A week in Paris - Food Notes [Long]
I have just been in Paris for a week and while in no way was I completely focussed on the food during the trip (my first) I have a few notes to make. As this was primarily a sightseeing trip I did not go out of my way to make reservations (and when I tried my card was declined by the french public phones) and thus I did not visit manny of the ever popular favourites from this board. I have however made notes on some of the places I did visit. Where I have noted prices, this is for the food and beverages mentioned and for one person.
Bistro des Dames, 18 rue des Dames, 17e. It was late and I had just got in on the Eurostar. This was the restaurant in my hotel. Not entirely bad. The waiter was nice enough and the service was good. I only hat a plat, a seafood lasagne special. It was okay but nothing amazing and definately not the best food of the trip. The recommended wine was okay but nothing special. With a glass of wine; 25E
"Josephine" Chez Dumonet. This was very good. I arrived slightly early for my reservation and was seated at the bar temporarily. I asked for some tap water to drink, the owner would have none of it and gave me a bottle of Evian on the house. Once seated I ordered the Terrine Maison, Confit de Canard and Souffle Grand Marnier. An amuse arrived of pumpkin soup. it was very good with a lovely gentle flavour. The terrine was very good, as was the bread. The confit was nearly perfect as the dish goes. It was crispy, with only a couple of soggy spots, and the accompianing salad and potatoes were tasty and, in the case of the potatoes, cooked very well. The Grand Marnier souffle was excellent, served with a glass of Grand Marnier. Service was efficient and well timed and the three waiters on the floor were charming and more than happy to help with a couple of translations that I needed. It isn't 3 star cooking but it was still excellent and very good. With a glass of house wine; ~50E
L'As du Felafel. I made the mistake of trying to go on a Saturday. I went the day after and thought that the felafel pita was good. The felafel itself was crispy, the salad was also fresh and tasty. The hot sauce was excellent even if missing a certain level of bite. Service was brisk and quick as expected. Recommended but certainly not fine dining. 7,50E
Le Pre Verre. I happened to be walking by at lunch time. I had the formule midi which consisted of Entree, Plat, Glass of wine and coffee. The Entree was a Pumpkin Soup, it was tasty with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and a confit of lime. The plat was a curried saute of veal with rice which was average but tasty. The bread was okay and the coffee was acceptable. Definately a great deal and I was very tempted to go back for dinner an try out their menu which looked very good. 13,50E
Robert et Louise. Recommended in a couple of places. It wasn't bad but it was very average. Boeuf Bourguignonne was okay, the beef itself was tender and tasty, the "sauteed" potatoes on the side were soggy and looked as if they were boiled rather than sauteed. Not recommended unless you are in the area and need something to eat. With a glass of house red; 18E
L'AOC. Located in the Latin Quarter, I wanted a meat meal and got it. L'AOC specialises in AOC meats and does an excellent job cooking them. I started with the Charcuterie Plate. The Saucissons were both quite good but I thought they could have been slightly more interesting. The Saucisse was very good and had a reasonable complexity of flavour. The jambon was good but a little undersmoked for my taste. The highlight was the terrine, it was rich, tasty, porky and absolutely delicious. The plat was a rotisseried Longe de Porc ABAIONA. It was possibly the single greastest piece of meat I have ever eaten. The serving was huge, the pork was as tender as could be with a good bit of fat and completely delicious flesh. The pork ccame with a wonderful gravy, excellent sauteed potatoes and some roast garlic. This was probably the best plat of the trip. After the pork I was unable to eat a dessert but did have coffee. With two glasses of wine; ~50E
Restaurant Chartier. By no means gourmet cuisine but an experience and an icon. Restaurant Chartier was fun. I stopped in for dinner, as happens with solo diners I was seated at a table with another solo diner. I had the Rillettes de Porc and the Faux Fillet Frites. The Rillettes was served as a single slab, it was okay but unexciting and lacking in a depth of flavour. The steak frites was okay, served "a point", which was lucky given I wans't offered a choice. The steak was small and uninteresting, the frites were competent but obviously frozen. Did I expect more from Chartier, No. Should you expect more, No. It is a competent, but simple dining hall. it is relatively cheap and it is fun, bustling and an experience you should have. With a half bottle of Cuvee Chartier; ~20E.
Le Coupe-Chou. I ate my final meal in Paris here, it was good. I started off with the Terrine de Canard farci aux Foie Gras, my Plat was the Confit de Canard and dessert was Ile Flotante. The Terrine was very good. The chef enjoys playing with Asian flavours and while it was obviously a french dish it contained some soya sauce and sesame. The roasted hazelnuts added a nice touch and added complexity while to foie was a nice touch. The accompianing balsamic reduction and chutney contrasted well with the terrine. The confit was also good but nowhere near as good as that at Chez Dumonet. On the side were some haricots which were acceptable but boring and uninspiring. Dessert was okay but could have done with a touch more caramel. With a 1/2 of low end wine and coffee; ~50E (My choices were on the menu, a la carte would have been ~65E)
Not restaurants but food related.
Berthillon. Yes, it is winter, but I felt obliged while in Paris to try the Ice Cream at Berthillon. I had the Marron Glace, Prune and Armagnac and Chocolate "Extra Bitter". While the serving was very small, it was excellent. The Chocolate was the best and was a revelation as to how Ice Cream could taste. Prune was very good as was the Marron. 3 Scoops ~5E.
Pierre Herme. The macarons at PH are amazing and they were definately the best of the trip. I thought that Passionfruit and Milk Chocolate was great, Noisette-Truffe Blanc was interesting but wasn't the most amazing thing I've ever eaten. I had his Ispahan for ddessert after my visit to Chartier. It was wonderful and tasted like heaven. Macarons 110E/kg; Ispahan 6,6E.
A L'Etoile D'Or. Mme. Acabo's sweet shop is a must visit if you like your confectionary. She is the only purveyor of Berthillon chocolate apart from the Berthillon boutique in Lyon and is wonderful to talk to. She also stocks the amazing Caramels aux Buerre Sale from M. Le Roux. Caramels 80E/kg; Berthillon chocolate 10E/bar.
When you wrote of l'Étoile d'Or, I think you confused Berthillon, the Paris maker of superb ice creams and sorbets whom you visited, with Bernachon, the Lyonnais chocolatier. Personally, I have been underwhelmed with the Bernachon products. i don`t think they are in the same league as la Maison du Chocolat, Pierre Hermé, Jean Paul Hévin, Jacques Genin, and several others.
As for l'As du Felafel, even better (and far less crowded) is Mi Va Mi, right across the street. Unlike l'As, Mi Va Mi makes its own pitas. At least, they used to.
Ah, yes, you have me there. I must of had Berthillon in my mind but I did mean Bernachon. I did not buy any of the Bernachon chocolate but noted it in the review for other's sake. I couldn't justify such prices when converted to Australian dollars. Yes, Herme, Genin and others are very good and I would think it hard for the Bernachon product to be as good.
As for Mi Va Mi, obviously people have various opinions on which of the two is better. If Mi Va Mi really is better than L'As then all the power to them as it must taste great.