Paris restaurants review
So I am back from Paris and shudder to think of my forthcoming credit card bill but here are my thoughts.
Huitrerie Régis - I loved the oysters at this small place and went back twice - especially loved the spéciales de claires - they were very sweet
Leon - Didnt get the full name of the restaurant because it was not planned but they specialise in mussels and I tried the Provencal mussels both times we were there and thought that it was pretty good! Oh and Sunday is eat all you can mussels day so that was pretty worth it.
Au Passage - Was recommended by a fellow Chowhound and took us a long time to find the way there. They only serve small plates and we tried the dried sausage, beef and squid. Thought that dishes were well executed but pricey (9 euros per plate thereabouts) and the husband didnt like the red wine that he ordered. We had that and a glass of house red and white and the bill was around 35 euros.
Le Cinq - the service was excellent and the flowers were amazing. The amuse bouches were interesting and dishes were well executed. This was one of our two favourite meals on our trip. Oh and the water is relatively cheap at 6 euros per bottle. Portions were generous and we were stuffed when we left. Husband had scallops for starters, ducking for main and lemon millefeuille for dessert. I had the home-made pasta (polenta) with mussels, duckling for main and a selection of cheeses for dessert.
Frenchie - awesome. The other of our two favourite meals on our trip. Husband had the pork for starter and the lamb for main and I had the smoked trout and the hake for main. We shared a cheesecake for dessert. Chef does fish very well and they was no 'fishiness' and I daresay that the fish was better executed in Frenchie than it was in Meurice.
Florimond - We went for lunch. It was a bit of a turn-off when we realise after we have ordered that there was a lunch menu and we were not told about it. We were basically given the dinner menu to order from. The waiter was great in translating the menu but the food was mediocre. Husband had the foie gras (overcooked - we told them that it was overcooked and we saw on the bill that they had waived this) for starter and the duck confit (really good) for main. I had the lobster ravioli (was ok - wont order it again) for starter and beef done in two ways (grilled and stewed) (grilled beef was rather tough despite asking for medium-rare doneness).
Le Passage - Had five courses for 35 bucks. It was a surprise menu - you basically tell them what you dont eat and what you like. Made the mistake of telling them that the husband liked foie gras cos they somehow assumed that i did too. Husband liked his meal here and I gave him half of mine. We started off with an amuse bouche of watercress soup with lemon gelee, followed by pressed foie gras, a puff pastry with foie gras, duck and another meat (rabbit maybe), seadood medley, ended with figs and ice cream.
Les Ambassadeurs - reviews for this restaurant were quite good and I am not sure whether we would have enjoyed this more should we have done this before Cinq as we thought that lunch was just ok and could have done without this. Husband had pressed foie gras with preserved quince (was ok), hen pheasant, potatoes with preserved thighs (was very gamey but ok) and floating island, pineapple gazpacho, mango and passion fruit (dessert not their forte). I had the sauteed squid, sweet garlic cream and black olive paste (was good), pan-sauteed pike perch, mushrooms and stewed onions (was ok and kept thinking Frenchie would have executed this dish better) and assorted cheeses (Cinq had a lot more variety).
Alycastre - Husband had pan seared foie gras on top of a bed of mashed potatoes (not bad but the mashed potatoes lacked flavour) and lamb cooked in a pot (lamb was tough). I fared better. I had the bamboo clams with citrus flavours (was good) and scallops with risotto (was good).
Le Meurice - Thought that Le Cinq was better in terms of food and service but the scallop souffle was pretty darn good. Amuse bouche of sea urchin (was good), ham and mushroom tart (was not bad), scallop souffle served with a watercress soup (was excellent), husband had the lamb baked in a potato shell and I had the fish served with clams and mushroom sauce (again, my thoughts went back to Frenchie) and dessert was a raspberry/strawberry millefeuille cake (for my birthday). Thought that the pastry for the millefeuille tasted a bit burnt! Oh and found a piece of hair (was told that it was probably from a brush) and told the staff. It was changed after the waitress told the head waiter but as it was a souffle we had to wait for around 20 mins for it and we were starving and I thought that it would have been a nice touch if they had brought us something to nibble while waiting.
Agape Substance - Molecular cuisine at 99 per pax without wine pairing. Husband hated it couldnt wait to leave. I thought it was ok but wouldnt go back. This was again a surprise menu and I told them that since it was Friday, I dont eat meat but seafood is fine. Somehow they took it that my husband couldnt eat meat too and so we had the same menu but the guy who was next to us had foie gras and sweetbreads that looked pretty good and it was something that my husband would have enjoyed better. There were 17 courses altogether but I cannot think of a single dish that stood out and could remember a few that the flavours just did not work.
Argume - We had the 5 course degustation menu at 39 euros. Food was well executed but was nothing wow. The first was fish (raw) with crabmeat and green apple (was glad that there was no 'fishiness'), prawn with leeks in a truffle butter sauce (like the aroma of truffles here), Sea bass with pomegranate, pork with anchovy sauce (found the pork too fatty, the husband happily ate my share though), dessert was fresh cream with poached pear and berries (didnt finish it cos i didnt like the flavours).
Hi! Yes we went to Reims and we went for a champagne tour with Ruinart. It is 29 euros but was worth it as we got to choose two of six different champagnes at the end of the informative tour - three non-vintage and three vintage. I highly recommend this tour - you get to see the champagnes being stored at a chalk cave and they do it in small groups - you need to reserve the tour beforehand though. After, we walked to Le Jardin (cheaper 'sister' of Les Crayeres). The set lunch is 29 euros but we didnt find the choice of the day appetising and went ala carte instead and had an appetiser and main each, without wine. The bill came up to 101 euros. On hindsight, we should have just went for the lunch at the main restaurant because that was 66/68 euros per pax? And it would have been a more long-drawn affair (we had quite a bit of time to kill before our 8pm train). Its very easy to get from Paris to Reims via TGV - 45 mins train ride. We took a 10 euro cab from the TGV station to Ruinart. We walked from Les Crayeres to the centre to view the Reims Cathedral (and to buy 5 bottles of champagne to lug back to Paris from the wine store just next to the cathedral). Hope that helps
Well that's quite a list! Seems you hit a lot of the Chowhound "biggies" and seems you weren't all that impressed with many of them. The more I continue to read reports of the Michelin * restaurants, the more I think we'll go back to le Cinq for our splurge as opposed to trying another. We've been twice and it beat hands down Guy Savoy and Rostang and it sounds like it beats Le Meurice and Les Ambassadeurs as well. Thanks for the report.