Monday-Tuesday in A Nous Paris, Philippe Toinard reviewed (3/5) Maxan, which has moved from the rue de Miromesnil to 3, rue Quentin-Bauchart in the 8th, 01.40.70.04.78, closed Saturday lunch and Sundays, with a 32 E formula at lunch and 40 E menu serving items such as duck foie gras, roast veal and chocolate mousse; while Jerome Berger gave 3/5 to Montcalm, 21, rue Montcalm in the 18th, 0126.96.36.199, closed Saturday lunch and Monday evenings, with a lunch formula at 15 and a la carte 35 E for items such as beets & mackerel, raie nems and banana cake.
Tuesday, in Le Fooding, Yves Nespoulous reviewed a place called Merguez & Pastrami in the 9th.
Figaroscope had its traditional end-of-the-year special section rounding up the favorites of 2015 (each with an alternative):
Best of Class – Guy Savoy (L’Etoile de Mer)
Best “chic” – Yam’Tcha (Family Li)
Best St-Germain – Au Bon Saint Pourcain ((Clover)
Best “so long, so near” – 975 (l’AT Bar a vins)
Best seafood – La Maree (Cevicheria)
Best bistronomique – Bouillon (Louis)
Best terrace – Grand Coeur (Les Chouettes)
Best Italian – Ida (Vitis)
Best new wave – Ellsworth (Zebulon)
Best blockbuster – East Mamma (l’Ober Mamma)
Best “drole d’endriot” – L’Aduje (Le Grand Central)
Best return to the future – La Fidelite (La Grille)
Best Korean – Soon Grill (Saam)
Best weekend – Aux Pres (l’Unico Amelie)
Best in the Golden Triangle – Le Gabriel (l’Hexagone)
Best snacking – Cheri Charlot (Siseng)
Best takeaway – Rococo (Le Baretto di Edgar)
Best in the 10th – Mordant (Naan)
Best in Pigalle – L’entrée des Artistes (Le Grand Pigalle Hotel)
Best comeback – Les Bains (Castel)
Wednesday, Heidi Ellison in Paris Update reviewed very positively the previously mentioned Tannat.
Saturday-Sunday, Figaro ran an article about chefs from storied families, presumably in recognition of Fathers’ Day.
After lunch, our friend very kindly dropped me off at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, which building we had toured after it opened, but this is its first real show. Many works by famous artists of the first half of the 20th century have not been seen but others by the same artists have so I didn't find it as entertaining as Colette and friends - but it was pleasant from Giacometti to Matisse.
7.2 La Table du 11 in Versailles has been open for a couple of months and already they are turning eager diners away. We came, recommended by the same couple who turned us on to L'Axel in Fontainebleau yesterday; they are sure finding interesting places this Spring. The place is lovely with a fresh product menu for lunch (left) and interesting sounding items for dinner (right side).
The Chef (one Jean-Baptiste Lavergne-Morazzani) who worked for Gordon Ramsey down the road, started us off with beignets of minced ham with a lovely sauce and we ordered up some Bordeaux to go with them.
Our chauffeur/friend ordered the egg with petit pois and a hefty slice of brioche and Colette and I both had the carpaccio of bonito with shaved raw asparagus, carrots and other veggies that had some marinated zip to them.
Then our driver had the farm chicken with shaved asparagus and cooked asparagus that she found too salty. We had the raie with a delicious tiny squash tempura and raw squash; all quite tasty.
The dessert consisted of cherries in three forms, one with espilette. With coffee came the nicest chocolate truffles.
Our bill with no bottled water, very nice bread (we saw it being delivered just as we sat down), their own Savora butter and 1.5 bottles of wine, was 106.60 E a couple.
It's all the rage this week to either celebrate Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo or celebrate his victory at Ligny; but we did neither, heading off to the Chateau at Fontainebleau, where my two charming female companions trudged through the rooms and special exhibition "Pope Pius VII and Napoleon at Fontainebleau" while I sat in the cafe and drank coffee as befits my lifestyle.
No idea how many wows it gets but the cafe is cool.
8.0 L'Axel in Fontainebleau was another place recommended to us by dear friends who've trekked out here twice in as many months they loved it so. They have "menus" at 33, 52 and 90 E and we went for the middle one which must have thrown 20 dishes at us, all with different ingredients that worked together.
I'll do my best to describe them, but Chef Kunihisa Goto kept the beat right on, from start to finish, flooding us with tastes and textures and temptations. First - as amuses - we had a tomato tart with cucumber puree; then a potato (I swear - potato) ice cream in a mini-ice cream cone; then a vichyssoise of potato and leeks, foie gras and haddock (that can't be right, but my notes don't lie, only my memory of the sequences) that hung together with the density of a semifreddo - my oh my.
Then came what were advertised as firsts: tuna 3 ways (one with foie gras, one as a "sandwich" and one as a tataki) and white asparagus with quail eggs and teeny-tiny crispy-crunchy shrimp and leaves of various root veggies.
Then for mains we had the Breton carrelet and the mosttender, lovely and delicious filet mignons of pork ever seen on earth; both with requisite veggies and herbs and sauces (don't ask!).
Oy! We all got the 1,000 day old Gouda (which I churlishly couldn't resist asking how it was different from 999 and 1,001 days, but our charming wait-guy let it pass - the staff BTW was sometimes clueless but superb); then strawberries and an ice and a coffee, chocolate, caramel concoction; and then outrageously expensive coffees (7 E each) forgiven because of the cleverly stacked sugar disguised as macaroons.
So you're asking me - "John, was it full of pesky Yankees?" "Well, yes, everyone was speaking English," but that's because it was the Graduation lunch for the INSEAD Program (a school, the Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires founded ironically by a buddy of my Dad's at Harvard - George Doriot) and these "kids'" parents from all the continents had clearly given them carte blanche for a 1-star lunch. But because of the baffled ceiling, we could talk easily (dB level 77.4).
Our bill, with 2 bottles of wine, no bottled water, OK bread and the rest, was 156.66 E a couple.
Well, I went to this exhibition breaking my vow to my friend Greg to boycott all Impressionist exhibitions forever; but since it had a "?" I felt released from my vow, especially since Colette and friend insisted. So, you want to know what I thought. No he was not. Yes you've seen most of this stuff at the Orsay. But it was not painful, especially the pastels and statues.
So, 2 Wows! And the cafe is great, just great. Until July 19th.
7.2 Le Jardin des Plumes in Giverny is a place Colette read about that Alexander Lobrano loved and since she's been hankering to return to Giverny, she convinced an old pal to drive us out today. It's a wonderful, lovely house/hotel and garden/restaurant with quirky touches (above is one of the water cups featuring painted flies and one live ant; another the knives which we were advised did best if held onto for the entire meal).
The panoply of pre-amuses was stunning, their descriptions defying my poor memory and the main amuse was a bowl of raw merlan offset by the sharp taste of pea pods and sweet taste of the peas themselves pureed. The menu is a 2-2-3 one so we went for all of them.
Our friend had a dish with almost raw "RostBoof" with burrata and teeny, tiny mushrooms; Colette and I had a "gaspacho" that included halved baby tomatoes, slices of cured pigeon (that could have been Iberico ham), and figs, and a small portion of 'tomato soup' that had wonderful garlic that gave it
Our friend gamely (she was our guest but didn't know it at this point) ordered the chicken from M. So & So with radishes and herbaceous things and Colette and I had the sea trout with black olive sauce and (for my not a potato-man) very nice smashed potatoes.
For desserts we spread our wings, having the strawberries with chocolate, apple with its ice and Baba deconstructed, which I noted that the ladies hovered hovered until I relented and let them finish it off.
Our bill, with 1.5 bottles of wine, no bottled water, the warm bread (and Bordier butter) you can see off to the left that Colette insisted was just like her beloved Grandma in Ithaca made each week for her family, coffee that finally came free (they were training a bunch of stagieres from nearby towns and blamed the 17 year old for the mix up in coffees - which he wasn't responsible for) - was 170 E for three, or 113.33 a couple.
Go? For the restaurant, indeed; for the crowds at Disneyland, whoops Giverny, do as M. Lobrano did and go for the night.
AG in the 6th is another "old reliable" place: Chef Alain Geeam (ex-Auberge Nicolas Flamel) whom Pudlo calls a "magicien" keeps on putting out plate after plate of delicious food. Today he proudly brought out his new amuses, brioches with herbs and olives and EVOO, quite a dandy start.
The non-new amuse was a divine veloute of asparagus with chopped chives and grapefruit which gave it some zip; then the table split between the deconstructed tartare of bar with avocado nipples and combawa & feuilles d'huitres (Mertensia maritima) and the corn soup with a ravioli and sauteed piece of foie gras and sliced peach - out of this world.
Then we split between the stuffed squid with squid ink risotto and "lard" and the quasi de veau which for me was a perfectly sourced, perfectly under-cooked piece of veal with a carrot puree.
For dessert we sort of shared the red fruits with basil and tea ice; the chocolate and sesame ice; and 2 plates of almonds and mignardises.
With 1.5 bottles of wine, no bottled water and 3 coffee, our bill per couple was 79 E. Can't beat that!