Paris report: Pierre Gagnaire, Septime and more
Sorry for the time it took me to write about my september stay in Paris, but as people say, better late than never.
I was with my companion R and we had meals at 3 places focusing on oysters and seafood: Garnier, L'Ecume Saint-Honore and Huitrerie Regis. We stayed at Garnier's oyster bar, we had a big seafood platter and it was very good, the place is very beautiful. At L'Ecume St-Honore we had Fines de Claires and Gillardeau oysters and a couple of fresh oursins, very delicious. At Huitrerie Regis we had Belons and Speciales de Claires oysters and also a few crevettes, some cheese after that; everything excellent, unhappily they were out of oursins the day we were there. We loved all of them, but if I had to choose only one place to go back I would probably choose L'Ecume, although Regis was a close second place.
We had dinner at Pierre Gagnaire and it was absolutely fantastic. As starter, I had the Jardin Marin and R had the Crevettes and Sole, then I had Veau and he had Agneau. I loved the biscuit d'oursin, the oreille en crapaudine and the ris de veau, with girolles and also tasted R's lamb rognon with tamarind sauce that was fantastic. We had cheese and shared a vanilla souffle.We were in doubt if we would get the tasting menu or order a la carte. Our waiter whom was very attentive and friendly suggested that ordeing a la carte would make us taste monsieur Gagnaire's cuisine more profoundly, which after the meal I totally agree (although the main reason for ordering a la carte was I wanted to try the sweetbreads which is one of the things I love most). One question that keeps coming to my mind, though, is the reason for offering a tasting menu that doesn't quite represent the best of the chef. What do you think about it? We drank a blanc de blancs champagne (I don't rec all the name and I am not finding all of my notes) and I was surprised that its price was less espensive than the Ayala brut one at Garnier.
Septime was excellent as well, it was our first time there and we both loved it, R says it was the best place for him in Paris. I tried to make a reservation for dinner 3 weeks before, but at the phone I was told I had to call 2 weeks before. When I called 2 weeks before, at 12 in Paris time I was told dinner was already fully booked, so we went for lunch... We had the carte blanche menu and it was delicious:first maquereau, then vegetables, then merlu, then plume iberique (that was terrific), then chocolate with physalis (we also had excellent cheese). For 55 euros, i think it was impecable, no wonder it was packed. I will definitely try to go at night next time.
It was also our first time at Bistro Volnay and it was very good.The decor is very nice, and so is the staff. We both had foie gras terrine as starter, then I had the sweetbreads with girolles (it was good, but Gagnaire's one was better) and R had the foie gras tarte (he wanted a pork chop, that was a daily special, but when he ordered it was al). Then he had only cheese and I had riz au lait with caramel, that was ok. Overall it was a good experience.
Another good surprise was Le Dauphin!The best dishes for me were seared foie gras with mirabelles and wagyu beef, R loved the risotto a l'encre (we ordered this one twice), we also had jamon de bellota, thon rouge, tempura de fleur de courgette (the third best for me), cochon de lait with bulots (R loved this one), maquereau, octopus with curry and we shared a dacquoise for dessert. definitely we'll return.
We stayed in Marais, so ended up going to other nice places nearby as Nanashi, L'Estaminet des Enfants Rouges, Bob's kitchen and Derriere (this one with friends that live in Paris, but the food was so so, I had sweetbreads with ginger in the sauce that sort of stole the flavour of the meat).
Drinks at Candelaria were fine (went twice), also twice at Le Progres with our friends, good for people watching, as at Pickklops and L'Etoile Manquante. Unhappily we couldn't make it to Experimental Cocktail Club where I try to go when in Paris (we'll check the one in NYC in a few days).
As always, loved the macarons and sweets at Pierre Herme, but also likes Georges Larnicol a lot and Gerard Mulot. We had some chocolate at Patrick Roger, but unhappily didn't go this time to Jacques Genin in spite of being close to his shop.
Paris keeps being magic and wonderful, can't wait to go back.
Happy holidays for you all.
Thank you for such a full and wonderful report; I wish everyone would do the same.
L'Ecume Saint-Honore is a much under-appreciated and under-reported place - next time try Atao.
As for Derriere, I'm not surprised, reports have not been great, indeed very mixed, if truth be told, off-putting.
re: John Talbott
Thank, Jonh for the Atao tip!
I went to Larnicol due to some of your posts, Ptipois and it was an absolute winner.
I forgot to mention we had brunch at Chez Casimir, it was very good, duck was themain dish. It was good value, around 30 euros per person, excluding the wine that was also a good value as you can choose from their cellar.