Sunday, December 17, 2006

Some Paris Restaurants

That's right, I have now finished posting about our Burgundy trip. But before I completely leave France, I want to mention a few of the places we ate in Paris, and share a few notes. It's not easy to decide where to eat when you love food and there are incredibly cute and yummy looking places on every corner. We were lucky - a friend recommended several restaurants and they were excellent.

Our first night in Paris was a rainy one, but that didn't stop us from walking a bit of a ways, from our tiny hotel room near the Odeon to the 7th Arrondisement. We passed through streets lined with imposing government buildings, guards and security cameras posted outside. I took us to Le Sancerre, a place that one of our books foolishly desribed as "one of the best wine bars in Paris." It was cute enough, but the lady who owned the place had 2 whites and 2 reds and didn't know who produced either of them or where they were from.

BrooklynLady is so good at sussing out restaurants before traveling. She always has a few places up here sleeve, and she pulled out a winner on this night. When we decided not to stay at Le Sancerre she said "I know a place near here," and we went to Le Petit Troquet on Rue L'Exposition. A very small space, but thankfully nonsmoking. And everything was well prepared and tasty. I had a green salad, something I missed while in Burgundy, BrooklynLady had snail risotto (I was so proud of her). I had a roasted white ocean fish (who knows what kind?) as an entree with simply prepared leeks and carrots, and BrooklynLady had lamb shank over white beans. Plum clafoutis (a kind of tart/cake with plum halves on top) and an apple financier for dessert rounded out this yummy meal. The winelist was undistinguished a tthis otherwise fantastic restaurant. Highly recommended.

Our second dinner was a homey one at Le Germain, also in the 7th, right near the Bon Marche, a place we never would have found on our own. Our friend told us about this place, describing it as a place to enjoy "grandmere cuisine, inexpensively." This is an accurate review. The place was tiny, with maybe 8 tables, and definitely low key, but everything was delicious. From the glass of Champagne (I asked for the name of the producer and forgot it)I had before dinner to the mustardy green lentil salad appetizers to the roast chicken and the poached fish with basil sauce...delicious and simple. I was a little surprised at how hip and leather jacket cool our table neighbors were - they looked like they just walked off the set of a soap opera and came for a cast dinner. Highly recommended.

We went to Bouchon de Francois Leclerc for our fancy and expensive dinner. There are a few of these, and they are known for their winelist - fine wines at wholesale prices, supposedly. First of all, the map honestly made it seem as if it would not be too far of a walk from our hotel to the restaurant, but as anyone who knows Paris will tell you, from the Odeon to this place in the 8th Arrondisement is at least 3 miles, probably more. We were sweaty, discombobulated, and generally a mess when we arrived a half an hour late for our reservation, but somehow we still got our table although there was a line. The food was nothing special, but it was fine. The wine list was deep only in the Bordeaux region, everywhere else represented by only a couple of obvious bottles. And wholesale this was not, although the prices were lower than is common in restaurants. We went with the Bordeaux flow and enjoyed a bottle of 2001 Chateau Gloria, St Julien, E38 with our dinner. Surprisingly good, with cassis and some olives and herbs on the nose. Herbal and cedar notes complimented the dark fruit, cassis flavors. The restaurant, though was only Average (and really expensive).

Chez Hamadi on Rue Boutebrie is a cous-cous joint recommended by the same friend who told us about Le Germain. She was right on again. This place was in the 5th Arrondisement 10 minutes from our hotel. For an absurdly cheap amount of money we had some sort of omelet appetizers and then what truly is the finest cous-cous I have tasted, served with harissa. BrooklynLady had stewed beef and I got the house made Merguez sausage. Dessert was sweet mint tea. Magnifique! Highly recommended.

Thank you France! We loved you, and we hope that you will allow us back with our not-yet-born child one day.

No comments: