chinese pastiche, with an eclectic musical programme". (I honestly can't recall the music, it's food that I tend to remember).
V and T were reminiscing about the amazing Caphirina's they'd had the last time and couldn't wait to order some more. They let me try - it was good. Despite being almost tempted by the Caphirina myself, I couldn't resist looking through the other glamorous-sounding cocktails on the menu which resulted in me being seduced by a creation of fresh raspberry puree and champagne beautifully presented over ice with swirls of deep, red, rich colour. It was delicious, but unfortunately it had no longevity.
The food was a bizarre mixture of quite good and down right awful and not cheap to boot. V was craving some sushi so she had a mixture of nigiri as an appetizer. She thought it was good, but as she doesn't eat prawn she let me eat that portion. I wasn't impressed at all. From my many sushi experiences in London which I have been lucky to compare with Californian sushi, I have concluded that the sushi experience in the US is generally way better than in Europe. The trouble is, if you live in Europe, and haven't been lucky enough to eat sushi from elsewhere, you have nothing to compare it with. I can only imagine that sushi in Japan is on a higher tier still and hope to be able to try it there one day in the future.
My own appetizer was were some Mini Raviolis. V told me they were typical of a certain region in France and that they weren't Italian. I wrote them down as "Ravioli di Ranyuls" in my notes but think maybe I mispelt something somewhere because an internet search was fruitless on the subject. They were miniature little cheese raviolis in a soupy cream sauce with chives. Very rich, comforting and delicious.
Fred has a gazpacho with buffalo mozzarella. It was a huge bowl filled with the thick spicy cold vegetable soup and contrasting soft white balls of mozzarella. Fred must have eaten something else, but we can't remember what so his mysterious main course will go down history labelled as "unmemorable". V had a sea bass whilst I chose a mixed appetizer plate. My dish was awful. By this time the sun was down and the lack of any clever lighting up on the terrace meant that we couldn't see what we were eating. This is a problem, for me at least, when trying to fathom out the best order in which to eat a mixed plate of food. The dish was over salty throughout, the tastes were jarring and bizarre. I was kind of upset that I'd as good as 'wasted' my last dinner choice in Paris. At least the company was good as ever. Maybe the food was a signal it was time to move on. London...