About

"The reluctant Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Have a wonderful summer

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe California

If you're wondering why I haven't posted any reviews lately, I am in the U.S. for the summer and will return to Paris in September.

I want to wish all my readers a fun and safe SUMMER!

Sincerely,
Randy


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Le Bistrot du Maquis


69 Rue Caulaincourt, 75018
Tel:  01 46 06 06 64
Metro: Lamarck-Caulincourt (line 12)
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday lunch.

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

 4 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

We were invited to have lunch with one of our favorite couple who lives in the 18eme where this restaurant is located. In fact, it's our old neighborhood of Montmartre.  Walking to the restaurant around the Lamarck-Caulaincourt brought back a lot of good memories.

We were told by our friend J that the chef and owner, Andre Le Letty has quite the pedigree, having worked at some of the notable restaurants such as Anacreon, L'Agassin, Ledoyen, Prunier and the Tour d'Argent to name a few.

As we entered, it's not a large restaurant but very, very cozy. Our friends were already there and was greeted by the Chef himself. He greeted us and poured us some of the wines that our friends ordered. The Chef's wife, who runs the front of the house provided us with 3-menus. Their standard menu, a chalk-board of their standard fare, which you can mix and match, and finally a menu listing the special of the day.


Two of us ordered the "Menu of the Day", and J and I ordered a la carte.

ENTREES:



Two ordered the "Salade de gésiers" (gizzard salad).  The greens were very good and it was tossed in a nice vinaigrette dressing. But we all agreed that the gésiers were a bit well done.

I had the "Cassolette d'escargots a la creme de carottes et gingembre" (snail casserole with cream of carrot and ginger). I absolutely loved this dish. First of all, it was a colorful dish. The Chef must've added a touch of turmeric to add the brilliant color of the soup, but the spice was very subtle.  The light creamy sauce/soup that surrounded the perfectly cooked snails was delicious. And, what's a cassollette without the beans. He had perfectly cooked white beans which complimented the dish. No one flavor was overwhelming. It was a well composed dish and I could see eating a larger portion of that dish as a main course.

PLATS:

J had the "Poitrine de veau braisé a l'ail des ours, legumes printaniers" (Breast of veal braised with garlic, spring vegetables).   Although all the dishes were beautifully presented, this won the prize for the prettiest of all our dishes. I tasted the poitrine, and I must say the meat was so tender and juicy. Veal doesn't have a strong flavor, but the subtle infusion of the garlic made it perfect. J wanted it a little saltier, so asked for salt, whereas I thought it was perfectly seasoned.

I find that most vegetables cooked in France are way over-cooked for my liking. But the vegetables accompanying this dish were perfect, they were al-dente.

JJ had the "Croustillant de boudin noir avec pommes" (Blood sausage with an apple encased in a crispy pastry). I liked the juxtaposition of crispy from the pastry, sweet from the apples, and savory from the blood sausage. The Chef only used the filling of the blood sausage, so it made sense to encase it, since blood sausage not in its casing can be pretty ugly and unappealing. I thought it was a very good dish.  JJ especially liked the potatoes. It appeared the Chef baked it and molded into a round, since they were not mashed, but extremely moist and tender. And, the accompanying jus was a nice cohesive element to this dish. In it's simplicity came some wonderful textures and flavors.


C. ordered the "Fricassee de cuisse de poulet à l'estragon" (Chicken leg fricassee with tarragon). She absolutely loved this dish. I had a taste of it and thought it was very good. It reminded me a of a de-constructed "chicken-pot-pie" but without the pastry crust.  The flavors were all very subtle and unlike a a traditional chicken-pot-pie the sauce/soup was light and not thickened with corn starch but thickened more with cream and butter. And, the chicken was very tasty with the tarragon seasoning.  


I had the "Poitrine de porc rôti au thym" (Roast belly pork with thyme). There seems to be a theme in the Chef's dishes, in its simplicity comes flavor.  I loved this dish. Some may not like it because pork belly does have the characteristic fat that should be eaten. The pork had a nice crispy exterior and a very succulent tender interior. It was accompanied with carrot and pearl onions with a fabulous mold of potato slices and charred on top to give a nice crunchy element. And, the jus was a perfect accompaniment. I loved this dish.


DESSERTS:


JJ, ordered the "Nage de Rhubarbe aux épices douces, glace yaourt" (Poached Rhubarb with sweet spices, yoghurt ice).  It was a very, very simple dessert. Although JJ can eat very, very tart rhubarb or for that matter anything citrus, he said the rhubarb was neither overly tart nor overly sweet. The poaching mellowed out the tartness, which I prefer and the nice cooled yoghurt was refreshing. Overall, it was a good dessert.





C. was looking forward to the the "Ile Flotant" (Floating Island) that they had as a special offering at the beginning of the meal; unfortunately, they no longer had any. So C. ordered the "Citron meringue" (lemon meringue). The pudding was layered with a cake. She said it was very good.










With the meals we had two very good bottles of wines. One of each, a red and a white from Château Larchère!















SUMMARY:

There seems to be a theme with the Chef's meals, "SIMPLE but SOLID".  The Chef's pedigree shows. My favorite dish was the entrée of the "Cassolette d'escargots", which I would go back for in a nano-second. My least favorite was the gesiérs salad, only because I thought the gesiérs were over-cooked, but I can overlook that considering everything else was either very good or just plain excellent.  Their "Plat-du-jour" (daily specials) is extremely reasonably priced, with 2-courses for 16€ or all 3-courses for 20€. With 3-entrées, 4-plats, 2-desserts, 2-bottles of wine, and 1 coffee, which as "comped" because they ran out of the "Ile Flotant",  our meal came to 142€. So would I come back? ABSOLUTELY,  I'd come back in a heart beat. Chapeau Chef!







Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Restaurant Review -- François Felix


9 rue Boissy d'Anglais
75008 Paris
Tele: 01 73 20 23 28
Métro: Concorde (lignes 1, 8 et 12)
website: 
http://francoisfelix.1001menus.com/

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

 2.80 - Star......................................................€€(€)*......................................................... 2 - Bell

*Note: Hamburgers start at €20. A typical 3-course meal and wine, can easily reach over 50€ a person.

We had an appointment at the U.S. Embassy and needed a place close by for lunch. Our friends recommended this restaurant since it's literally around the corner from the U.S. Embassy and across the street from the famed "Buddha Bar."  We were four for lunch. Don't let it freak you out, but there are armed guards as you enter the tiny street on both ends, for obvious reasons.

The restaurant is located in the Rue Saint-Honoré 8eme section of Paris which is known for its high end designer shops, boutiques and some of the famed hotels.


There is a large outdoor eating area, but today was particularly cold, so we opted to sit indoors. Indoors was quite lovely with mirrors and what looked to be a full bar. The wait staff wore kilts, which I found interesting. I asked our wait-person if they were Scottish, and she said no it was just their "uniform."

Their menu was quite extensive, it was in French with a translation below. It was simple and uncomplicated. Food you can easily find in the U.S. such as hamburgers, fish and chips and even fish burgers, along with some French staples such as "magret de canard." They had a nice selections of salads as well. They did have a lunch special, but opted for the regular menu.

We decided to order just a main dish and forgo any entrées.

One person had the "fish and chips"; he liked his fish and chips and I have to say their fries are excellent, very crunchy and nicely salted. The whole dish was good, and it was accompanied with a nice tartar sauce as well as mashed peas. Overall good, but nothing out of the ordinary.





JJ had the "Thai style salad", which was composed of thin slices of raw marinated beef served with bamboo sprouts, soy sprouts, baby corn, carrots, sesame seeds, red onions and cilantro all tossed with a lime soy vinaigrette. Although the combinations sounded fabulous and for the most part the ingredients were excellent and fresh, it lacked any real kick of the typical Thai beef salad that is known as "Yam Neua." But then again we are in a French bistrot, so it had to be "frenchified" and toned down.  Fortunately, they had some tabasco, which JJ gladly used.



Another friend had the "Hot goat cheese salad." It was quite a substantial salad. It had quite a mix of wonderful ingredients. There were dried apricots, chicory and walnut kernels. The goat cheese sat atop a honey toasted glazed slice of baguette. It was tasty, but difficult to eat, since the honey made the toasted baguette chewy. Regardless it was overall a good delicious salad.







I had the "calamari salsa verde".  This dish was definitely misnamed.  I think of salsa as being fresh ingredients such as a red tomato salsa we typically eat with chips in the U.S.  Instead, the salsa actually was a pesto oil, almost reminiscent of what you have with your escargot. The overall concept of the dish was great, but lacked technical delivery. The calamari was woefully under-seasoned and was over-cooked, which made it very rubbery. However, the accompanying fries were delicious.








We passed on dessert but got a cappuccino. The cappuccino was delicious and quite substantial, since it was served in a tall glass. None of us were able to finish it, because of its richness.












SUMMARY:

I was expecting this bistrot to be filled with tourist, but in fact, for lunch it appeared that most of the patrons were French who worked around the area, or came to the area for business. There were some good dishes, nothing out of the ordinary, and there were a few technical errors such as the over-cooked calamari and the honey soaked toast that made it difficult to chew. The service was excellent. But overall, if I have an appointment at the U.S. Embassy and needed a quick good meal I would go back. But I would not go out of my way to have a meal there. With that said, be forewarned, for a bistrot it was quite expensive.  For 4-plats, 2-glasses of wine, 2-bottles of sparkling water, 1-tea, and 3-cappucinos are bill came to 150.50€ for 4-people, but then again you are in the posh area of Rue Saint Honoré (8eme).  Just imagine if we had our typical entrées and/or dessert and  a bottle of wine, our bill could've easily been over 250€.



Thursday, May 28, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Café Trama

Address: 83 Rue du Cherche-Midi 76006
Phone: 01.45.48.33.71
Call for hours
Bus 89, 95
Metro: St. Placide (4), Vaneau (10)
Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

 3 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

This cute little restaurant is not too far from where we live. It was recommended by a friend of ours. We were 4-people.  The interior was cute. Enough space where you didn't feel you were "too" close to people.





The chalk board menu was the same as the printed menu. Our old eyes perused the printed menu. I remember that there were mixed reviews and especially as it concerned the "price-point",  and I'll weight in my own opinion about the price point later.













ENTRÉES:

We decided to share three entrées: Charcuterie (sliced salami and ham) with "rillettes" (meat paté) which we've been told people raved about; anchovies; and white asparagus. The charcuterie was charcuterie, good, but nothing out of the ordinary. The rillettes was very tasty and had a hint of ginger.  Then we shared the anchovies; again, nothing out of the ordinary. They were good and not too salty and came with a nice butter to spread on your bread. And, lastly we shared the white asparagus. I'm not a fan of white asparagus, but the dish was beautifully presented and it was very good. They were served with a coddled egg yolk sauce, which were my favorite on the dish.



PLATS:

Three of us had the "Croque-monsieur "Poujauran" au sel de truffe" (French style grilled ham with truffle salt).  I found this dish interesting. It was atypical of a croque-monsieur. I got the impression it was pan-fried on both sides, similar to what we do in the US, whereas in France the bechamel is laden on top and grilled typically under a salamander. There was definitely bechamel sauce, but not as pronounced as the traditional croque-monsieur.  It was very good, and I liked the novelty that they used a more "American" approach. However, you could've fooled me if there was any truffle in it at all, because I tasted none, not even a hint.  The greens were nice and refreshing and also had a slight bitterness that I enjoyed. And, how can you go wrong with potato chips!



JJ had the special of the day which was a "lieu jaune" (pollock fish). I tasted it and the fish was cooked perfectly; however, the sauce was overwhelming sweet for my taste.  I am not a big fan of sweet sauces on any savory dishes. But JJ thought overall it was delicious dish, and the accompanying greens were good. There was a halved bokchoy and Asian greens of either chinese celery or kobako greens.  The greens also contains some anchovy paste.




DESSERTS:



Our table shared the fruit tart as well as "clafouti" (cherry tart). The fruit tart was simple and quite attractive. It did not come with an accompanying sauce, but our friends asked for some creme anglaise to compliment the dish. The grouped liked this dessert.

As for the clafouti it did not not look very appealing, but JJ said it was good, but was not as sweet as expected. It was very moist.









SUMMARY:

In its simplicity the food was very good. Nothing for me really stood out as something I would clamor my way back to; however, if I'm in the neighborhood and I need a meal, pourquoi pas (why not)! The service was EXCELLENT!

Now onto the price point. I'm with the camp of reviewers that believe that this restaurant is expensive for what you get. 15€ for a croque-monsieur, which is basically a grilled ham sandwich with potato chips and some greens is expensive. And, had we ordered a more substantial lunch, a plat could've cost as much as 36€.

Net-net the food was very good, nothing outstanding; service was excellent; unfortunately the price point was poor.

With a bottle of an excellent Malbec, 3-entrées, 4-plats, 2-desserts, 1-soda and 3-coffees, our lunch meal cost 164€ for 4-people.
















Saturday, May 9, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Le Grand Véfour


17 Rue Du Beaujolais, 75001
Tel:  01 42 96 56 27
Metro: Palais Royale or Palais Royale Musée de Louvre
Website: http://www.grand-vefour.com/
Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

 3.5 - Star......................................................€€€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

On occasion we will splurge and go to an over-the-top restaurant, in this case we went for JJ's birthday. This restaurant reeks with history. In fact in 1784 a Messr. Aubertot opened up the fashionable "Café de Chartres", which is the exact spot that the Grand Véfour is housed today. And, since 1830's luminaries such as Victor Hugo, Raymond Oliver, Colette and Jean Cocteau, Sacha Guitry, Louis Aragon, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone Beauvoir, Louis Jouvet and André Malraux just to name drop have eaten at this restaurant. So, net-net, this restaurant has quite the history.

We went for a late lunch, 1:30 pm.  As we entered we noticed the striking beauty of the dining room. The painted gold leaf ceilings and walls were spectacular. The table we got, eh, not so good. I had read in prior reviews that there is one particular table to avoid, but it does have an overall view of the dining room and the Palais Royale.  Lucky us, we got that table. It was a table where we sat side-by-side.  In hindsight, we should requested a different table (although the restaurant seemed full). In addition to not being able to sit face-to-face, the table was right next to the entrance where their army of wait-staff traversed.  Also, directly in front of us was one of their resting/service tables where they hold their cheese, bottles of wine and water for each table. I didn't mind it so much, but it was odd. There were a few instances where I came within 2-inches of being hit by a tray, granted it was sterling silver, but still...  At one point I got fed up with the near misses, and JJ and I physically moved our table inward to avoid the foot traffic.


For lunch they have a pre-fix menu. You have one of three choices for an entrée, plat and dessert. In addition, you also have a cheese course.







For an aperitif JJ ordered a pastis and I ordered a kir.  Surprisingly, as soon as we got our aperitifs we were served our amuse bouche at the same time. We didn't even have time to take a leisurely sip of our apertifs.  For our amuse bouche we had a ceviche of bar (bass) with a cracker that was reminiscent of a tortilla chip. Uneventful, but good.








ENTRÉES:



JJ ordered the bass which of course was different than the amuse bouche. It was beautifully presented and was served in a part of the fish skin to almost resemble a lengthwise sliced bone filled with goodies. I ate the skin and it was inedible, very rubbery. I personally don't like anything on a plate that's not edible. Other than that, it was a good dish.








I had the foie gras. It was delicious, albeit very, very rich. In fact, this was probably the richest foie gras I've ever had, and I've had quite a few. No complaints here, it was delicious.

Both entrees were of a substantial size.











PLATS:


JJ had the "tete de veau" which was not on the menu, but a suggestion of the day. Again, the dish was beautifully presented. It was wrapped in a fatty membrane. The meat itself was delicious but the fatty membrane was very rubbery. It could've been cooked longer to make it easier on the palate.











I had the veal.  The veau was cooked perfectly. It was delicious. Unfortunately it sat atop wilted beansprouts and lettuce and I wasn't very fond of it.












Both dishes came with accompanying vegetables and a small frisée with bits of tomato...




CHEESES:


Oh my God, can we say we're in cheese heaven. They had nearly every conceivable cheese ever invented in France. This and dessert, which I'll describe later were my favorite courses. I had a selection of the more aged cheeses, while JJ ordered the younger cheeses. All were delicious.















DESSERTS:

If you are a "sugarholic" then you will love Véfour. I do not think I've ever been to a restaurant that served so much sugar in my life.  And, my readers may remember I gave up sugar 3-years ago. I did make an exception today since it was JJ's birthday.






Along side our desserts, we were given a platter of various petit-fours.











We both had the milk chocolate mousse.  It was not only beautifully presented, but it was delicious.  The milk chocolate mouse was encased in a rich dark chocolate. Accompanying it was a tower of an upright canelle shapped tower filled with soft creamy chocolate. This dessert was a hit.

Our dessert was also accompanied with a panne cotta. It was flavorless, and neither of us finished it.

And, we were also given sugary fruit gum candy, what we know as "gummy bears" in the U.S.





Then we were offered a pound cake. I turned it down, but JJ had it. I took a little taste of it, it was just average, in fact dull, boring and uninspired, and a tad on the dry side. A dollop of whip cream could've saved it. Or even a nice helping of rum ala  "baba rhum".  We did not finish it.










Then they served us some chocolate truffles. They had a nice selection of chocolates. What I found perplexing for a Michelin starred restaurant is that they plopped the chocolate atop the cake?  Not on a plate, or at least on our petit-four platter?







And, when we thought all was well and done, when we ordered our coffee and they offered us a platter of more sweets, which I declined, but looked like various nuggets.











SUMMARY:

I've been to a few Michelin starred restaurants, so I do have a point of comparison. First let me say, the restaurant is beautiful and filled with history, but what separates a Michelin starred restaurant with the rest are the fine details. Let's start with the table. A restaurant will always have a less than desirable table, and unfortunately, we were the lucky recipients. But they could've moved our table inward more, there was plenty of room to do so. We were literally the first table to your left as you entered, so the foot traffic for the army of servers was annoying.  Note, this table has been unfavorably written up in previous reviews. We could've asked them to move our table, but we decided to do it on our own. I made this decision after having a few near misses with a tray.

With an army of wait-staff you would think they would be more attentive.  For example, when I went to the restroom, at minimum they would at least refolded my napkin and place it back on the table or in some Michelin starred restaurants, I've actually gotten new napkins. This is the type of fine detail I'm referring to. The service was above average, but I expected more. For example, our water wasn't always filled, and later we had to ask to have JJ's tea refreshed. The service also felt a bit rushed. There's just no excuse for this caliber of restaurant.

As for the food. Overall the dishes were above average, but nothing outstanding. I say, let the customers enjoy their apertif for a few minutes before hand, at minimum. My favorite savory dish was actually the cheeses.  Their breads were fabulous and accompanied with the nice choice of unsalted or salted butter, it was a nice touch. The desserts were fabulous.  God knows you get enough of them. It should've been called the dessert tasting menu. I would not recommend this restaurant if you're diabetic.

Overall, it was a disappointing experience, I expected more. I understand why it lost it's pizazz, as a result they actually lost their 3-star Michelin rating to a still respectable two-star rating. If they're not careful, they may lose another star(s). I think what carries this restaurant is it's name recognition and status.  For me, it was a one off restaurant, and we'll probably not go back.

With a kir, pastis, and two-glasses of wine with 2-bottled water, tea and coffee our bill came to $322.05 for 2-people.



Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Zébulon

10 Rue de Richelieu 1er
Tel: 01-42-36-49-44
Contact@Zebulon-palaisroyal.com
Metro: line #1, #7 Bus 95, 69 (Palais Royale Musée de Louvre)
Closed Sundays

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

 4.5 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell


A good friend J, also a food writer, wrote this as one of his top 10 favorite restaurants to date for 2015. But it took another friend of ours Linda to say, let's go and make the arrangements. Thank you J and thank you Linda. What a find.

Located in the 1er arrondissement next to "Palais Royale," this is the second restaurant by the owners of "Pirouette", (click on link to see review).  The Chef Yannick Lahopgnou originally from Cameron, worked in Osaka Japan where he worked for 4 years as executive chef of a 1* Michelin French restaurant, that explains the menu, which I'll go into later.

We were 4 for dinner. The interior of Zébulon had the same style sensibility as Pirouette.  Clean lines, simple decor in a high tech style, but not cold or uninviting, probably because they used wood for the bar and had the softness of wooden chairs.  I liked it.


They have a wall filled with wines, albeit a bit pricey. They're known for their extensive wine collection. We selected a more reasonably priced bordeaux, which we all had mixed reviews on. Even our waiter gave us the slight impression that maybe we should let it breath so the wine would soften. I personally did not like this wine.





For our amuse bouche we had a "gourgère" filled with salmon. I joked that it reminded me of a petite lighter version of bagels and lox. The salmon was good, but definitely had an intense strong salmon flavor.





ENTRÉES:

Dashi, magret de canard, foie gras, navets, yuzu (Dashi, duck breast, foie gras, turnips, yuzu). Now what an interesting entrée. We were leery at first, after all "dashi", which is basically fish and kelp stock, with duck and foie gras? Wow, talk about a refined dish. Japanese are known for their subtle and refined uses of ingredients. This dish really worked. The dashi and "yuzu" worked. No one component overtook another. It all complimented each other. The broth was light with a slight fattiness from the foie gras and duck and we know fat adds flavor. The foie gras and duck were cooked perfectly, overall delicious. In fact, one of my favorite entrées. What a great start.

Encornets, betteraves, crème d'ail (Squid, beets, garlic cream).  The dish was beautifully presented. The colors screamed "eat me cause I'm pretty".  The squid was perfectly cooked and atop the beets gave the dish a nice "ying-yang" flavor of sweet with the savory. The garlic cream was an added bonus, for sure. Delicious.




Asperge verte, écrevisse, sabayon (Green asparagus, crayfish, sabayon). Asparagus is in season, we definitely had to have this dish. Eating vegetables in season and from the land, otherwise known as "terroir" is a must. There's nothing like having vegetables in season, fresh from the garden. The asparagus was perfectly cooked, and the sabayon added a nice accompaniment. The crayfish also gave it a nice savory element. Another hit.


Dorade confite avocat, pétales d'endives sesame, grillé (Dorade candied lawyer, endive petals sesame, grilled).  I've never had a "dorade" confite'd before.  So, this was a new experience for me. All I can say was, WOW, really loved this dish. The Chef added a crusted sesame on the fish which not only gave it a 2-dimensional textures, but the added flavor of the toasted sesames brought it to a whole new level. What a melding of cultures. The French confit of the dorade and the much used sesame in Asian cuisines. This was also one of my favorites.






PLATS:

Rascasse, raviole, fenouil, saule vierge (Scorpion fish, ravioli, fennel, virgin willow). The two who ordered this dish loved it. I tasted and thought it was very good. The swordfish was cooked perfectly and sat atop a ravoli filled with fennel; it almost had a slightly sweet taste. Accompanying it was a roasted fennel stalk. Nicely composed dish. Although a very good dish, I preferred the other 2-plats, which I'll describe next.





Filet de veau fregula, asperges blanches, artichauts (Veal fillet fregula, white asparagus, artichokes). This dish was perfect. I don't normally like rare meats of any kind, but whoever their source is, my hats off to you. The veal was so tender and moist, and the "fregula" pasta accompanying the dish along with the jus was a nice accompaniment. This was another hit.


Pigeon royal miel-canelle, pommel gaufrette (Royal Pigeon honey-cinnamon, apple waffled wafer). This was my favorite dish of all the plats).  I was surprised that there was a touch of cinnamon in the sauce, since it's pretty well known that French Chefs don't really like cinnamon in savory dishes, nor for that matter is rarely used in desserts. The pigeon sitting atop sweet cabbage was perfect. The pigeon was so succulent and the accompanying sauce was out of this world delicious. It was packed with so much flavor that a little went a long way. I could've licked the plat. And, who doesn't like crispy, crunchy potato chips!  I will definitely order this dish again!

DESSERTS:

As some of my readers know, as a general rule I don't eat sugar, so I can eat savory without worrying about getting too fat. Unfortunately, they did not have a cheese platter, oh well. But the others ordered two of the desserts, which I did take a taste of.


Poires au miel, amandes marjolaine et glace citron/marjolaine (Pears with honey, almonds and marjoram ice lemon / marjoram).  Linda who had this dish loved it. However, she said the majoram in the ice cream was very subtle.  I had a little taste, I thought it was really delicious, and I especially liked the toasted sweet almond wafer with the almond encrusted petit gateaux. A very good dessert.




Praliné noisette, biscuit, chocolat au lait, sorbet citron (Hazelnut praline, biscuit, chocolate milk lemon sorbet).  Of the two desserts we ordered, I have to say, this was absolutely stupendous. Very simply presented. The bittersweet chocolate, encased a very beautiful soft creamy milk chocolate mousse was heaven. And the citron sorbet' was truly a nice "ying-yang" experience of sweet and tart.  I loved this dish.



SUMMARY:

This restaurant has been opened for a little more than a year, and it's already on the radar of many food enthusiasts. The food is forward thinking, innovative and all-around presented beautifully, and they were uniquely delicious.

So, one word CHAPEAU! (hats off), to the Chef. This is my own prejudice, but I find Asian Chefs or French Chefs of late, who've traveled to Asia serving French food in Paris are truly wonderfully innovative, forward thinking Chefs. And, with globalization, Chefs who impart flavors from other countries with classical French cuisine are a hit. The French rigidity of classic French food is starting to soften, thank goodness.  I believe Chefs who travel the world are truly the future of the culinary world.  Imagine, a French classically trained Chef using ingredients from the world. A match made in heaven.

As for the dishes, my favorite entrée was the "Dorade confite avocat, pétales d'endives sesame, grillé", an East meets West dish. For the plats, hands down the pigeon. And, for the dessert definitely the chocolate. The service was EXCELLENT! The only minor complaint, is since the walls are bare, it can be difficult to hear. But that's a minor price to pay for the outstanding food!

This restaurant is a little pricey, but well worth it. With 1-bottle of bordeaux, 2-glasses of rosé (FYI, wines by the glasses are much more reasonably priced) our meal for 4-people came to 226€.

This has to be one of my favorite restaurants of 2015 to date!

Click here for a "Video Overview"