Paris may 2013 report (pirouette, frenchie, l'ambroisie, patache, les enfants perdus)
Fresh from the oven Paris report May 2013.
Spent a week in Paris with my girlfriend, first time for her; crappy weather (we were not really prepared for that).
We ate mostly at night; we (mosly my friend) did not want to "waste" time sitting down too much during the day eating instead of visiting.
FYI, we arrived with only 3 reservations (Pirouette, L'Ambroisie and Le Baratin (that we cancelled) ); and one reservation was given to us at Frenchie later in the week.
All prices were for 2 persons (and sometimes 1-1/2 when my friend only ordered a plat principal).
First evening after walking around the neighbourhood, a quick meal at Le Café Balbuzar for a plate of charcuterie and basque tapas and a couple of glass of wines; nothing spectacular, but good and tasty. ( 25E)
On sunday, we decided to walk off the remnant of the jet-lag; stopped by Notre-Dame where they had a "Fête du Pain" where we got a couple of simple but good sandwiches; then walked on towards les Jardins du Luxembourg with some patisseries from Gérard Mulot. (that we ate cuddling on a bench trying to stay warm).
In the evening, we ate at my sister's (rabbit stew with some spring vegetables).
Our first true meal was at Pirouette on monday evening. quite good, simply modern bistro with a good vibe and good food. The menu is simple and everything looks good (as is the wine list).
Got the obligatory champagne glasses with the amuse bouche, beet "gaspacho" and smoked duck toasts.
My friend ordered only a plat principal, the day's Filet de Boeuf and myself, I ordered the slow cooked egg with asparagus, very good; and for the main, I ordered from the day's meat list the "Pluma Iberica" which was very, _VERY_ good, juicy and quite beefy in texture (good thing!!!)
For dessert I ordered the mango dessert with some Fizz-type popping candy. which was really good and fun to eat.
With an good Chateau Clauzet 2006 (St-Estèphe)
Not so damaging at (138E).
Tuesday evening, was our BIG meal at L'Ambroisie; I don't think we ate that much during the day, at least I forgot all about it !!! :-)
I decided to invite my girlfirend to one of the best restaurant in Paris; I selected L'Ambroisie because of the menu which is classical and that there is no tasting menu, or weird(er) cuisine. ( my friend is less excited about those).
See the earlier post by Gareth for the description of the room and service, I think he writes it better than I can; it is a grand room, exceptional and smooth service.
We started with Champagne, what else!!! with a couple of small cream puffed pastry with caviar as amuse bouche, while perusing the menu.
Before the entrées came, a second amuse bouche was presented to use, a smoked salmon served "hot" with a chive cream and a bit of pommes alumettes. (good and cute).
My girlfriend ordered the classic and extravagant "green egg" with caviar, and I ordered the simple but tasty foie gras.
OMG the eggs that was an amazing dish, presented at the table with a big-ass (sorry) can of 1.8KG of caviar out of which the waiter spoons out a large amount of it!!! eggs cooked perfectly with asparagus, the caviar adding just enough saltiness and balance to the dish.
My foie gras was perfect, 2 big portions rolled in pepper with some marinated artichokes; silky perfect.
For the main dish, they did not have the veal, but instead had a roasted "Poulette de Bresse" with chervil under the skin and sauted (with cream) Mousserons mushrooms. that we ordered.
Before the chicken came to the table we were offered small portions of pan-fried rouget (Red mullet) with olive tapenade and asparagus; that, again was very good, perfectly cooked, the mildness of the fish counter balanced with the saltiness of the olives.
Then came the chicken, first presented whole at the table, then taken back to be kitchen for detailing and final presentation; then brough back and finalized table-side, sauced, and served with the mushrooms and a simple, but tasty gratin dauphinois.
The breast meat was perfect, the skin crispy and very well seasoned with the herb adding a nice touch (I have to do this myself). mushrooms and gratin were nice sides; I was also presented with the chicken tigh which was good.
After the main dish, it was time for the desserts; a small mango mousse (with yaourt ice cream) was offered to clean up the palate.
My friend followed the waiter's suggestion for the tarte au chocolat; while I went lighter with the straberry ile flottante, but was offerd a small portion of the tarte au chocolat so I will not eat my friend's portion.
The Ile flottante was very good, the small strawberries were very exceptional, the eggs were light and everything was not too sweet!
The chocolate "pie" was not at all what I was expecting, more of a mousse instead of a "cake", again, not too sweet; perfect.
We finished this with some infusions and the mignardises.
For all the meal, we have ordered a bottle of Chassagne Montrachet "Morgeots" 2009, from the négociant Frédéric Magnien; while a négociant wine, it was very good and perfect for the meal, even with the foie gras and the egg.
I was quite surprised at the wine list; I'm used to order from smaller (and cheaper) newer producer that does funky wines (natural wines); and do not like be helped when choosing, but this time, I asked help from the sommelier which was good and well appreciated.
The food was exceptional, the wine perfect, the service visible as well as invisible; wine glasses were always full and the bottle lasted the whole meal.
Will I go back ? I wish, I hope; maybe in the fall or in winter to have different ingredients (truffles, …)
The damage ? Insanely expensive, but worth it if you can afford it once in your life.
The next day, we invited my sister at the Bar à Vin Frenchie; and during the day, we got an emal from my girlfriend brother that know Frenchie's Laura Vidal that he was able to get us (for the 2 of us) a table at the second serving.
We arrived early at the Bar to grab a table near the kitchen, ordered some rillette, some breasola and something else (porc something) with a very good bottle of No.9 from Riberach (Côtes Catalanes); I really loved the bar à vin; I could and I will go there often when in Paris.
After my sister left, we transfered to the other side, the restaurant, I have to say that we were a bit too tired and maybe over-indulged on the other side to fully appreciate the meal.
We ordered everything (except the extra foie gras) and I ate most of the dishes, my girlfriend was too food tired (after the previous night) and did not expect the fixed/no-choice menu; she had a couple of bytes here and there but liked everything she tasted.
The first course were smoked mackerels and "Poitrine de Veau"; all was very good; for the mains, red mullet and pork (2 ways); for dessert, I only had the strawberry crumble with noisettes.
I really liked the place, but I find that a fixed menu is "difficult" for some people, and turns the restaurant into more a of "foodie" (here i use the term negativelly) zoo than a place of epicurian pleasure (there were tables taking pictures upon pictures upon pictures of their meals with flash blazing, quite annoying at some point); don't get me wrong, I like to take pictures of my food, but will be happy with less then perfect pictures if I feel I will disturb the people around me.
Service was a bit slow considering there are 2 services and people pretty much order at the sime time form a selection of 2 dishes.
I'd like to go there again in better food disposition to fully experience the cooking.
Damage : around 100E (with 2 glass of wines).
The next day, thursday, was out food day-off, we originally had a reservation for the first seating at Le Baratin, but we canceled that out to go to a comedy show instead (Québec's Louis José Houde in a tiny showroom); so we went to a "generic" place near the theater in Montparnass for a small plate of charcuteries and a plate of french-fries.
In the evening, as our vacation was winding down, we decided to walk around the neighbourhood to find something nice; I did not want to have charcuterie or something like that, neither did my friend; we tried our luck at Au Verre Volé, but at 10pm-ish, it was too late, looked at "La Patache" (Rue de Lancry) and it fit the bill perfectly; one of the best meal of our trip, not just because we liked the food, but because it just was perfectly nice.
We ordered a bottle of minervois "Le Pas de Zarat" 2010 from the Domaine Cazal, and I ordered the Bone marrow (probably from a dinosaur!!) and after that my friend ordered the Beef filet while I ordered the onglet (both came with potatoes! and a nice salad). both meats were properly cooked and rested; after that, we ordered the crème brulée and a tarte au chocolat (different than the one at l'Ambroisie), both were good.
We really like the place. the staff was very "sympathique"
Damage : around 100E.
Saturday started nicely, but covered quickly and went colder, but was the only time we took to sit down at a terrasse at the Café de La Comédie, for a croque monsieur (well, more a "tartine") with chicken and roasted pepper and my girlfriend ordered the club sandwich; both were ok, we were not expecting much, but it was nice.
In the after-noon, we walked by a Mc-Do and went in to try a small box of Macarons (!!!) They were nice; flavours not as fancy as one can get at the better places (or at your neighbourhood patisserier), but for 5E it was a fun ironic statement after eating at L'Ambroisie! .
In the evening, for our last meal, we, again, walked around near the Canal St-Martin area and went to "Les Enfants Perdus" (9, rue des Récollets, 10e) (we called 10 minutes ahead). The restaurant has a nice back-room, a covered area with nice natural ligthing.
I ordered a "tartare" of écrevisse, very good, and a nice salad on the side; for the mains, my friend ordered the "white tuna" steak with some ratatouille; and I got the roasted chicken with some carrots and parnsip purée, both were nice, but my friend was surprised that it was "white tuna" instead of "red tuna".
With that we ordered a nice bottle of Mercurey "Le Clos de Noiterons".
We did not order dessert because earlier in the day we stopped at Juhles (rue du Faubourg St-Denis) to get some patisseries for the evening; so we ended our vacation with those at our appartment (a lot more fun !).
Damage : 90E
All in all a good week food-wise.
Because of the weather (we were a bit underdressed) we did not really sit outside at terrasses for drinks, or got ice-cream or visited markets, but it was fun nonetheless.
Pictures (some of the pictures are not in date order): https://plus.google.com/photos/116444...
I went to La Patache last night too and loved it. Started with a pitch perfect bone marrow, firm and melty at the same time, to notch; and very correct bulots-mayonnaise.
The Cote de Boeuf is the big deal here. It's billed per 100g (4.90€). You actually go to the kitchen to pick the cote they'll grill for you. It's reasonably well aged and marbled, while still having that French beef taste. It's also wood fire grilled, it seems.
It does not change the landscape in terms of cote de boeuf (L'Ami Louis still the best, no matter how obnoxious they can be, other good bistrots like Café Cartouche, Grand Pan, etc still in play) but it's definitely on my map now, and I'll be back.