Monday-Tuesday, in A Nous Paris, Jerome Berger reviewed and gave 3/5 dots to the Venezuelan/S. American Galia in the 14th and Philippe Toinard awarded the same to the previously mentioned Salt in the 11th.
Tuesday in Le Fooding, there was a review of the taco place Santa Rosalia in Toulon.
Wednesday, in Figaroscope, Emmanuel Rubin reviewed his usual 5 places giving three hearts to the previously mentioned Fulgarances in the 11th and two hearts each to L’Amarre, 5, rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi in the 11th, 01.48.06.56.85, open 7/7, where according to your desires you can have oysters, daurade and a clementine tart for from 30-50 E as well as the the ice cream parlor Une Glacea Paris in the 4th, Garnering one heart each were La Guinguette d’Angele in the 1st and the General Store in the 2nd..
And in his Hache Menu, Rubin wrote up Pierre Gagnaire’s menu at Fouquet’s in the 8th where he says the bill is one only found on mars – 130-150 E.
The Dossier this week was devoted to places where members of the food and editorial staff of Figaro enjoy eating certain dishes.
There was also a rating by Alice Bosio & Colette Monsat of the best places to go for a chocolate tart – Jean-Paul Hevin coming out #1.
Also Wednesday Heidi Ellison’s Paris Update raved about the previously mentioned Salt in the 11th.
Yesterday would have been Steve’s 80th Birthday; I know this because today I reached the same milestone.
Steve was one of a kind, heralded in the New York Times when judging a B-B-Q competition in Taylor not Tyler Texas, which in his natural generous way, he got about 6 more of us to be judges the following year; flanneur in Paris always seeking the interesting new restaurants (and recording their menus on a hand-held tape-machine (pre-internet, iPhone, etc.)) and gourmet in Brooklyn and Manhattan, whom one could call and say “I gotta be at 14th St on the West Side tomorrow, what’s good there?” and like Johnny Apple and Pierre Salinger, he knew where to go.
I met Steve in my first year and his in Medical and Dental School respectively at Columbia P&S where we shared courses together and both worked for room and board at the NY Psychiatric Institute in Washington Heights – he was on the night shift on the Child Unit, an awful responsibility, but I had lucked into being the evening librarian-assistant in the fabulous Library (where Freud’s own collection was housed, but that’s another story.)
All the medical and dental and nursing students ate together three times a day at the asylum and the food was pretty dreadful. But Steve and his buddy Steve Murphy, both over 6 feet 4 tall, and both ex-rowers, would plead for seconds, and the Irish women staff members, after hearing their pitiful cries, would come out with more overcooked steaks or whatever.
Fast forward to France; several times after graduate school, Steve and his wife Deb, an art historian, rented places in southern France to which they invited folks like us. At some point, I think after randy cats invaded our house in Villeneuve at midnight, Steve & Deb came to Paris and found an apartment in their building in the 18th that would accommodate us and we were “in.”
From this point on, Steve would search out restaurants, culinary shops and interesting clothing at H&M or C&A, tell the rest of us and we would go – eat, taste and buy – his taste was spot-on; we never starved nor ate poorly (oh, there was his obsession with an awful Indian take-out place, but that was an exception.) He (and Johnny Apple) found the Barrier de Clichy, Patricia Wells and Paul Bocuse as well as obscure places in the 18th (La Table d’Eugene), 19th (Eric Frechon) and 20th (Zephyr) as well as places outside the peripherique for weekend dining.
But most endearing was his sense of humor, he didn’t pun, he did stand up but sitting down. At dinner tonight, my wife, looking in the mirror over our dining table tonight said – “Steve’s not here” – because he and she were always mugging and joking in the mirror.
No one has taught me more about food, enjoyment or the zest of life than Stephen Starr Markow; I miss you Steve; I think of you every meal; be well wherever you are.
The Bistrot Belhara in the 7th has been on our circuit for quite a while and while Colette also admires the flowers (above) I was captivated by the article beneath from Marianne's On Passe A Table declaring chef Thierry Dufroux "La Virtuose du Parfait Bistrot." Whoa, high praise indeed.
The restaurant features itself as traditional yet modern (as is said explicitly about its onion soup and we always find something intriguingly such. For me it was the two specials - the sautéed mushrooms and perdreau with chestnuts and shallots- but whoops, the barely readable chalk says the partridge is only available at night - oh well.
So two of us ordered the mushrooms which were easily enough for the 3 of us and represented a perfect traditional-modern entry into fall, along with a very nice Minervois, although it was over 70° F.
For our main dishes, our friend turned to the aforementioned tad-mod onion soup (trad in that the onions were reduced to a sweet state and mod in there was no bread or melted cheese); Colette had a ravioli of scallops with a cepes sauce; and I had the waiter's favorite - a spicy dish of Basque tripes with raw fennel but without the truffles.
After a brief discussion, Colette indicated she was up for the apple tart with caramel ice and we helped her out a bit.
Our bill with an homage to Paga M., whose 80th birthday today would have been - a glass of Vielle Prune - no bottled water, superb warm bread with butter, one bottle of wine and 3 coffees, was 132.50 E or 88.36 E a couple. And the two waiter-comics didn't charge for any banter or jokes.
6.9 AG Les Halles, 14, rue Mondetour (the old Autobus Imperiale space, which I last visited in early 2005) in the 1st, closed Sunday nights but open other days for all 3 services, (Metro: Les Halles, Etienne Marcel), 01.42.61.37.17, is Alan Geaam's 3rd place (L'Auberge Nicolas Flamel and AG having preceded it but now running on their own very good steam) opened or reopened this week in the midst of the pounding of construction around it (but muffled once inside (7.5) - which is gloriously refurbished personally by the chef, including the Braque-Picasso-esque mural).
We argued among us as to who would order what, but finally settled on a reasonable set of choices.
But Chef Geaam thwarted our intent to order minimally by sending out some champagne, brioches with olive oil and black grains and mascarpone on a noisette sable with cracked nuts.
We stuck to our guns, however and ordered only two firsts: a tartare of huge oysters and bar with sticks of Granny Smith, fennel, pistachio and yuzo and sautéed wild mushrooms with chestnuts, parsley sauce and miso sabayon. And then suddenly, appeared three portions of raviolis with foie gras, butternut squash and citrus slices that perfectly offset the sweetness of the foie gras - just wonderful!
For mains we ordered crisped chicken, cochon de lait made like pot-au-feu and a pave de Chevillard (apparently what the wholesale butches in the ancient Halles put aside for their retail restaurants nearby) with l'os a moelle made like cromesqui, crispy fried balls of heaven.
They had three desserts on the ardoise and we asked for descriptions of each, declining our very terrific waiters' suggestion we order one of each, settling for one "No cheese cake" but were thwarted again by he and the chef, getting the chocolate, praline and caramel sauce and savarin with rum and wonderfully offsetting pineapple as well. We loved each one.
We finished up with fine coffees and mignardises and on her wanderings Colette snapped a pix of the cheese tray from chez Sanders which looked great. Next time.
All of us went to their toilets and were blown away by the floor tiles wall tiles and hanging faucets - wonderful!!!!! Best of the year.
Our bill with no bottled water, much comp'd, good bread, 1.5 bottles of wine and 3 coffees, was 125 E for 3 or 96.66 E a couple.
Go? While not quite up to the original AG's level, I predict in a few weeks it'll be there.
Porte 12, 12 rue des Messageries in the 10th has such a small porte it's easy to pass up as I always do. Once inside though it opens up revealing about 5 chefs in the open kitchen and about as many waitfolks in the sale. It's zen, cool, with artless walls, conveying a "we're serious about food" attitude. It's a forced menu, 35 E for 3 courses 55 E for 5, plus an amuse and financiere. We went with three.
So here's how the dishes (all superb) rolled out: - a "nature" Languedoc - radishes with a fluffy mayo and parsley - tiny carrots in the soup with incredibly tender shrimp and carrot sauce & orange emulsion - 4 brioche set on hay/straw - melt-in-your-mouth pintade with a caramelized onion sauce and squash and the greatest burned tiny onion imaginable - a chocolate-caramel-cocoa "cigar" - the financieres.
Our bill with two bottles of wine, two coffees, nice bread and no bottled water, was 227 E for four, thus 113.50 E a couple.
La Bourse et La Vie in the 2nd has only been open 40 days and already has a loyal following, largely French locals says Marie-Aude Mery Rose; the carte is simple, well, it sounds simple, like one might have had in a country bistro in 1953, but is anything but, having been updated and tweaked, as my oldest French Friend who derives from 1953 will testify. Colette and I ate with her today and her younger brother joined us for coffee after a lunch cabinet meeting at which subjects such as (whoops, I'm not sure I have high enough security clearance to relate; I held just Secret in the USofA and that was before the CID and FBI and Nixon's Enemy List.)
First off, of course, a bit of sparkling wine (offered), then M-A M-R's signature giant fougasses; then a platter of leeks vinaigrette and a platter of beets and smoked eel; yum!
Then Colette had the superb raie Grenobloise and our long-standing French friend, their famous pot-au-feu with tete de veau, whose bouillon alone is worth the price of admission. I had the (unpictured) crispy-(d/t buckwheat)-skinned quail that really didn't need the lemon-butter it was so wonderful to pick up (hey I'm American) and eat off the bones.
Finishing up, the four of us ably handled the chocolate mousse and lemon tart, both of which seemed better than ever.
Our bill with 1.5 bottles of wine, no bottled water but great bread and 4 coffees, was 150 E for 3 or 100 E a couple.
7.7 Salt, 6, rue Rochebrune in the 11th, 01.73.71.56.98, closed Sundays and Mondays (Metro: St-Amboise) features a chef, Daniel Morgan, Sheffield-born, who came through the Square in London, Noma in Copenhagen and Narisawa in Tokyo to this 30-some cover seafood place in the deepest 11th, who operates with two other chefs and a plongeur and 3 ladies in the front room and turns out the most exciting food of the fall at very reasonable prices (2 courses = 16 E; three = 23 E).
We started off with a lovely Vermentino accompanied by roasted cauliflower with goat cheese butter, cepes, fromage blanc and Colonnata lardo and pousse-pied or pouce-pied (big barnacles or as Wiki defines them - Pollicipes pollicipes, known as the goose neck barnacle, goose barnacle or leaf barnacle.....a species of goose barnacle, also well known under the taxonomic synonym Pollicipes cornucopia. Whatever you call them, Chef Morgan really knows how to prepare them; indeed he also showed us how to eat them, dipping them lightly in lardo of Colonnata.
Then Colette had a perfectly sourced and cooked piece of merlu (hake) with carrots, mustard leaves and cepes and our guest and I had what were called palourdes but I think were coques with really zesty ginger, black raddish slices and herbs - this was 5 star food if there were 5 stars.
To finish up, we shared a plate of artisanal cheeses that were spectacular, pain perdu made from buttermilk cake with azuki beans and fennel grains and mascarpone mousse with kaki and oxalis.
One sour note.......there is no railing alongside the steep steps to the cellar/toilet. We hope this is rectified so nobody falls and fractures his/her leg!
Our bill with a bottle of water, 2 bottles of wine, divine bread (made in house twice a day) and 3 coffees, was 145.50 E for three, thus 97.00 E a couple. dB = 81.8.
Go? Better go quickly, already it's fully booked at lunch.
4.0 Cameleon d'Arabian, 6, rue de Chevreuse in the 6th, 01.43.27.43.27 (Metro:Vavin) closed Saturday noon and Sundays, opened in 2006 to general acclaim; my notes from 2006 say:
"Old school, old prices - old son. 7.0 Le Cameleon, ... is Jean Paul Arabian’s latest venture. Arabian, of course is the ex-partner of Ghislaine and came here from Le Restaurant in Lille and Ledoyen + Pierre au Palais Royal and one place in the 18th not on his resume that none of us can recall, in Paris. He brought in Chef David Angelot from Ledoyen and since September (2006) or so has been providing fine updates of classic cuisine at reasonable prices – 25 for two, 30 € for three courses with glasses of wine at 4 € and bottles starting at 19 €. I went with my “real food critic friend” and we had a ball. The bread was first rate (Poujauran, he posited). We shared: escargots on top a sauce/soup of chopped-to-infinity parsley and fried calamari with tartare – both superb. Then we shared: a fat slice of calf’s liver that was neither top-flight product nor cooked to my specification (which would be really raw inside), but the accompaniment – macaroni with cheese (I jest not) and pork with coriander flavored carrots and tiny onions was so wonderful that it offset any lingering doubts about the liver. Finally we shared what I never would have ordered without prompting, a divine pain perdu with roasted pineapple and beer, yes beer, zabaglione. The bill with coffee, a bit more wine and a tiny digestif = 94 €,although the bar person charged us 100 €, and my famous friend didn’t dispute her math, figuring like I did that we’d tell the story of her inability to divide 94 by 2 enough times to make up the 6 €. Oh, on the way out we saw several other dishes, onglet, raie and other stuff that was equally appealing. ”Should one go?” I cannot think of a reason why not to."
Well, have things changed since he brought in a new chef and fancy plates, etc.
As an amuse, they sent out some pumpkin soup (doesn't anyone realize the pumpkin soup craze crested 10 years ago?); then one of our friends had the crab meat with celery, bean sprouts, enoki, lime and coriander; the other a Billy By soup of mussels like Maxim's once did; and I had the chinchard tartare with green apples, fennel and mango - all decent but hardly worth 16-19 E apiece a la carte (we'll get to that later.)
For mains we split up: the women having the scallops with coriander, artichokes, citrus sauce and curry; then men - the famous chateaubriand of foie de veau epais. Accompanying that was a casserole of mac 'n cheese = the hit of the meal, that alone was almost worth the trip.
For dessert, one of our guests had the assortment of red fruits, Colette had a poached pear with good caramel sauce and all of us appreciated the mignardises.
The bill; ah the bill; well, ahem, if one subtracts the 2 glasses of champagne our friends had (at 17 E each) as they waited for us to arrive on the increasingly-troubled #95 bus, and counts in a double and two single coffees (18 E) and 2 bottles of wine (84 E) and a glass of wine (comp'd or forgotten) as well as a bottle of Thonon (9 E) it turns out that a la carte, which is the way the hurried staff calculated the bill, it comes to 343 E or 171.50 E a couple - or if calculated as a formule/menu, one could escape only 124 E poorer.
Go? Not until they get a new chef and more staff who know mathematics.
Monday-Tuesday, in A Nous Paris, Jerome Berger reviewed and gave 3/5 dots to the previously mentioned La Bourse et La Vie in the 2nd and Philippe Toinard gave the same to 24 Le Restaurant, 24, rue Jean Mermoz in the 8th, 01.42.56.24.94 or 06.28.92.57.91, closed weekends, where for 32 E at lunch or 50-65 E a la carte at dinner one can have items such as gravlax, fraise de veau and crepes Suzette.
Tuesday in Le Fooding, there was a review of Le Binocle in Toulouse.
Wednesday, in Figaroscope, Emmanuel Rubin reviewed his usual 5 places giving three hearts to Jean-Paul Arabien’s Cameleon d’Arabien, old coordinates but new chef who serves items such as mussel soup, Colbert duck and veal liver on lunch menus of 30 & 35 E, a la carte 70 E. Garnering two hearts were the Botanique Restaurant, 71, rue de la Folie-Mericourt in the 9th, 01.47.00.27.80, currently dinner only except weekends, with a tapas at 20 and forced choice menu at 45 E with items such as cepes pizza, leeks with oysters and chocolate dessert; and a kale-dominated mignonette Season in the 3rd. One heart went to L’Argument in the 15th and a broken heart to A La Bonne Heure in the 2nd.
Rubin’s Hache Menu this week was about Aux Marches, the nostalgic place near the Palais de Tokyo which he advises one to “Roule, ma poule.”
The Dossier this week was devoted to places serving beers.
Also Wednesday Heidi Ellison’s Paris Update revisted three of her old faves - Taxi Jaune, Pramil, & Monjul.
Thursday, Francois-Regis Gaudry wrote up YAR, 35 rue de Montholon in the 9th, 09.83.30.34.84, lunch plat du jour = 16, menus at 24 and 31 E, closed Saturday lunch and Sundays, serving items such as a Jerusalem artichoke ravioli, sautéed wild mushrooms and rabbit.
Sunday in the jjd, Aurelie Chaigneau reviewed and gave 6.5/10 to the bio-vegetarian Hobbes in the 19th; 5 to the crepes place Lucette fait des crepes in the 9th; and 7 to the maki bar Blueberry in the 6th.