Brief sketches from Sept. through November
The following are a few notes on some of the restaurants we have visited this trip, otherwise not commented on (by me recently). This is not intended to be competition for the unbeatable job done by John Talbott...no prices, hours, addresses or photos, just a few opinions.
Repeats: Table d’Eugene in the 18th, which I am happy to say is maintaining a very good rapport between quality and price. Service is even more personable than when new.
Casa Olympe; don’t expect “warm and fuzzy”, at least not until the middle aged couple who run the front get to know you. As many times as I have been, Mme Versini (Olympe) has never worked the crowd, but her cooking is what keeps me coming back…hearty, Corsican based cuisine that reflects the seasons.
Violon d’Ingres: I hate to keep pimping for Christian Constant, but I love what he does for the money…probably the most approachable Michelin star in Paris. Chef Stéphane Schmidt carries on in Constant’s style with his recipes and the old master is nearly always around, bouncing up and down Rue Constant( the block of St. Dominique between Augereau and Exposition). I love his Montauban style cassoulet when the weather chills down. It is presented in the individual cooking dish to show off the crust, then served, while a portion is kept back in the pan to remain warm, in case you have my type of appetite…white beans never tasted so good. Another dish that he excels in is Coquille St. Jacques, just perfect every time.
Grand Pan: It had been a year and I felt the hunger for the giant pork chop for two people, served with thick cut fries which tasted better than they looked. Our starters were a better than average pumpkin soup, jazzed up with chorizo and chestnuts and a serving of sautéed Ceps with enough garlic to keep one vampire-proof for a few days. Cozy, no frills place with friendly servers.
Les Papilles: How can you not love this place; affable owner/server, wines at retail plus a corkage fee and a no choice 3 course dinner. The night we went with another CH couple the main was paleron of beef braised in red wine with grenaille potatoes and carrots, fork tender, absolutely delicious and so copious that we couldn’t finish it all.
New places: 122 Grenelle, aka Bistro d’hier et d’aujourd’hui: Attractive modern décor, very reasonable wine list and affordable menu, especially at lunch. The nems of gambas are excellent, almost exactly the same as the croustillant de langoustines as served at Fables de la Fontaine; beautiful shrimp lightly wrapped in a thin crust with a basil leaf and quickly fried. Very pleasant service. Two slight negatives; the veal chop was too thin and the entrecote I was served today was at least a third fat; perhaps this was a “one-off’ or maybe a reflection of the reasonable pricing. We will be back.
Les Ombres: The food and service was better than I expected, perhaps they have heeded the reviews. Of course the view of the Eiffel Tower is terrific, but the downsides are: too expensive, full of Japanese tour groups with a sprinkling of Americans and worst of all to my addled senses, the noise level borders on the unacceptable…been there, done that, will not be back. We were guests of a French couple and they expressed the same thoughts other than not commenting on the cost since they were the hosts.
"Les Papilles: How can you not love this place; affable owner/server, wines at retail plus a corkage fee and a no choice 3 course dinner. The night we went with another CH couple the main was paleron of beef braised in red wine with grenaille potatoes and carrots, fork tender, absolutely delicious and so copious that we couldn’t finish it all. "
The CH couple and their friend were still raving about that evening tonight.
What would a typical meal at Violon d’Ingres cost? By typical, I mean two entrees, two plats, two desserts, and a coulple of glasses of wine. I went on Christian Constant's website but there was no menu listed for Violon d'Ingres. I know it's pricier than Cafe Constant and Les Cocettes, but not sure by how much. Thanks!