2 Weeks in Paris Part I; Pottoka, L'Office, Albion
My wife and I have just returned from a wonderful two weeks in Paris. I am a longtime lurker and an infrequent poster on this board and have gained many insights from the knowledge contained here. Please excuse any spelling errors. I have tried to include prices for all of our meals as this is sometimes overlooked in posts here. I will break this into 3 posts so as to reduce the length. These 3 places are new since our last visit in Feb. and our first visit to all of them.
We enjoyed two lunches here. A small 30 seat spot in the 7th an off-shoot of Fable de la Fontaine around the corner. The first visit was a jet-lagged lunch. Starters were a veloute of lentils with fois gras, walnuts and mushrooms and a tarte de boudin noir with apples, celeriac and peanuts. Mains were St. Jacques sur la plancha and sautéed leeks, as well as epaule d’agneau en cocotte. With 2 glasses each of a lovely Irouleguy red and white, 2 coffees and a carafe of water the bill was 85E. Our second lunch the next week was 2 menus at 22E for 3 courses. A confit de canard with polenta and pimenton and a small green salad was the starter and main was an eschine de cochon with a gratin of macaroni and a superb sauce. An Earl Grey panna cotta and caramel sauce was dessert. This time a carafe each of red and white Irouleguy, water and 2 coffees. Again the bill was 88E. This is a great spot; bright, friendly, mostly local patrons. Although I speak passable French we may have been the only English speakers in the room on both visits.
Two young American chefs who were recruited from Del Posto have been here about 4 weeks. Another great spot with local neighborhood workers at lunch and about 30 seats. They have a 19E 2 course and a 24E 3 course menu at lunch. We shared a gorgonzola gnocchi (Del Posto alums, why not). The mains were poulet with mushrooms, parsnip puree and snowpeas and leg of lamb with sun chokes. All of the plates were lovely to look at and very, very tasty. A lovely bottle of Montlouis, a couple of glasses of St. Chinian rouge, cheese and 2 coffees the bill was 90E. Chatted with the young chefs after service. They are just getting their feet under them but I think L’Office is a keeper and will become a tougher reservation to acquire.
Another recently opened restaurant, Hayden (FOH) and Matthew (chef) have worked together for 10 years at Fish. They opened Albion the week before we arrived. We had known them from Fish and were excited to see them again. We were joined for lunch by a Parisian friend. We jumped right into glasses of 2008 Montlouis white with our starters of creamy Burrata with tangy good garlicy pesto worthy of bread sopping the plate clean and a huge bowl of aromatic parsnip soup, pureed with potatoes, turmeric and chorizo. The mains were a perfectly cooked cabillaud, moist inside and crispy skin outside served on a bed of bright green cabbage and briny palourde clams and salty bits of bacon. A lamb confit with pureed onions and garlic, although delicious and full of flavor, didn’t wow as much as penne pasta with sun dried tomatoes, spinach and olive oil which was off the charts delicious. A couple of carafes of Gayda Syrah, 1 coffee and a stunning orange and lemon tart made for a memorable afternoon. The total for lunch was 115E for 3.
He and Matthew were a little stressed as it was their first week. Hayden's wife was working the FOH. He is working thru some wine inventory that was part of the deal but is hard at work on the list i am excited for them. the location is next to La Grill on Poissoniere where we used to go 20 years ago.