Paris report - chez lami jean, septime and foodie related places
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CLJ was faboulus, exceptional.. Mr. Jago is charming, and i felt like my carte blanch lunch was the most important thing for him in the world, and i "fell in love" with that side of him even before first dish arrived.
I had in the 80 euro CB menu :
1) most wonderful Asparagus soup, dices vegies, bacon and fried lardo for taste, croutons etc..
2) some modern take on terin, where outside is chicken and inside is cooked vegis and canard foie gra mouse, topped with a very nice meaty gealardo oyster with some vinigerie sauce.
3) Barley rissoto with wild salmon and several cookie saint jacques, topped with parsly foam - exceptional, maybe best of them all.
4) A very generous plate of the most small and delicate frog legs i ever ate - light coating, fried shallots and a bit of balsamic, what a party it was.
5) poached fish (Marlen?) on top of lightly poached egg, in fish broth, with milk foam. As good as it sounds, a most interesting combination.
6) A piece of beef fillet, topped with the most enormous ris de veu(?) piece i every seen, coated with beef stock and between plate and meats, the most thin pieces of cooked geen apple (i think) and choriso, very interesting idea for flavouring and of course nice pot of mashed potatos to accompany.
7) A couple of pieces of Tom De Brebis, red plum confiture. Cute..
8) Chestnut mouse with dark choco mouse and merengue, good have eaten rice pouding ball size of this.. A glass with mango and citrus fruits was also nice.
9) The un questionable rice pudding which i finished almost half of it after all that food !! It is very good for the genre but a bit far from being "my type of dessert".
Maybe i forgot a dish for the start, nevermind.. for 80 Euros, a glass of not so impressing white at 8 E, most memorable 2 hours well spent there, and money well worth the saving on other "less interesting" possible meals.
The big dissappointment of the visit:
Lunch at Septime - had high expectations but the place didn't deliver. It wasnt that bad, but it was far from impressive or satisfying, and i left very hungry (late afternoon dim sum at Tricotin closed that corner) -
1) 2 chard baby leeks with broiler (ok, not impressed), 2 very tiny mussels, vinigery onion and some tiny leaves, small suspicious raised here..
2) A "too small" ball of really excellent and quite lemony jerusalem artichoke puree with very small slice of great black pudding. It was the best dish, counted as the second first course, so it was unfourtanatly small but enjoyed a lot.. Tension started to melt a bit.
3) "Fish" course - a couple of a bit undercooked CSJ oysters (maybe first su vid and then chared, nothing special to write), with some parsly foam and maybe some smal foie gra pieces, i just can't remeber. No party for the taste buds..
4) "Meat" course - the most petit piece of duck breat cut cube from some village in France (that felt exactly like the pieces i bought and cooked from the markets and come probably also from some "village in france")' surprise there were the most tiny vegis i ever seen, they tasted great but had no filling effect for the stomach.. gone like the wind..
5) Poire williams poached in red wine, vanilla fromage blanc and red fruits paste - where oh where should i start, poached pear is not a special enough desert to serve in tasting menu, in my opinion, i don't get the trend of using fromage blanc in desserts and the red fruits jam.. i think point clear, very dissappointing stuf.
55 euro for lunch tasting menu where almost 3 of 5 dishes i think, were inside the daily market lunch menu ! That was very odd for me, i paid 55 for 5 dishes with questionable sizes and close similarity to lunch menu, when i could have ordered 2 full 3 course lunch menus at 26 E per one, get cheaper and eat 6 dishes (altough twice same pear dessert that was anyway the lunch dessert of the day). Good thing that the glass of white was very fruity and refreshing at about 6 euro, glass of house red was some sicilian wine in about 8 euro or so, nice but could have skipped that one.
Felt that VFM was for me very low, but the place was packed and friends that tried to order for some nights before were let down (but happy for that after my report..), i guess everybody should probably try and make his on mind on this place.
Will continue with more "foodie" centered info later..
Chocolate and sweets -
This time it was a head to head tasting battle between Patrick Roger and Pascal Legac - decision was a draw with the smallest edge to Roger on creative flavoring.
Whoever suggested visitng Legac shop and combine market day, thanks a lot. It was rainy day, but i had fun and well worth 4X2 E on RER ride:-) Legac prices should be around 88 p K, 15 E for 18 pralins which is not bad. Can't remember all flavours but everything is well made and taste is strong and long enough, yet delicate just as i like.
P Roger has several branches selling pralins at around 93 E per K (hope i remember correctly, but in that area). I found his work surprisingly good for a place that is "branched", highlights were the oatmeal that "blew me away", all fruity flavours and divine coffee pralins.
Ice cream at berthillon - the worst i remember for a long time, the naugat with something and the prune armaniac were close to bad, flat taste, medicore texture and unpleasent cream feeling that stay in mouth which is a big no no for me in ice creams.. Shame - had there great expiriences in the past.
About 15 years ago, i "lost my ice cream verginity" at berthillon "-) It was mandarin, apricot and dark chocolate, we set inside the cafe. It is the moment that sparked the real love for ice cream,. As i mentioned i do ice creams at home, multiple extra fine vanilla pods, with home liquors and wonderful Amarena cherries and crazy add ons. Berthillon does not have much to suggest on those more interesting aspects of ice creams, and when the basic "core" quality that was the trademark is not there - things aren't good :-(
The good - Jacques Genin
I like his way of "thinking/extracting flavour", good textures and keeping it pretty simple (not much options at shop), the interior of the place is totally far from my preferences, but the nice girls there made the expirience relaxed and not "too fancy". The lemon tart worth high praise, a bit small but concentrated. The chocolate eclair and milfay were probablt very good for the genre, but i don't like too much pastry in my deserts (that's why i make only ice creams and choco bonbons "-)). The best thing in that shop - the thin layers of apple pastry with caramel, when this stuff is fresh and not going through a fridge like i did once, it is divine.. Take all the mango passion caramels u want and leave me with those pomes.. prices for pastries not bad for quality but a bit high for sizes' around 4-5 for the "simpler" stuff and 6-7 for Milfay..
Caramels - tasted a couple from all available, mastery indeed, especially chocolate was good and macadamia, passion not bad. At 110 per K, well i be damned that is expensive stuff. Pralins btw - 120 per kilo which is also insane, even if you play with more "exotic" choco beans origins.
The bad - Cafe Pushkin
The best thing there was the seller, maybe the cutest and nicest "approachable" sales person i met this time. Tries the Muscito i think, which is apple with spices, too much pastry and no apples. Looks like a model on a runway, yet.. The Napoleon looked promising but was again too "pastriesh" and flat flavours.. Only the Lemon Marengue cake was very tasty, moist and enjoyable. Looks aren't everything.. Prices up there 6-8 E per..
The surprise - I read somewhere here about the escargot pastries of du pain at des idees, being very close to apartment like Genin and a "house shop" for this visit, i found the pistachio chocolate addictive, the raisin and pralin/pralin citron very nice. Banana choco pain can be avoided, the pain de amis was just too "crusty" to my liking, but it is an interesting "hardcore" bread. 2 E per escargot, it is not cheap but OK. There was another very nice patisserie closeby on rue de fauborg du temple with some AB green organic name which was very nice also and excellent prices.
Asian food -
Tricotin dim sums pretty good, and i guess that in Paris standarts it means very good, of course it is not "up there with the best" i had, but the shrimp "raviolis", fried peckinese ones (or so) and some other stuff from the special part of the menu were good and satisfying, while the shreded barbecue pork buns were the only item i regretted ordering. Judging from what i saw in my repeat visits to Tang Freres and other market on Port Divry (Tang seemed a bit less interesting this time, i missed some past items there), i'm not sure all those dim sum "speciallity" items are "house made", but they were good anyway. Service was very "straightforward" and good, abit cold attitude but i couldn't care less about this.
Lao Siam - nice place close to apartment, and i had some rough times with the crab vermichellie cassole :-) Not an expert in pulling out the meat from those "we are not homards" bastards.. but it was an interesting dish.. Canard Laque was average, for some strange reason most canard laque in the city tasted the same for me "-) Full of five spice, not crunchy enough skin. This was one of those usual "nice dishes on other tables" visit, i liked how many plates going around looked, and unfourtanatly missed the desserts, cause nice sample of Genin's creations were waiting in the fridge..
If we are talking about canard laque - i loved the chinese barbercue deli called Lang on Port Divry, very nice overall stuff (half duck 9 whole 18 which i thing is very reasonable).. bought a couple of times from them duck and barb pork, nice people and they have other options there. Missed on Likafo this time..
Your review should be required reading as it reflects the pitfalls of calibrating reviews and understanding what a restaurant is all about. Septime and CAJ couldn't be more different but they both are highly praised, often by the same writers. So how is one to know?
I look for reviews that are precisely descriptive of the style of food and portion size. And as you point out, how a tasting menu is created, whether off menu or from the menu. (I recently glanced at a menu before making my decision whether to order alc or tasting and was chided that "now there won't be any surprises in the tasting menu". Ahaaa.)
You know, it is a bit tricky. Portions is of course very relative, what left me hungry could have been perfect for many others with lower capacities. And near tables, all tourists, nice cameras and taking photos seemed enthusiased, so don't know, in those cases and when it is obvious someone putting true efforts in the kitchen, i preffer to finish with "everybody may try to get personal opinion".. And i totally appriciate every good review on Septime, i'm sure 100% was honest, but people are "different" especially in this playground we love, and for sure all of us must take this into consideration when browsing and obtaining info. The "internet persona" of Septime was much more appealing to me then CLJ, to the point that i wasn't sure about visiting CLJ, while Septime was "no question".. And boy i'm glad i didn't pass on CLJ, it indeed was a big correction for the previous day lunch at Septime..
I have recently heard and read complaints about Septîme, that in the beginning the food was very good but a little expensive, and now the food is somewhat less than very good and has become more than a little expensive.
I hope it was a coincidence of several off nights, and not a downward trend.
Thank you for your detailed report. You really took the time to note everything and share. Thank you again.
What is VFM?
Because there are insane people who still use the Search function and will be using your review as reference, may I help you get a couple of spellings right ? :-)
"ris de veu"
ris de veau
"Tom De Brebis"
Tome de Brébis. But I like the idea of naming a cheese Tom. As in Seeping Tom. :-)
You have every premission to do that :-) And i usually review the free styl versions and make at least some corrections especially for the "gastronomic" terms.. But i'm after very long and detailed summery earlier today at my "home forums" in native language, so quite tired of writing now :-) But will continue later..
VFM - value for money. Leaving Septime, i felt a bit sad, like when "home cooking people" that pretty much know values of ingridients feel after a not impressive meal, "bummer what could i do with 60 euro..". Leaving CLJ, i felt happy and privileged, altough almost 100 euro short in pocket :-) In Le Cinq in the past - also felt happy after higher lunch amount, so maybe next trip will be tasting or two at CLJ and similar, another 2-3 stars splurging and "se tu" "-) I think it suits me the best when a kitchen is around..