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November in Paris - The report

r
rrems Nov 22, 2013 12:03 PM

Thanks to all who responded to my post inquiring about the restaurants we intended to try in Paris:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9174...

Here’s the report:

Pirouette

This was the big winner. Beautiful atmosphere, excellent service, and very creative food. A real bargain at 40 euros for a 3-course dinner (with supplements on a few dishes), and a good selection.

Tranche de boeuf with vegetables and horseradish sauce. Marinated bass. Lievre, pigeon. Wonderful whipped potatoes. Outstanding riz au lait, tarte de fromage blanc with chocolate sauce. Vinsobre 2010 altitude 420 Domaine Jaume, Rhone. Total was 121 euros.

Le Cinq

The food was superb, service flawless, the room gorgeous.

Mushrooms with foie gras and pistachio mousse. Tagliatelle with seafood. Pigeon with foie gras wrapped in spinach and bread crust. Root vegetables. This has to be the best pigeon dish I have ever had. Eel and octopus. Banana cake. “Mont blanc” (apple covered with apple sauce in a meringue shell).

I was surprised that they were being rather stingy with the mignardises.

At 110 euros, plus 70 for a bottle of 2002 Cahors, 12(!) for a bottle of water, 23 (yikes) for 2 coffees (total 325 euros) this was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m glad we did it, but I doubt we will repeat it.

Semilla

This was disappointing. Certainly the food was tasty, but…

Felt very touristy. It’s obviously been discovered by loud Americans and Brits. My partner felt like he was on a moving train due to the idiot at the next table who couldn’t sit still on the banquette, chattering away with his 3 female pals, with every other word out of their mouths being “like”. This is what we go to Europe to get away from.

Mushrooms with cauliflower (boring), rabbit terrine (delicious). Roast pork, tete de cochon croustillant. Both main dishes were just thrown on top of some lettuce. Creativity is definitely lacking.

Service was friendly and the server did speak French with us, but the kitchen seemed overwhelmed and the wait for the main course was interminable. We skipped dessert. Total with one bottle of wine, 109 euros.

L’Instant d’Or

This is a great lunch deal at 36 euros. Wine prices are very steep, as much as at Le Cinq. A Cotes du Rhone Villages was 75, though I must say it was a very good Cotes du Rhone.

Veloute of mushrooms with chopped scallop, roasted pork loin, monkfish. Baba with pineapple.

The food was excellent. Service was attentive except, oddly, they neglected to refill our wine glasses twice. That would be excusable if they had put the wine on the table, but they did not.

This is an opportunity to have a luxurious meal at a very reasonable cost. The Michelin star is well deserved. Total for 4 with one bottle of wine, water and coffee was 240 euros.

Youpi et Voila

We loved this. PhilD’s description was 100% accurate. Very plain atmosphere, very informal service, but attentive and cordial. The evening’s menu was all seafood.

Scallop with cauliflower puree, squid with multicolored beets, maigre (giant sea bass) with braised fennel and broccoli. Roasted pineapple strips with avocado cream and avocado ice cream. We prefer red wine, so the waiter suggested Pinot noir d’Alsace 2010 domaine Sylvie Spielmann, which really worked well with the delicate seafood. Total 109 euros.

La Mignardise, Troyes

On Saturday we took a day trip to Troyes, a beautiful old city in the Champagne region. Valentino, our intended restaurant for lunch, was booked by a large group, so we tried the second most interesting looking place. It turned out to be very good.

Grilled mushrooms with bacon, pumpkin soup, rabbit terrine, guinea fowl with apple and cider sauce, sandre (with more grilled mushrooms and bacon, wish they had told me so I could have chosen a different appetizer), andouillette, pear in filo with caramel sauce. Refined service and an atmosphere of rustic elegance. With one bottle of wine, and coffees, the bill for 4 was 184 euros.

Pascal Caffet

This is a patisserie, chocolatier in Troyes that is a must visit. We sampled some chocolates and bought a cake. The pastries are works of art, and the cake we got was delicious, with layers of chocolate cake, pistachio mouse, and strawberry glaze.

Ober Sale

Another small and unassuming place, with one waiter doing a great job of handling the entire room. It was Saturday night and the room was filled. A number of walk-ins were turned away.

We each had a kir to start, one with Cassis, the other peche, then a bottle of Syrah d’Ardeche 2010, which was quite good. We don’t often see Ardeche wines, so it was a nice surprise (29 euros).

The menu is traditional with a twist, updated comfort food.
Seared scallops (4) with fennel salad, roasted red peppers, and chorizo, pumpkin soup with goat cheese cream. Blanquette de veau, veal kidneys with mustard cream sauce,carrots. Dark chocolate mousse with coffee cream sauce, roasted figs. Total 109 euros.

In summary, we had a lot of great food. I would be particularly happy to return to Pirouette, Youpi, Ober Sale and L’Instant d’Or.

  1. mangeur Nov 22, 2013 12:42 PM

    Great report. I felt as if I were there.

    1. Delucacheesemonger Nov 22, 2013 01:15 PM

      Thanks for your long report.
      If you return to Troyes please go to the glass school. They are doing a lot of pate de verre and damn well.

      1. PhilD Nov 22, 2013 03:28 PM

        rrems - glad you liked Youpi - 3 months after returning from Paris its one of my most memorable meals.

        I have been slightly puzzled by the two recent reports not liking Semilla (especially from trusted posters whose taste is similar to mine), I wonder if its all about context.

        We ate there twice on our visit, but both meals were on Friday nights when we wanted a loud, lively, buzzy place...so it hit the spot. Our food was good, but that was in the context of a relaxed Friday - kicking back and maybe not in too demanding a mood.

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