4.5 Mama Shelter, 109, rue de Bagnolet in the 20th, 01.43.48.48.48 (Metro/bus; foggeddaboudid, walk), is a place that opened in 2008 and got very mixed reviews and lukewarm ones from 2/12ths of us at Paris by Mouth; so why did I go? Hummmm.
Well, it keeps being mentioned in the print (cf Figaroscope) and webo- (PbM) media; it's open on Monday, and I have been a loyal follower of Alain Senderens since his glory years at Lucas-Carton, L'Archestrate, Lucas-Carton (that's right) and through his voluntary de-star-ment at Alain Senderens and transformation of it and le Passage (whew!) to his new vision and life-style post 65 years of age.
This place neither looks nor has food of any of his prior efforts; it's hipster-ville, with a pizza station in front, a long common table, mismatched, trendy seats, newspapers (marked "Bad News" in English), bars (I counted three) and what else? Lord.
For a starter I chose the cocotte of artichoke hearts, carrots and winter veggies in a rich (but not cream-based) sauce - one piece of artichoke was so hard as to be inedible, the rest was OK. On to the special of the day - can't see it? - neither could I or at least see what it was getting at - the salmon was OK but with noodles and what the 18th century Brits and French thought was "curry," it just didn't make it.
Immediately, one of the head guys on the staff of very attentive and wonderful waitfolk, said "Not to your liking?, want something else?, please let us repair this damage." I said it was me, my taste-buds, not to worry, it just didn't work for me. (PS no charge on the bill). But then I had the fudge/caramel/vanilla sunday and it was just fine.
Go? Sadly, I'm afraid not, I fear that my old culinary king is truly on a downhill slope - sorry, Alain, I loved you when you were you but now, this hipster-World Food thing is not worthy of the Senderens brand despite the terrific staff.