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Trip Report March 2013

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ferriswren Mar 22, 2013 11:47 AM

Quick observations on a couple of stalwarts on this board:

Spring
This meal started poorly with grilled squid, very plain, near tasteless. The second course set things right. Whiting fried whole and topped with frisee and accompanied by a lobster broth. Fish perfectly cooked. Broth a clean lobster essence. Then roast chicken along with a lobster infusion. Doubling up on the lobster flavor seemed like a missed chance by the chef. Dessert of pear clafouti; fresh pear slices dashed with lime zest and ground coffee; vanilla ice cream. An excellent wine: 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin/Trapet. Only two other tables for lunch on Friday afternoon. Here’s hoping that’s an anomaly. Would try a menu or two from other seasons.

Atao
Moules and sautéed potatoes on offer for 12 Euro, but I couldn’t resist the pot au feu. An extravagant array of seafood: daurade, shrimp, scallops, oysters, clams and a good, hot broth. Perfect for a cold, rainy day. Clams overcooked, potato undercooked, but on balance a fine lunch. Surprised here as well since there were only two other tables for lunch, but a Tuesday. Will definitely return.

Also:

Dans les Landes
This was a mistake after a recent trip to Barcelona. Only one dish stood out: the mushroom and truffle clafouti. For those who haven’t been here yet, they do show TV sports in the restaurant. The night we were there, France vs Scotland and too many of my wife’s soft-spoken relatives having crossed the channel didn’t help my impression. A note on pricing: This could have been a very reasonable (40 euro for two) light dinner if we had stopped after salad, the clafouti, charcuterie, and 50cl rioja. But we never do. Then came shrimp with wasabi, artichoke puree, more wine, and and and… Will probably give it another try with a different set of dishes and a quick check of the rugby and football schedules.

Brasserie Isle St. Louis
In my never-ending search for the perfect choucroute, we once more braved the Scots who had crowded in here to soothe their hangovers and their feelings after a tough loss. We were led to this unlikely spot by Alec Lobrano’s writeup, but I found the choucroute over-spiced with pepper and juniper. I’m a fan of spicy food, but out of place for me in this dish where I seek naught but comfort. Will continue the search.

Verre au Pied
Not a place to eat, but it is on our walking route from the 13th where we sometimes stay. It’s good for a quick drink if rue Mouffetard and the Pantheon are on your itinerary. I’m always fascinated that in the heart of a tourist mecca it seems to attract so many locals. Judging by the scraps of French I’m able to catch at the bar anyway. Drop a coin in the cup for grandson Auguste’s education.

Ferris

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    oferl Mar 23, 2013 12:40 AM

    Thanks a lot, very useful. Never been yet to Spring and always hesitating about the place. Somehow the descriptions of meals there, even the very praised ones, sounds not that appealing to me, don't know even on what to put the finger on.. I've had pretty big dissappointments in places that i feel might be close in cooking concept to Spring, like Septime and Ze Kitchen Gallery, so maybe believing that food concept in Spring might be up that alley, has influence..

    2 Replies
    1. re: oferl
      John Talbott Mar 24, 2013 07:48 AM

      Well I think you should try Spring; it couldn't be more different than Ze where Wm Ledeuil has Asian-influenced dishes, spices and herbs or Septime which I would categorize as fewer but larger dishes done in a more contemporary way that Daniel Rose cooks French food (ironically).

      1. re: oferl
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        ferriswren Mar 25, 2013 10:42 AM

        Spring is worth a visit. My meal was not perfect, but a perfectly cooked fish was part of it. I'm looking forward to trying it again.

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