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Mar 31, 2014 12:51 AM

Restaurant Ober-Sale on Rue Oberkampf

Thanks to a suggestion (from whom I don't remember) on this board, we hit up Ober-Sale at the end of a long day of travel and walking around. It's walking distance to the apartment we've rented, so that makes it a local, right?

Anyway, quite nice, nothing extremely spectacular, just good food, well prepared and served with love.

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  1. I believe thanks are due Parnassien.

    1. Many thanks for your report back. And thanks Talbott le Vénérable for the nod...maybe I'm the guy that recommended Ober-Salé or at least I've suggested it so many times on Chowhound that I'm in danger of becoming a one-man band playing the same tune over and over. As I said before to another Chowhounder who found her way to Ober-Salé, it's a delightful welcome-to-the-neighbourhood kind of place. Not life-changing cuisine, not another notch on the foodie belt... but a joyful experience of the real Paris far removed from the inhuman perfection of the starred restaurants. All too often I fear that many visitors to Paris don't quite get the humanness of our lifestyle and culture and remain "sightseers" every moment of their stay and no matter what they do. Ober-Salé is one of those restaurants that gives you a glimpse of that humanness and joy and, most importantly, allows you to share in it. And the food ain't half bad ! :)

      12 Replies
      1. re: Parnassien

        Well put, Parnassien. For a first night's meal in Paris, quite lovely and welcoming. It might even be a great "secret" place, were it not for you!

        1. re: Parnassien

          You made an excellent point: "I'm in danger of becoming a one-man band playing the same tune over and over."

          Smiling broadly as I write, it occurs to me that Chow France is indeed a 5 mile long parade of one-man bands. That's what gives it its vitality. No "yes men" here!

          1. re: mangeur

            Mme Mangeur, I've said before and I'll say it again... you are the wisest woman in the western hemisphere.

            And one of your wisest observations was your blind-men-and-elephant analogy... Paris is just a huge beast that we blind or blinkered folks can only feel but never completely understand... we all have our own versions... tusk or tail, belly or trunk, etc

            1. re: Parnassien

              Hot tip: whenever you're in trouble of losing a debate, bring in the blind men and the elephant. Fits every time. ;)

          2. re: Parnassien

            Actually Parnassien, you are more like a 1-man symphony orchestra with a successful after-hours gig as a rock band, given the frequency, thoughtfulness and diversity of your contributions.

            1. re: shakti2

              Shakti... (blush blush) much too kind of you... um, we should marry :)

              1. re: Parnassien

                Done ! But I'll need to do something about my current husband first :)

            2. re: Parnassien

              Based in part on this thread . . . I've just tweaked our reservations for early May to include Ober-Sale for a Saturday night dinner. We're staying in an apartment only 2 or 3 blocks away on Rue Amelot, so it feels like the right fit.

              1. re: bauskern

                Bauskern, Saturday night is the riskiest time for any restaurant in Paris... to get the full effect of Ober-Sale's charm I'd opt for a quieter weekday slot.

                1. re: Parnassien

                  Nah, we went there on a Saturday and it was just lovely. The waiter was probably the most efficient I have ever witnessed, and managed to be gracious and cordial to boot.

                  1. re: Parnassien

                    We have a 7:30 reservation, which we've found to be a little "early" by Parisian standards, but which has worked well for us in the past. If there are items on the menu that we can't identify or recognize, the waiters have a little more time to explain the dish to us . . . .

                    1. re: bauskern

                      On a Saturday it probably won't get filled until 9:30, so yes, you will get a little more attention earlier.

              2. We ate at Ober-Sale on the advice of a local and it was fabulous. The food was perfect (with one tiny tiny exception imo--disputed by my husband), they were gracious with our children, the waiter was kind, thoughtful, and funny. We sat in the window. It was a lovely evening.
                We had: haddock tartare on gazpacho (deliciously smoky); asparagus with mushrooms and garlic cream sauce; chevre ravioli with pesto; and mains, a braised beef with celery roasted celery root, and a white fish over seaweed (I thought the seaweed was too buttery, my husband thinks I'm nuts). Desserts were excellent as well, a fraise bois soup and a chocolate raspberry something or other which our kids devoured. yum!

                1. Just to be contrarian. We may have hit a bad night but our dinner in April was the worst meal in France in 30 years and that includes Hippopotamus and Maitre Kantor. Most everything seemed to have been prepared day or two or three days before. Courses ranged from poor to inedible.

                  19 Replies
                  1. re: jock

                    Jock, are you sure this is the same restaurant ? Can you check the name and address of where you went ? I've eaten there at least a dozen times over the years and have always come away purring with contentment... other Chowhounders seem to enjoy it too... your one-off experience (I can understand a bad night but worse than Hippopatamus ?!!) leaves me totally bewildered.

                    1. re: Parnassien

                      Went specifically on your recommendation. It was the right place. Paleron de boeuf was totally dried out, texture of sawdust and flavorless. Ate only two bites, the second because i couldn't believe the first was so bad. Wife's Pintard was marginally better but, again, dry and apparently not freshly prepared. Desserts were obviously a day or two old and flat on the flavor scale. Everything else was mediocre at best. I chose not to post at the time because my experience seemed a so far out of other CHers experience. But I am not exaggerating that for me it was the worst food at any restaurant anywhere in my memory. Service was fine.

                      1. re: jock

                        Our dinner there in May was most delightful. Delicious food and the waiter was fabulous. Friendly, attentive and helpful. My only surprise was that the restaurant wasn't busier! When we got there at 7:30 there was only one other couple, so that wasn't a surprise, but I think when we left at 9:30 only one additional couple had walked in. And this was on a Saturday night! If I had one "complaint," it was that the food was certainly richer than we normally eat at home (grilled chicken with salads!!), but I'd go back in a heartbeat,

                        1. re: jock

                          jock, what day of the week were you there?

                            1. re: John Talbott

                              Agreed. It shouldn't matter. But if a diner had a miserable meal there, it poses the question: was the regular chef on duty.

                              1. re: bcc

                                Add to that what I continue to harp about. Each diner has different demands. For some to love a kitchen and others to find it wanting is totally understandable. We don't all look for the same stuff in our dinner-pails.

                                1. re: mangeur

                                  When you say that we do not all look for the same stuff in our dinner pails, I have to agree. But the complaint was of an inedible dinner in an otherwise highly regarded locale. The diner stated that service was fine. I wonder what that means. If I return a plate to the kitchen that is almost uneaten and the waiter does not ask what was wrong, then I wonder what's going on. Is the waiter protecting a substitute kitchen crew? Be that as it may, my personal question is, do I wish to eat in that restaurant, and to that I have no answer.

                                  1. re: bcc

                                    I hear you. But I have had what I consider (original post = inedible) very disappointing plates at a handful of places that are the darlings of the most respected regular posters on this board. What does that tell us? Well, of course that I won't give any of these places more than one more chance to redeem themselves, but more realistically that we have different demands. The French understand it: to each his own taste.

                                    This is, one more time, why I say that you have to woodshed your gurus.

                                    1. re: mangeur

                                      All right. What about you? Do you like Ober-salé?

                                      1. re: bcc

                                        I haven't been. The OP's description and photo's look rather good. Portion sizes look right to me.

                                        We'll probably give it a try in December unless they are open mid-August.

                                        1. re: mangeur

                                          Chère Mangeur (let logic triumph grammar),
                                          If you try and report on Ober-salé, I will be pleased as punch. And otherwise, it is foolish of me to be obsessing about eating in Paris when our upcoming trip is to Manhattan's Chinatown. Paris can wait. Bon Voyage for your next Parisian sojourn.

                                          1. re: bcc

                                            Since you don't know my dining preferences and style, I will definitely try to post and describe our experience so you can see if it might be one you would enjoy.

                                            In the meantime, you'll "have Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island too.
                                            It's lovely going through the zoo,,,"

                                            Enjoy it all. :)

                                    2. re: bcc

                                      There is a world of difference between a dish that is utterly "inedible" and someone just not really caring for a particular meal, or finding that it didn't live up to their uber-high expectations, stoked by endless evenings perusing Chowhound . . . .

                                      1. re: bauskern

                                        So much is in the palate and experience of the individual diner. For this reason, I seldom recommend restaurants unless I have a solid handle on the preferences of the person.

                                        At the same time, there are kitchen mishaps. We were served criminally overcooked lamb at a hard-to-book and tremendously respected restaurant. Because we were dining with friends and didn't want to strain the service for our table, we didn't refuse it, but that was our problem, not the restaurant's.

                                        1. re: mangeur

                                          "So much is in the palate and experience of the individual diner."
                                          In that case, Jock is IT.
                                          Therefore I suspect a serious kitchen mishap. Hey, ça arrive.

                                        2. re: bauskern

                                          So true. And Ober-Salé is hardly at the height of culinary excellence in Paris but is a fab example of (usually... except for jock's inexplicably disastrous meal) very good food and the sort of warm and friendly neighbourhood bistro experience that so many visitors look for.

                                          1. re: bauskern

                                            What are you attempting to say?

                                2. re: jock

                                  Are you confusing Ober-Sale with Premices ?

                            2. I'm relieved that it is actually Ober-salé and not Ober-sale.

                              It would be odd for a restaurant to actually call itself dirty.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lagatta

                                Most chowhounds spell bouillabaisse as bouillabaise - boiled f**k, including one hound who says he has decades in southern France and has some kind of expertise.