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My October trip to Paris

t
tatuaje68 Jul 7, 2012 11:56 AM

Last October I took a vacation that centered around food and restaurants. Although trying new foods and visiting different restaurants is an important part of every trip I take, never before had I visited a country specifically to eat. I really wanted to visit some of the restaurants I had heard so much about in Barcelona and San Sebastian. Then my brother told me he and his wife were stopping in Paris for a few days on the way back from Africa. I decided to take a train from San Sebastian to Paris and meet up with them.

A few notes before I start. I must apologize for posting this so many months after my trip. I had never written about my restaurant meals before and thought it would be easy but with so many meals to report it became a bit overwhelming. I still am not finished but I figured I should post what I have for now. If you would like to see pictures of the dishes, I have posted pictures at tatuaje68.blogspot.com

I would like to thank DCM for giving me a nudge to get this posted and I would like to thank all the posters at CH for all the helpful suggestions I received while doing my research on Paris

Chez l'Ami Jean
The first restaurant I visited in Paris was Chez l'Ami Jean. I made the reservation by phone from home a couple of weeks in advance and had the hotel reconfirm the reservation two days in advance.The person answering the phone was female, spoke English very well and was very friendly.

I arrived in Paris at noon by train from San Sebastian so I made the reservation for 1:30pm figuring this would give me enough time to check into the hotel, freshen up and meet my brother and his wife before heading over to CLJ.

I started out with the Coquilles St. Jacques. Although rather pricey at 38EUR they were incredibly tasty, cooked with garlic, parsley and other herbs.

My main course was roasted lamb. I believe it was lamb shoulder. It was not on the menu but a special of the day. The waiter brought the whole piece over to show us before we ordered and I was sold. My serving was a large piece cooked perfectly and delicious. No fancy sauce, just a wonderful hunk of lamb that I ate to the last bite after not having solid food for 22 hours. We were also served pureed potatoes similar to the ones served at Robuchon

My brother also had the scallops and enjoyed them as much as I did. My brother had the wild hare for his main and the waiter warned him that it was wild hare and gamey. My brother having had rabbit before said that was ok. The wild hare served with foie gras turned out to be extremely gamey and my brother couldn't eat it although he said the foie was excellent.

We all had the famous rice pudding. It was very very good but I'm afraid I was a bit disappointed as I had read so many reviews raving about it that I think I had higher expectations than I should have had.

I had read that the waiters spoke very little English, were often brusque and in a hurry, and rushed you to make room for a new table. This was not my experience at all. I found the waiters to be very helpful, funny and spoke English reasonably well. We were not rushed at all. The 1:30 lunch reservation probably helped. We had a great meal and a great time and I am sorry I didn't get the chance to make a second visit. I really want to try the large degustation menu. Sadly it will have to wait until my next trip to Paris.

We walked back to the hotel very satisfied.

Chez Josephine Dumonet

We dined at Chez Josephine Dumonet our first night.

I picked this restaurant because of the reputation of the food, my brother wanting certain classical dishes during his visit one being cassoulet and because it is an institution. Josephine Dumonet was a place that had been around since 1898. Here was another case where I had read several accounts of the waiters being less than accommodating. Although the restaurant was full and the waiters were busy they were extremely helpful and spoke English better than I spoke French.

I started with the stuffed morel mushrooms. Beautiful large morels which I believe were stuffed with truffles and foie gras, were absolutely wonderful. They were so good that I had to close my eyes with each mouthful because the taste was so intense and flavorful.

For my main dish I had the beef bourguignon. Braised beef made tender by hours on the stove served in a burgundy wine sauce. This was served with a plate of egg noodles. My brother had the endive salad for his entree and duck confit for his main. The duck was very crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. He loved both dishes. My sister in law had a house salad and sea bass for her main which she enjoyed very much.

We all shared the famous Grand Marnier souffle which the waiter placed before us on the table and proceeded to pour a small glass of Grand Marnier over the souffle. It was delicious.

We walked back to the hotel which was about a mile away.very happy that our restaurant choice had been a success. I wouldn't mind returning on the next trip but so many other places to try

Le Bristol
I really enjoyed La Bristol. It was Sunday afternoon. While my brother and SIL were off on a day trip to Giverny, I wanted to go to a 3 star. Le Bristol was the only one open. It was very pleasant. The staff could not have been more nice and accommodating.

I started off with an amuses bouche trio of a parmesan cracker and zuchinni puff which was delicious. Second was a foie gras mousse which was wonderful and a shrimp jelly which I thought was a little weird tasting and was the only misstep of the entire meal.

The first serving of bread was more like pastry and delicious. The second serving of bread was also very good. I had the baguette and the cereal grain bread with Bordier butter.

The second amuse was lentil and quail egg which was very good.

My starter was foie gras with granny smith apple topped with small grapes and verjus and little ginger crunches.. The foie and the apple went wonderfully together and was really delicious.

My main was duck confit with polenta. The duck was perhaps the smallest duck confit I had ever had but at the same time the most delicious duck confit I ever had. This dish got a 10 in my book for it's inense flavor and execution.

I had a pre dessert of pineapple topped with coconut sorbet and a meringue cookie which was very refreshing.

My next dessert was Iced meringue petals and lychee. My third dessert was a jelly of tea flavored with lemon. I ended with coffee and three macarons. chocolate, pistachio and caramel with chocolate covered orange peel.

This was a great meal and I look forward to returning when I get back to Paris.

LE DOME
We wanted to go to a seafood restaurant and I chose Le Dome partly for it's reputation and also because it was a historical building and I thought the room would lend itself to our enjoyment of the evening. The room didn't disappoint and neither did the food

It was Sunday night and the restaurant was packed. My brother and I started off sharing a dozen oysters. The oysters were briny, fresh and delicious.

Even after my huge meal earlier in the day at Le Bristol I couldn't resist the soup de poisson. The previous week I had had the best soup de poisson I had ever eaten in San Sebastian so I wanted to try Le Dome's version. It was very very good but not as good as I had had the week before

The three of us all had the sole meuniere. We were served huge portions and all of our fish were cooked perfectly. We passed on dessert and enjoyed an after dinner coffee. The restaurant wasn't far from our hotel. We really wanted to walk but we weren't sure of the route so we opted for a taxi.

Paul Chene
Why did we go to Paul Chene you might ask? It isn't written up much anywhere but as I was searching for a restaurant something caught my eye.

Goose confit and goose breast. My brother loves goose and neither of us could remember seeing it on another menu anywhere. So it was decided, we would go to Paul Chene and eat goose.

We arrived at the restaurant on time for our reservation. The owner Harold Audouin met us at the door and knew me by name. I was surprised at how tiny the room was. Maybe 12 tables set closely together.

The owner was very friendly maybe a bit too friendly for my liking but my brother and SIL really liked the attention he showed us.

I started off with the scallops which were in a garlic sauce with parsley. I found them to be really delicious. My brother had the escargot which he thought were excellent.

My main was the goose confit. I was served a nice size piece of goose with very crispy skin with crispy potatoes. My brother had the magret. . He loved it. I tried a piece and as good as my confit was I thought the goose breast was even better. My SIL had the Lute de Homard. . She really enjoyed it and it was quite an impressive dish to look at. Pieces of lobster in a creamy sauce topped with a giant puff pastry. My brother and his wife shared the Profiteroles au Chocolat which was excellent as I had a taste also. I won't be returning. The food was good but there just are too many other places that are more interesting

L'Atelier de Robuchon
I had been to two Robuchon restaurants before in Las Vegas. L'Atelier de Robuchon and the more formal Joel Robuchon right next store. At the time my meal at Joel Robuchon had been the best meal of my life

L'Atelier de Robuchon was probably my favorite meal in Paris. We went there for lunch on the second day. Although I had only 3 small plates, those three plates represented possibly at least the two best dishes I had at all the restaurants I dined at. Every dish was incredibly tasty and I am sorry that I wasn't able to return.

I started with Les Anchois, marinated anchovies with grilled red pepper. They tasted so fresh and I savored every bite. Second course for my brother and me was Le Foie Gras. We both chose this from the Carte menu rather than the small plate menu because we wanted Foie chard. The foie on the small plate menu was frais although the dishes have the same name. Seared foie gras with asparagas and turnips. A truly amazing dish.

Third course was L'Agneau de lait. (Pictured below) Two beautiful baby lamb chops with a thyme sauce and the famous Robuchon mashed potatoes. The quality of the meat was excellent and cooked perfectly, the pureed potatoes rich and full of butter. This was the second time I had experienced these wonderful potatoes and they were every bit as good the first time. I will return on my next trip to Paris

Pierre Gagnaire

This was the meal I was most looking forward to my entire visit to Paris. I took a taxi from my hotel and was let off on Rue Balzac as neither the taxi driver nor I seemed to be able to see the restaurant. I walked down the street a little way looking for it and stopped to ask someone if they knew where Pierre Gagnaire was and he responded by pointing to the building I standing right in front of.

Once inside I was greeted and taken to my table which was all the way in the back. The restaurant was fairly full at the time of my arrival for my 8:00 reservation. The table was large and the chair comfortable.

After being given the menu and telling the waiter I would be having the tasting menu I was served the bread course. I chose a baguette, a cereal grain bread and a brioche. Bordier citrus butter was placed on the table.
I was served three amuses bouche which I am afraid I didn't write down the descriptions and can't remember what they were but I do remember that they were delicious.

My first course was shrimp in a coral sauce with a blue lobster mousseline and cream of brocolli, green papaya and turnip top. Second course was seabass steak with oysters and grilled fennel served with a condiment of ginger, Beaufort cheese, capers and red cabbage. The sea bass had a type of breading on top, I'm not sure what kind but it was delicious with the fish.

The next course was duck foie gras with bacon, squid, whelks and chopped mushrooms. Served with a citrus brioche. Next I was served scallops cooked three ways. 1) Scallop with Jersusalem artichoke. 2) with parmasan cheese,gnocchi and anchovy paste 3) with avacado, grapefruit wrapped in a cucumber jelly.

My fifth course was veal sweetbreads with fresh walnuts, cepes and leeks with a syrup of beetroot. For my last savory course I was served doe Grand Veneur with thin slices of potatoes, green cabbage and gingerbread with a prune marmalade. This dish may have been the best of the night and was absolutely wonderful.

I was then served a cheese course which had hgoatt cheese mashed pumkin flavored with cinnamon and muscat grapes, a Sainte-Nectaire with caviar and a Fourme d Ambert with mango wrapped in a rice pancake. Desserts followed. One was fresh fig with lemon cake and vanilla ice cream. Another was a white wine cream with saffron jelly

I thought this was a meal that lived up to my expectations. I did not experience the roller coaster ride that many others reported. I really didn't think he missed a step on any of the dishes. Each dish was beautifully executed and were filled with intense flavors.

Le Cinq

Almost every post I read was how great the lunch deal was for 88E. So why did I go for dinner?

The other thing that everyone raved about was the service. The service was supposed to be over and above everything you would expect and I wanted my brother and my sister in law to have the "Le Cinq experience". This was the first time in Paris for all of us and having only 4 days with many sights and museums to see we couldn't spend 3 hours having lunch.

So dinner was quite expensive. The service was excellent as expected. The waiters were extremely accommodating and spoke English well.

We started off with an amuses bouche trio of smoked eel and apple, a white bean soup also with smoked eel and the third one I can't remember. We all had a green salad to start and my brother and I both had the veal chop. The veal was beautiful, was of excellent quality and we were served a huge portion. My SIL had the John Dory.

The quality of the food was top notch as well as the service and we really enjoyed our meal. However I think I missed out on the the kind of meal that I could have had had I listened to the Chowhounders. Next time I will go there for lunch. Our meal for three with food and one glass of wine each was E398.

After saying goodbye to my brother and SIL who were flying home that morning I had planned on having lunch at Chez Denise, . Unfortunately it was closed for All Saints Day. I asked the hotel to see if I could get a reservation at Chez Michel and they confirmed that I was all set.

Chez Michel
It was a rainy day, starting late morning and continuing throughout the afternoon.

Chez Michel was quite a distance from my hotel, right by Gare Norde. The room was almost empty when I arrived for my 12:00 reservation but filled up midway through my meal.

You are presented with a chalkboard with numerous selections probably about 15 between entree and plat. The price is E50 for entree, plat and dessert.

I started off with the abalone which was tender and very very good. In fact the abalone was as good as I have had anywhere.

My main was a chicken casserole with farfelle pasta and carrots. I don't often order chicken in a restaurant but the casserole was the perfect dish on this chilly rainy day. The dish was not groundbreaking but was very satisfying. The meal was E72 with wine, cheese and coffee.

Chez Denise

Loved it. This is my kind of place.Had the Haricot de Mouton. it was a simple dish and wonderful. In fact it was so good that I have made it myself three or four times since I have been back home. I was alone so I had to share a table with two other diners but I didn't mind. I was there for the food. I will return on my next trip

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  1. Parigi RE: tatuaje68 Jul 7, 2012 12:57 PM

    Thank you so much for such a detailed, informative report. I was just feeling dismayed reading posters who ask for the kind of Groundhog-day type recommendations for "this afternoon", or "tonight", etc., and who never report back. Luckily there are hounds like you who give timely and valuable updates to the ongoing database of our collective dining experience. Merci encore.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Parigi
      t
      tatuaje68 RE: Parigi Jul 8, 2012 07:06 AM

      Les Ambassadeurs

      I had heard some great things about Les Ambassadeurs at the Hotel Crillon. The room is spectacular as many of you already know.

      I arrived a little bit early for my lunch reservation and was seated in the bar. I declined offers for coffee or tea as I was still feeling a bit full the day after dinner at Pierre Gagnaire.

      The meal started with amuses bouche which I am sorry to say I can't remember them except that one was foie gras, the second was an egg and the third was a squid ink biscuit with pureed potatoes and smoked herring which was delicious.

      My entree was squid with a garlic cream. I love squid but this dish just didn't cut it as the flavors just weren't there.

      My plat was hen partridge with crispy potatoes. The partridge was very tender and the potatoes which were cooked with onions was sublime.

      I finished with mignardes, a chocolate brownie and a fig macaron. Next a chocolate cake and a pastry crust with cherry filling which was the best of the desserts.

      Service was excellent and my bill came to just over 100EU

      I enjoyed my meal and I recommend going for the food. Actually it's worth going just to dine in such a beautiful room.

    2. Laidback RE: tatuaje68 Jul 8, 2012 08:41 AM

      I appreciate the effort you put into your report, thank you. Incidentally, the church you picture in your blog is the Basilique Ste. Clothilde.

      1. Delucacheesemonger RE: tatuaje68 Jul 8, 2012 09:08 AM

        Now that's what l am talkin' about, great report, thanks so much.

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