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Everything posted by Laidback

  1. We just lunched at La Véraison and were in complete harmony with Pierre's assessment, but can't quite elevate the chef to Gordan Ramsey status. If anyone would like to see a pictorial, all you have to do is ask.
  2. Could it possibly have been Entre Les Vignes? It is in the 12th, relatively new and John reviewed it previously.
  3. Let me begin by confessing that my knowledge of Japanese cuisine lies somewhere between my expertise in Boolean algebra and ancient Sanscrit. This being said, when two different chefs that I respect suggested that I try Guilo Guilo, I decided to give it a try. It is in small quarters on Rue Garreau in the 18th and is booked up way in advance with the despicable practice of 2 services a night. The chef is on display behind a semi-circular counter and is perpetually sporting a big smile. Some sources suggest that the name is a mispronunciation of the Italian Giro Giro, perhaps meaning turn turn, but linguistics is just below Sanscrit on my list of accomplishments. We were three and were seated in a small private room away from the action but more conducive to conversation. The deal is you get about nine delicious, strange little servings for €45 that are far removed from the noodle, sushi, or Benihana joints from my part of the world. We started with a saki as an aperitif, but after one sip I decided that a good Sancerre would better suit my occidental palate. We started with a mango purée with cured ham and a fig miso with puréed daikon radish with ginger...wow, what a start. Another dish, little understood by me but still delicious, was a pepper stuffed with a puréed beef, a little salad with a piece of foie gras and what I think was a jelly of dried tuna. Hopefully someone knowledgeable will more accurately describe this dish because the flavor/texture combination was better than good. Next up was an omelette and eel soup combo whose flavor was superior to my foggy photo My impression of the next, exceptional little serving was sort of a gambas carpaccio served over sticky rice with a side of pickled cabbage; someone please help me out here. There were a few more unusual, but delicious little dishes... a salmon trout; something I can only guess was fried corn; an excellent tuna with an egg yolk, wasabi and rice and then a dessert ... a spoon of mango soup with a coffee jelly served with cream of almond and pumpkin: Chances are my descriptions are no more than 50% accurate, but if you are an adventurous eater I think you will be enthused; if you are a meat and potatoes person go elsewhere.
  4. O.K. Julot, you have done it now with your beautiful pictures and commentary...my wife has decided we are going as soon as we can get reservations...perhaps you could mail me a small check as partial compensation because she will never settle for the lunch menu. Will you please refrain from further gustatory erotica until we leave in November?
  5. I just read in Daily Neuvième that Daniel Rose will be moving Spring from the 9th to the 1st on Rue Balleuil. His new place will be slightly larger and have a proper cave. The article stated that his assistant, Marie-Aude Mery, will be accompanying him in the move said to be next Spring.
  6. Walked by this week and it is still a bit away from being open; It appears that it will be called Chamarré from the signage.
  7. What is it about market streets with rotisseries that send me in search of a place to eat? The aroma of roasting ribs, sausages, chicken, etc. must be captured and distributed in a joint marketing effort by all the merchants, cafés and restaurants in the area surrounding the Rue Poteau market. Today I ventured down to replenish my supply of freshly roasted sausages from Maistre Mathieu and was assailed by hunger pangs from the delicious smells. I resisted the urge to eat in the area cafés where I have had minimal satisfaction before except for the Richard coffee at Reinette which was better than Nord-Sud or the place across from Monoprix which at the former was bitter without the off setting rich flavor, and at the latter, just another undistinquished cup which at least gave me the excuse to sit while Ms. L. bought the necessaries for a couple of months stay at Monoprix. Our search for lunch at 1st looked promising at the absurdly named restaurant TRUC(with the R so cutely turned backwards), but the attitude of the hostess (not so cute as the backward R)negated that, even though we could see a pleasant looking little court in back. We had previously noticed an attractive, modern looking place just behind the church where we sometimes catch the bus when overladen with groceries. Saturday lunchtime presents a shortage of choices and the pleasantness of the hostess, here seen waving goodbye(did I mistakenly over tip?) plus a decent looking menu and hunger pangs pulled us right in. . I asked the hostess/waitress if she was aware of the double meaning of O.J. in the U.S. and even though this is not tourist central and they have only been open some 9 months, it seems we were not the 1st American patrons as she explained right away that the name O.J. had nothing to do with either orange juice or a former football player/probable wife slayer. It is simply the initials of the chef, Olivier Jegousse (or something similar that starts with J ) I would like to tell you this was a great discovery, but can only say that we found it better than Oxalis and less than Table d'Eugene in the same neighborhood. Ms. L. had a velouté de homard with herbed cream that was above acceptable, the soup is brought separately in a bottle and then poured over the herbed cream My entrée was a feuillté of sardines with the full rich taste of sardines that I like and my refined partner finds unpleasant The mains were a good quality, generous, nicely cooked(pink as ordered) veal chop which was the best of dish of our meal and a full flavored onglet of beef which was above acceptable quality, and cooked saignant. So what keeps us less than enthused about rushing back? The bread was a very poor baquette that had the flavor of paper napkins and the pommes purée was far from Robuchonesque, using an unpleasant olive oil rather than butter and cream which we prefer. The price and choices were reasonable and the bottle of Fleurie was properly chilled and added to the enjoyment, but I just can't understand why a restaurant will serve bread that can be bettered at most any industrial bakery.
  8. Laidback; what is your source/reference? June's WHERE had a piece by Alexander Lobrano indicating it was in business and their website is still active. ← Hopefully my information is wrong. It came from an employee of the French bank that financed them whom we had lunched with at Citrus Etoile about a year ago, and supposedly they pulled the plug recently. Are you in Paris now? If so perhaps you could give them a call. I always felt that Gilles Epie had talent.. ← Today I answered my own question by calling Citrus Etoile and confirming that they are still open...this is not the 1st time that a representative of a French bank made a mistake!
  9. The "Café Qui Parle is also close to us on the N. slope of Montmartre. Some of you may remember we discovered this terrific little bargain spot last year, again on John's "crumb trail". Shown here are gambas in a risotto flavored with mint and citrus fruit; €20 filet of duckling with girolle mushrooms and gnocchi served with an apricot sauce;€17.50 Rognons d'agneau served over roasted olives and root veggies;€17 and delicious and Tete de Moine(monk's head cheese from Savoy) shaved into thin slices, arranged like a flower, with a fig compote.€7.50 One of our perennial favorite's, "Carte Blanche", where we took a cooking class with the young chef, who is a marvel; gets better each year. We have already dined here 2 times this trip and will go again when our son and DIL get here. We had piquillo stuffed with minced veggies; Bulots with chorizo, another combo that worked well: a croustillant du Boeuf: roast squab with calamari and a bowl of smoked bulghar; a rouleau (a weird "surf and turf") of rabbit loin and shrimp; tiny clams(palourdes) topped with sautéed foie gras(a candidate for best entrée ever); and for dessert, a large sable lightly touched with peanut butter covered with poached apricot and almond milk/cumin ice cream and just another spectacular chocolate dish. My photo of the menu on the ardoise is of poor quality, so if you have questions I will try and de-cipher, notice the prices which are a gift for this level of cooking Jean-François Renard loves the orient; he just got back from his 5th trip to Thailand and he spent his vacation last year in Japan, working a bit in a restaurant and he incorporates some of the Oriental spices, serving pieces , etc. and his partner, Claude Dupont, can put you on to a very affordable wine that will marry well with the chef's inventive dishes. Our last visit was maybe the best ever, perhaps the vacation refreshed his zeal. Incidentally he strongly recommended a new Japanese chef at "Guilo Guilo" in the 18th. Has anyone tried it?
  10. Ms. L. and I are back for our Fall visit and in trying to keep up with the restaurant scene we play the sparrows to Dr. Talbott's Hansel and Gretel. So far his crumb trail has led us to one of the true value finds in the 18th and to another inexpensive, but mediocre spot. The Table d'Eugene, pictured here with the young chef, is a very affordable, delicious find. We tried it for our arrival dinner and were so pleased that we booked it again for a follow up lunch.The attentive cooking is traditional, no pretentious attemps at squiggly plate art or wheel reinvention. We started with grilled chipirons which were simply splendid and gambas served over a confit of vegetables a little reminiscent of ratatouille mains were a generous, delicious veal chop served with roasted potato halves covered with sabrosada, a mildly spicy sausage and lamb with an apricot confit and orange infused boulgour I had a nice, runny St. Marcellin cheese and Ms. L. had a good rendition of pineapple carpaccio, shaved thin, rolled and enhanced with a honey pesto sauce and a scoop of grapefruit sorbet. The followup lunch was the same well prepared menu as before, but with a different waiter who does the day shift here and works nights at the Moulin de la Galette. Both were quietly efficient and pleasant and were aided by the chef. I started with a risotto called crousti-moelleux, which is a good description as it was presented in a rectangular form, crusty on the outside and moelleux on the inside. I forgave the chef his little venture into foam here because it had the definite taste of fresh mushrooms Pat had one of her top 3 or 4 ravioli preparations of all time; they were filled with foie gras and covered with a truffle emulsion. Our mains were a large, grilled pork chop accompanied by a bowl of tiny pasta called coquillettes with a cep and truffle sauce. and a mijoté of veal, which had been long time simmered in red wine with sage infused gnocchi dessert was strawberries with a citronelle flavored thick cream and the chef's version of Café Gourmand pictured here. Look carefully at the next 2 pictures to see the value; at lunch nearly everyone was having the formule, which was beyond generous After lunch we picked up a few things at the Poteau market and went inside the 18th's mairie to see the ornate double staircase and salle des fetes with local bad boy, Utrillo's paintings The second restaurant is the type that I normally look for and love; pretty little Mom/Pop place which the Oxalis indeed is, with pleasant, reserved service by Mme while Monsieur is at the stove. However our meal didn't inspire us to return as I had a steak that was cooked beautifully but totally flavorless and Ms. L. had mignons de veau which were overcooked to the point of dryness which couldn't be salvaged by the copious sauce. The desserts almost overcame our disappointment in the mediocrity of the meal. We probably hit it on a bad day, but there are way too many other spots to hit in our 2 months to return.
  11. Ms. L. and I noticed the same level of destruction as we passed by today. How many changes have there been here since the Conticini bros. blew up here?
  12. Thanks for opining. Can you confirm that Citrus Etoile is still in business, as I had been told that the plug was being pulled? His gorgeous wife/hostess is enough to attract Yankee tourists
  13. Laidback; what is your source/reference? June's WHERE had a piece by Alexander Lobrano indicating it was in business and their website is still active. ← Hopefully my information is wrong. It came from an employee of the French bank that financed them whom we had lunched with at Citrus Etoile about a year ago, and supposedly they pulled the plug recently. Are you in Paris now? If so perhaps you could give them a call. I always felt that Gilles Epie had talent..
  14. Does anyone know what has become of Gilles Epie since the failure of Citrus Etoile?
  15. Ms. L and I spent 6 weeks in Sancerre and in our opinion the area has much to offer in dining from gourmet to very casual. In the town the top restaurant is La Tour followed by l'Auberge Pomme d'Or. The Auberge Joseph Mellot is very casual and popular as are the 2 pizza places and the cafés on the market square. Just at the foot of Sancerre in Chavignol is another excellent restaurant, Cote des Monts Damnés. A little further afield in Vailly sur Sauldre is the highly rated Le Lievre Gourmand. In Sancerre the main sights are the panoramic view over the Loire and surrounding villages and the Tour de Fief, from which you can look down on the private chateau and its gardens which is not open to visitors. Nearby is the Chateau Bocard which has guided visits. The town of Charité sur Loire is well worth a visit with its ancient church and ramparts which resisted Joan of Arc's advances. Any of the tourist offices will provide you with many interesting sites in the area.
  16. Gelato is one of my weaknesses and I stop by Caramella anytime the weather is warm and Rue Martyrs happens to be close by; eventually I will try something other than caramel beurre salé. Caramella's gelato is a natural finish to a pizza repast just up the street at Carmine's.
  17. Thanks Julot les P. and Ptitpois for your input; I can visualise Dr. Talbott studiously stroking his Freudian beard and waiting on others to make the plunge before he renders his carefully considered opinion...I can wait.
  18. I would not be surprised to see Bertrand Grebaut get a star. Daniel Rose may also be considered. Who do our resident gurus, i. e., John Talbott, Souphie, fresh_a, Petit Pois, et al, consider future star candidates?
  19. Laidback


    When I was last at the Bristol, the assistant sommelier was a woman.
  20. onocoffee, To escape philosophizing for a moment and return to your question, I would suggest Carte Blanche, Casa Olympe, Le Café Qui Parle, Au Gourmand, Les Fines Gueules, Bistro Paul Bert, Clocher Pereire, Entredgeu, and on and on ad nauseum. I am probably the only anglophone to admit it, but I have tried l'Ami Jean 2 times and just don't get it; impossibly crowded with danger from flying elbows, a slammed wait and kitchen staff which in our case resulted in mixed up orders and in one case the St. Pierre entier being served still cold in the middle with the meat still firmly attached to the bone, as in raw, which is fine if you order poisson cru, but unacceptable to my Parisienne guests who had assumed roti meant cooked. Then again obviously I went on 2 off days. Few are perfect all the time. John, Felice and Souphie are far better critics than yours truly.
  21. Dave this is such a nice service you are providing. One place we love and which makes an easy 1st overnight stop when we rent a car at CDG to head out into the provinces is the Auberge du Chateau in Dampierre-en-Yvelines. It is only about 35km from Paris and only has a few rooms, but their restaurant "Le Table des Blots" is excellent. If time permits, there is a splendid chateau right across the street well worth a tour.
  22. Laidback

    Chez René

    Fortunately I must have hit it at the right time, our waiter was an old timer and almost too friendly, lamenting to our host, a Parisienne of a certain age who has been in the area since 1954, that the cuisses de grenouille now came from Turkey, but that the coq au vin was traditionelle, and this day it was about perfect; the sauce rich and flavorful with out the vinegary-ness that sometimes one encounters and with just the right amount of nice, thick little chunks of lardons that didn't overwhelm the combination of flavors. I think you would have approved. However the mousseline sauce served with the asperges blanches was lacking lemon and pepper to the point of being a distraction, and Madame Host complained that the cuisses de grenouille were too beurré, which to me is not necessarily a fault; she did polish off the entire serving though.
  23. I had read that the classic old bistro had changed owners after 50 years. Don't be too alarmed; the changes seem not to have affected the cooking. After a couple of months of trying new and old restaurants every day, I find myself craving traditional cuisine and Chez René is about as traditional as it gets. I can't imagine a better coq au vin than I was served today; big chunks of sturdy-boned, skin on, chicken served in a heavy metal pot with a sauce bubbling with flavor; no tricked-up "improvements", just classic mushrooms, bacon chunks, onions and red wine. The quantity is generous and the extra sauce lends itself well to be sopped up by the hearty bread. Ms. L. had the cuisses de grenouille and was almost able to polish off the huge, piping hot serving. They are lightly floured and pan fried in butter and garlic with parsley, so rich that our usual lght dinner this evening was not even a consideration. If you or yours doesn't like garlic then steer clear of this dish, but you will have to search far and wide to find a better, more classic coq au vin than I was served today.
  24. Others you might consider are some of the good 1 stars, such as Vin sur Vin, in the 7th, Jean in the 9th or Passiflore in the 16th
  25. I know that you are aware that Les ormes is no more. I would second L'Acajou, 2 visits were better than good, Carte Blanche would qualify in my book, as would Violon d'Ingres, Petrossian, Au Gourmand, Drouant...how many do you want?
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