Colette spied an article about a photo show at the Eglise des Billettes in the Marais featuring the tomb statues in Saint Denis and we went to this charming old church in the midst of Fendi-type stores and bars. It didn't blow me out of the water but if in the nabe - drop by.
Heimat, 37, Rue de Montpensier in the 1st, 01.40.26.78.25 (Metro: Musee du Louvre) has a French owner (Pierre Jancou), German name and Italian chefs, but the food is pretty mainstream with some Italian tweaks. Colette and I arrived before our friend from Boulogne and had plenty of time to peruse the menu and order some interesting "Homage a Robert" wine which had the subtitle "the grape and the angel" pictured as well.
The menu is a 2-2-2 deal so we split up the dishes and courses; Colette and our friend starting with the chinchard, asparagus, grapefruit and almonds and I - the brains, citrus mayo, puntarelles (small early Italian chicory-type shoots) and coques, very nice all.
Then the ladies had the rigatoni with a ragout of duck and rosemary and I had pintade with tapenade, potatoes and bok choy; again quite nice, with a new bottle, this time some Beaujolais for Colette.
For desserts we shared a portion of lemon tart with meringue and two of a sable Breton with apple, caramel and creme crue.
Our bill with no bottled water but 3 coffees and very excellent bread was 166 E for 3 = 110.66 E for a couple.
Colette was reading Heidi Ellison's review in Paris Update of the exhibition of "Lumieres - The Play of brilliants" in the newly restored ElephantPaname on the rue Volney (where Goust resides and next door to the fabulous Bistro Volnay) and said, "we gotta go." "Yes Ma'am." I thought it was OK, but if one has been to the shows at the Espace Electra and the Guggenheim/NY it was not a revelation.
The MiniPalais in the Grand Palais, technically at 3 Avenue Winston Churchill but more descriptively at the South-East corner of the GP, in the 8th (Metro: Champs-Elysees/Clemenceau), 01.42.56.42.42 is overseen or was designed by Eric Frechon, he of le Bristol and has never disappointed me. Colette had a tour at the Petit Palais given by her primo art historian, Chris Boicos, take a look at his website if you're into art tours, that ended at 13h30 so where to eat neaby was a foregone conclusion. The room is stunning, the outside terrace charming in good weather, and the "menu" very reasonable (29 E).
Our former downstairs' neighbor from 34 numbers up the street and I entered simultaneously so we started off with a lovely Ventoux and two yummy just-right-salted giant cheese brioches. Then she had the "menu" soup of celery with mushroom froth that was ab-fab.
For mains, our guest had the "menu" main, a wonderful rockfish soup with good rouget and squid, Colette had the terrific sandre with a carrot puree and I had a lovely round of sweetbreads wrapped in a comte with a super-wonderful-marvellous potato puree.
We passed on dessert but had a nice bowl of pop-corn (a big trend here now) with caramel with our coffees. Our bill, with said coffees and 1.5 bottle of wine, was 95.66 E a couple.
PS, The MiniPalais gets bonus points for the staff's cross-training and ability to perform services for tables other than their primary ones.
Les Comptoirs du Medoc, 93, rue de la Victoire in the 9th is a place I had the best meal so far in 2015 a few weeks ago and wanted to take my friends, one a chef/foodguide just back from India. We looked at the menu and she looked at the next table where the gigot d'agneau was over-cooked by our standards and asked the wait lady if we could have it rosé. Nope. Ah, ha. While the cabillaud snacké was OK for one of us, over-done lamb was not for the rest. Leave, I said to Colette? But our friend persisted and inquired if the 120 E 650 gram entrecote for two could be done rare for 3. Nope. But soon word from the kitchen came that instead, we three could have selles d'agneau done rosé - ah perfect.
She started with a soft egg on a mushroom puree with lotsa March veggies and shredded chicken and ginger and garlic sauce with truffles and the rest of us had 4 spears of white asparagus that needed Chef Nicolas Tissier's natural black salt to stun us.
Then M. had his fish snacké, not cod today but lieu with lots of green beans with an interesting coques sauce and we three got what we came for, rare lamb with carrots every whichway.
Three of us shared two lemon tarts and three mini-Paris-Blaignans (aka Paris-Brests) to top off a very pleasant meal.
With two bottles of Bordeaux (they have a half dozen whites and a ton of reds), no bottled water, good bread and two coffees, our bill was 104 E a couple.
Le Lulli, 4, Rue de Valois in the 1st continues to be a favorite of ours and when a writer-friend sent me a list of places she had to review this spring for a new edition of a guidebook she co-writes - I flashed on Le Lulli and we were off. The menu wasn't all that different from our last time but the wine was, courtesy of our friend. Here's the panoply of dishes:
- an amuse of smoked salmon, potato, a pot-au-feu ball and foie gras mini-cigar - an amuse of langoustine mousse with a cream soup - carrots with mango puree - a bouillon of rockfish with tangy rouille - scallops - poularde stuffed with foie gras - a sorbet and sugary bits of many colors and flavors - Chef Bournot's version of a classic St-Honore - mignardises.
Once again we were overwhelmed by the welcome (by the chef and staff), the setting, the service, the food and the warmth of the chef and general manager towards us all.
Our bill, which was skewed due to our friend's picking up the wine bill, was 113 E for the other two of us.
Les Enfants Rouges Restaurant, technically at 9 rue de Beauce in the 3rd but it's so narrow that it's better described as at the north-west corner of said marche.
Backstory (very long, skip to bottom if you wish): Colette and I convinced our friend whom I've known since 1953, who has lived here the longest of anyone I know, in the Marais of course, to go to let's call it Restaurant C., walkable from her bureau. She wrote back that she'd really like to try Les Enfants Rouges trusting on my reviews but Colette said "Nah, I want to go to where you (me) went last month, Restaurant C." OK. I called Restaurant C. - no answer, left a message. Arrived 12h30: closed; called old friend - "where are you?" "Rue du Temple." "Change of plans - to your preference after-all - Les Enfants Rouges." Colette calls and miraculously there are 3 seats left. Get in cab, driver's GPS is screwy, arrive 20 minutes late. We enter to the effusive greetings of Tomoko Shinozuka, ex-Regalade and chef Dai,the former sous-chef at Le Comptoir de Relais shouting out a hearty hello from the kitchen - cool! So our friend is here and all is well.
First off came a platter of abat charcuterie which we scooped up quickly, great bread and butter and amuse-bouches of gougeres with olives - oh my! Then my old biking pal and I and Colette stealing a bit, loved the veal brains with beans and pimento strips. This guy knows his offal!
Then our Marais denizen had the crispy veal tongue and Colette and I had the daily special - crispy sweetbreads (of which the 12 E supplement was hardly enough to honor this fine dish) - both with a ton of shaved and braised veggies.
At this point, the ever-charming Tomoko asked if we wanted dessert and Colette, taking one look said, "Yikes, I should have ordered the chocolate moelleux made with myrtilles with caramel beurre sale ice cream, but it says "must be ordered in advance." "I push past 10 other patrons to the comptoir and pulling on my incredibly receding forelock say "Ah, Madam, would it be, could it be, should it be possible to have one at this late date?" "But of course, M."
But before it arrived we got another treat - a dollop of green tea sorbet with a miso sauce that was as sweet as maple syrup - really good, as was the eventual dessert.
Our bill, with two bottles of wine, no bottled water and this incredible food, even with the supplements, was only 118 E a couple.
Monday-Tuesday, in A Nous Paris, Philippe Toinard reviewed the aforementioned Juste le zinc in the 8th giving it 4/5 dots and Jerome Berger reviewed 3 places previously mentioned here: Le nomm’echappe in the 2nd, Huabu in the 9th and Le Triangle (3/5) in the 10th. Another review by Ivan Essindi covered the previously mentioned burger place Le Garnett in the 17th.
Tuesday in Le Fooding, they reviewed Chez Georgiana in Marseille.
Wednesday in Figaroscope, Emmanuel Rubin, in his Hache Menu, went to the aforementioned Lasserre in the 8th. Then he followed with his usual five reviews giving 3 hearts to the previously mentioned AnDi An Di in the 20th and 2 hearts to the aforementioned Dune in the 11th. One heart each went to Chez Bouboule in 9th, Le Bistrot du Poinconneur in the 20th and La Piazzetta in the 2nd
Figaroscope’s Dossier this week was written by Alice Bosio and Colette Monsat rated the top 10 chocolate Eclairs declaring those at the Maison Pradier the #1.
Wednesday, also, Heidi Ellison in Paris Update reviewed the aforementioned Le Mordant in the 10th.
Sunday, Genevieve Pardo in the JDD reviewed three places already mentioned here : Grand Central (7/10) Huabu (7/1 Nina (7.5/10)
52 Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis in the 10th has been a reliable Sunday lunch place for us until today. For some reason, we had a tussle with the morning waitfolks, over where to sit, us being 4, and were told we had to be at one of the cramped corner tables rather than two tables for two pushed together (from 12h00-14h00 the place was nowhere full). We were sure we'd be doomed to perdition, but our wonderful wait-guy, Gregory, saved the day.
The firsts, shared among us, sounded great with many contrasting ingredients, but were unexciting: - a persil tubéreux soup with granola, taragon and grapefruit - a soup of lentils and Jerusalem artichoke, savory and "lard" - a 63° egg, black sesame seeds, lime hummus and kadaif cheese.
For mains we ordered the cannelloni stuffed with lamb with carrots, squash and mustard and the black mullet with polenta, celery rabe and vanilla butter - again - sounding better than they turned out to be.
For dessert we split up dishes of pineapple, coriander and 3 other things and caramel beurre sale, Granny Smiths, crumbled sable and some cider sorbet.
Our bill with two different wines (Colette objected to my choice of the Syrah), 1 house-bottled water and three coffees, was 91.45 E a couple.
Les Chouettes, 32, rue de Picardie in the 3rd is right around the block from Charlie Hebdo's H.Q.'s so it was impossible not to see the full Valls' vigipirate display of arms and boots. Kind of took the fun out of going since it brought back that week of horror.
So, after perusing the menu and absorbing the specials today, remembering my friend M-F's egg and crisp bacon yesterday, I ordered the soft egg with a puree of mushrooms, whole trumpets of death and speck that was the equal of crisp bacon. Colette then had the delicious sounding and tasting croustillant of pintade with a spectacular conte sauce and candele pasta, some of which were stuffed with a forcemeat and mizuna and I the joue de boeuf with crispy potato rounds, beets and pears; equally fine. For dessert she ordered the Paris-Brest, which we shared, which was superb (as she reminded me, as it always is here).
Our bill with a bottle and glass of wine, no bottled water, two coffees and a glass I broke, our bill was 98 E.
Anything amiss John?: 1). I cannot believe in this age of printing daily menus they resist printing out the daily specials or putting them on an ardoise, 2). I resent their insistence on getting all your personal data to log-onto their wifi instead of letting you use your own (in my case Free) network. Who wants weekly reminders from restos?