Paris - Rech, Drouant, and Chez Dumonet!
Thanks to all of you Paris hounds the wealth of information regarding dining in your lovely city. Thought I’d report back on our experiences…
This was our local brasserie – desirable for its location just a short block from the hotel, and frankly pretty good. The first night I dined here alone as my wife was recovering from a 204 kilometer run at the 24 Hour World Championships in Brive. I followed a salad of haricots vert/Spanish Chorizo, with roasted filets of Bar w/rosemary. Both were delicious. Was particularly impressed with the quality of the fish for a place like this. Washed it all down with a couple of glasses of Chablis and left altogether happy with my dinner. With my wife nearly crippled we found ourselves there again for lunch the following day duck confit with sautéed potatoes, and a glass of Fleurie hit the spot.
Saturday night was dinner at Rech. Both my wife and I chose the Menu at 52 Euros. An amuse of a fried crab ball and parsley puree was a welcome salty bite with our apertif. The pace here seemed a little rushed, not just at our table, but all around. An entrée of Artichokes Bariguole stuffed with a mince of shellfish, and topped with a few sweet little crevettes was a real hit with both of us, and one dish I plan to knock off at home. For mains, a simple piece of poached Barbue with Champagne sauce (poured over at the table) and green asparagus seemed very classic, and spot on delicious. We drank a Fevre Chablis Bougros with dinner which was perfect with the fish. A note about the wine list here… While a little on the expensive side, more so than anyplace else we ate, there was obvious care in the selections. The list was clearly designed to complement seafood, and it was an easy to manage couple of pages, something I really appreciate. Wine also complemented Mr Rech’s famous Camembert – perfectly ripe. Dessert was a Raspberry Mille fleur with a scoop of raspberry sorbet. The Sorbet was stunning, and the mille feuille (really a deux feuille, missing 998 layers) was an utter dud – looked beautiful, tasted like cardboard. Mignardise of a couple of chocolates and two small wedges of buttery cake. All in all a fine a meal, save for a rather sophomoric dessert.
Sunday night found us at Drouant. While the atmosphere there is a bit fussy, the food is very pure and simple, an interesting juxtaposition. We began with a glass of the house Champagne, a grower whom I do not recall, but quality was first rate. Sadly no amuse. For starters we chose (she) “the classics”, a four-way combo of pate de foie gras, jambon persieille, ouefs mayonnaise, and leeks vinaigrette, and (I) from the “ Exceptional ingredients of the moment”, a fricassee of morels and white asparagus – the classics were indeed classic, and the fricassee indulgent and delicious. A squiggle of tamarind with the foie was an inspired touch. For plats, my wife had the simmenthal beef, perfectly a point, and I from the “grand classics: category, veal Viennoise ( I always thought it Milanese) both accompanied by thick frites, and a simple green salad. We drank a lovely, if just a bit tired bottle of Volnay, ’88 Lafon Champans from the unusual list, which apparently drew from a previous cellar. We shared a dessert, strawberry gariguette, which was translated as “pie our way”. A plate of berries on the stem, a bowl of crème Chantilly, and a scoop of praline ice crème – just the sort of thing we eat at home. Coffee and mignardise of two small truffles, and some candied orange wedges. A request for a Chartreuse (green) produced a snifter of yellow, but it did the trick. Delicious meal start to finish.
We stumbled upon Nemrod while on a walk, and I recalled reading that it was a great place for a substantial salad – Indeed it was, and a welcome break from 3 course meals. Salade ouefs mollet – greens, haricot vert, tomatoes, croutons, pine nuts, and LOTS of lardons – delicious, and very satisfying. A ¼ of Rose de Anjou was the perfect accompaniment. If only there was a place like this in my neighborhood !
Why is it so often that the best comes last? Walking into this place, I knew that we had arrived, literally and figuratively at the Bistro of my dreams. The look, the feel, the crowd, and the food! We were greeted at the table with a glass of white wine, gratis, and a warm hello from the Chef. No rush here – lovely casual pace, warm staff, all very welcoming. My wife began with a salad of endive with Roquefert, and I a plate of langoustines roasted with butter and thyme . The genuinely bizarre wine list led us to continue with the white they poured en carafe (something Spanish said the waiter). For mains my wife splurged on the omelet with truffles, bathed in truffle cream – she swooned. I had a ½ order of beef bourguignon , with a side of thoroughly buttered tagliatelle – notable for its texture and remarkably deep sauce – best ever version of this for me. I had a glass of house red with that which, so busy enjoying myself didn’t ask or care what it was. Having drunk simple wines with dinner, decided to take advantage of the one strength of the wine list – an incredible selection of aged and reasonably priced Sauternes/Barsac, and opted for a ½ bottle of ’71 Doisy-daene. A perfect bottle from a legendary vintage. We had pre-ordered dessert, a crème brulee with raspberries, and the mille feuille . Wife loved the crème brulee, and I must say that the foot-long mille feuille was spectacular. Obviously made a la minute, it was the perfect combination of crackly pastry and rich custard – splendid with the Sauternes. Mignardise of chocolate covered grapes, chocolate cups with raspberry, tuiles, and coconut macaroons. Ended with a Vieille Prune, and waddled back to hotel to pack our bags. A perfect last meal in Paris, and one I’ll remember for a very long time.
Thanks again for the recommendations,