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Everything posted by Laidback

  1. Have yo actually been? I would say it is NOT the best seafood restaurant in the Nice metro area. ← I was very pleased with Les Viviers, especially the less expensive bistro side which I was led to believe shares the same kitchen as the restaurant next door. I would be pleased to try the better recommendations of Degusto who seems to know the better seafood restaurants in Nice.
  2. I stayed at the Hotel Eychenne for a few days and was very impressed with the restaurant. It is in the pretty little town of St. Girons which is close to Foix.
  3. John, again thanks for taking the time to create what is to me the best restaurant critique available. Ribouldinque sounds very interesting and apparently Claver isn't going for the American tourist even though his location is about ground zero, with brains, cow udders, tongues, kidneys and other assorted "awfuls", and no mention of Rice Krispies or popcorn; I can't wait to get back this Fall. One minor correction on arrondissements; "La Bonne Table", 94 rue des Martyrs is listed in the 9th while actually it is in the 18th almost at the corner of Abbesses.
  4. I find myself in agreement with most of the above recommendations and would add "Carte Blanche" on rue Lamartine...unique presentations at a very reasonable price.
  5. I have a hunch this is barely OT but four of us left most of our meal at Helene Darroze's downstairs place on the floor. We were cowardly, granted, but clear. ← John, That is quite a tease...how about the whole story. Pat&I went to her downstairs place not too long after it opened and were underwhelmed to say the least, but discovered that subsequently most of the reviews were spectacular.
  6. David, perhaps you should consider sending a copy of this to their PR address: http://www.jphevin.com/contact.php?id=2
  7. Rue Cler is interesting but other than the wonderful Davoli, Maison du Jambon, we buy most of our foods at the Saxe Market on Thurs. & Sat. mornings; ParisPerfect provides convenient wheeled shopping carts. For specialties: chocolate from Michel Chaudun, corner of Malar&Université;pastries from either Jean Millet on St. Dominique or Thierry Dubois,on Av. Bosquet, who is our favorite baker now that Poujauran has gone private. Cheeses from Marie-Anne Cantin, just off r cler on r Champ de Mars; and sausages and terrines from Charles close to you on St. Dominique. We think the butcher just under your apt, "Les Viandes du Champ de Mars" is excellent as is the expensive greengrocer on the corner of Exposition and Grenelle. Lenotre closed their r Cler store, but still have the one on Motte-Picquett, and there is a good epicerie fine run by Pascal Mieve on r Champ de Mars between Marie-Anne Cantin and r Cler. You will have a great time.
  8. Kiliki, I stayed with ParisPerfect 2 months a year for 3 years and can recommend them wholeheartedly. The service is 1st class, the neighborhood is charming and there are as many Bibb Gourmand restaurants in the 7th as the 4th, 5th and 6th combined. I am the person that wrote most of the restaurant recommendations ParisPerfect distributes in their info package. They have gotten a little pricier than I can justify for my increasingly longer visits, but for a short term splurge they are still on the top of my list.
  9. Well, David and Felice, Gilles Pudlowski has just reviewed it quite well as well in this week's Le Point. Well done. ← John, I can't get your link to work???
  10. Three of us recently visited "Jean", fka "Chez Jean" in the 9th and found it interesting. We ordered the 7 or 8 course menu degustation for €78. This is the place for foam seeking, envelope pushing afficionados. My take was that the raw materials were of high quality, but the chef perhaps has crossed the line between cutting edge and silly. For example , an emulsion of crab sprinkled with...Rice Krispies, which the server called corn flakes, then after being gently corrected by the loveliest and Frenchiest of our trio, changed to riz soufflé...still Rice Krispies? Example #2: a dessert of puréed tomatoes and strawberries topped with...popcorn. My photo wasn't any more satisfactory than this combination, so I didn't include it. What did work in my opinion, was the beautifully prepared cod, lightly foamed and accompanied with a chocolate wasabi sauce and a dollop of boudin noir...excellent, even though our server insisted on calling it sword fish. The meat course was a deliciously spiced, tender 8-hour pork. White asparagus was served with an abundance of foam which one was allowed to admire before being topped with a fried egg. Another successful dish was de-boned frog legs copiously foamed with menthe and served over an avocado sauce. Rice Krispies must be "in" this Spring as our 3rd dessert was just that, covered with chocolate...it would have been better with the marshmallow to hold it together but then there may have been a copyright problem with the Rice Krispie Treats people. The service was most cordial if perhaps a little mis-informed and prone to the occasional error...I asked our server his opinion as to a bottle of Chateau Tour Marbuzet for our main red wine and he suggested a bottle of Fougeres instead and it was fine, probably an improvement over what I was going to order, but he still charged us for the Marbuzet, but did not charge for our large bottle of Chateldon or one of our glasses of white. He offered our guest a tour of the kitchen to meet Chef Bordier, which was a nice touch. My overall take is that the chef admires Pascal Barbot but doesn't quite get the subtleties involved in unusual combinations yet, although the esteemed Michelin Red awarded him a star this year...could they have missed out on the popcorn and Rice Krispies? I would love to hear someone else's critique...Ptipois, Gastrominator, Carlsbad, fresh_a ???
  11. I guess everyone has their own definition of mid-range restaurants; I tend to define restaurants with a 3 course menu of around €30-40, excluding beverages, since the choice of aperitifs, wine and digestifs is such an individual thing and can render useless any price estimate. I agree with the Bib Gourmand selections; they come close to my criteria minus the wine.
  12. I have heard little rumblings of discontent with Chez Michel, Thierry Breton's little Breton Bistro in the 10th, right behind the church of St. Vincent dePaul, so my wife and I tried it again this trip after an absence of at least 2 years. There is still the great value €30 menu, which I had, but my wife chose from the supplemental selections listed on the blackboard, which increased the cost by €20. My feeling is that the extra expense allows the chef to spread his wings and show what he can do without the constraints imposed by the menu. I started with the very generous soupe de poisson, the full crockery pitcher was left on the table My main was roast veal with thinly sliced cauliflower sautéed with mushrooms followed by a warm Breton sugar cookie, kouign amman. My wife's €5 supplemental entrée was another take on the crab/avocado presentations, and a good one; crumbled crab meat served over avocado purée. Her main with a €10 supplement was coquille St. Jacques, beurre noisette with a purée of celery. Her dessert, a millefeuille of fraises de bois, carried a €5 supplement.. The wine list is one of the better ones for a mid range bistro. We splurged €40 on a good bottle of Fixin, and €4.50 for a bottle of Chateldon. All told I think that this little spot is hard to beat for €30, and still good at the higher prices brought on by the supplemental blackboard menu, just not as great a bargain.
  13. Laidback


    "recall that I had oysters at Gerry & Carole's place across the street" John, speaking of "Gerry & Carole's" place, do you have personal experience at their 1st venture, "La Fontaine Gaillon"? It certainly has street appeal, but I haven't heard from anyone, other than reading reviews from the hired guns when it first opened.
  14. Laidback


    Here are a few with out any incriminating faces, bovine or otherwise.
  15. We spent 3 glorious Easter hours at the rejuvenated restaurant Drouant. The decor is very refined, framed gold fabric, cream colored linens, the original wrought iron staircase, and service superior to it's current rating. There were 2 maitre d's as well as Anthony Clemont himself patrolling the wait staff to insure no repeats of previously reported service lapses. The entrees and desserts come in multiples of 4, which is enough for 2 normal diners or 1 of my girth and appetite. My appetizers, which I reluctantly shared with my wife were "Les 4 Coins du Monde", which consisted of a salade de boeuf marinée façon Thai, Thon rouge mi-cuits au citron confit et aux epices(cumin), Une tarte fine à l'Italienne and the best to my taste, des sots l'y laisse de volailles. Our main was an excellent côte de boeuf de Simmenthal(I have no idea where that is but research is indicated) for 2 personnes which we were, served nicely saignant as ordered, with a Bearnaise sauce that almost converted me from my "naturelle"proclivity. The main was served with, you guessed it, 4 legumes(à volontier) ratatouille, carrots, spinach with creme fraiche, and roasted potatoes; my inbred gluttony required a test of à volontier resulting in a second bowl of spinach. The wine list is very good, not just "blow your budget".Our wine was a curiously affordable, since it was also the only, Margaux, which they have in full and ½ bottles. As any good restaurant should, they also had the same in Chateldon mineral water. I nicely explained to my wife that it would be good for her to order her own 4 desserts as I was not inclined to share mine. Hers were glace vanille with meringue, mango sorbet, Granny Smith sorbet and granité, and granité d'agrumes. My 4 were a millefeuille, a tarte tatin, baba au rhum and an apricot confiture over rice pudding. John Talbott steered us to this place and as usual his pilotage was superb. Thanks Dr. Talbott. I have photos but am loathe to go through the necessary gymnastics unless at least 2 people show an interest.
  16. Sorry, fresh_a. I have the technological expertise of a clam. Some kind souls on the gullet have been trying to help me with photo posting, but as of yet my wine soaked brain has repelled all attempts, thus you are stuck with battling Shutterfly to see my photos.
  17. Another old favorite we checked in on again this trip is "Restaurant de la Grille" or simply "La Grille"which is at 80 rue de la Faubourg-Poissoniere. You don't come here for the decor, unless you are a fan of old hat collections, bird cages and the like. What you do come here for is the smiling joviality of the red-headed bowling ball, Mme Cullere and the ambrosial Beurre(de Nantais) Blanc Sauce prepared by her husband. This nectar is served with 2 classic items, the picture worthy grilled turbot for 2, or the scallops. There are other things on the menu, but I suggest you stick with these 2, at least for your 1st few visits. During our visit this week we sat next to a table of 3 French businessmen, 1 of whom was initiating his 2 associates. He told me this was at least his 20th visit, and that there is also an excellent tete de veau, but I observed they stuck with the turbot and scallops, which I must add are served with a side dish of a potato,onion, bacon pie that was good enough to stand alone, and large enough that our new friends at the next table helped us finish it. The wine list is rather unremarkable, but there is a good Menetou-Salon to help the Turbot digest properly. Go there before the Culleres retire.
  18. in our eating foursome we have one soul who is only happy drinking it but my experience is that it's not so much a marker of "cut above" as a more expensive place.Then of course we have F. Simon last weekend writing his "what's good and what's not" diatribe about French food/restos using as his examples of outrageous prices being charged 7.60 € for a bottle of Chateldon at a brasserie in Clermont-Ferrand. As the big boys say - Oouf! ← A large bottle of Chateldon cost €4.50 today at Carte Blanche.Georgette didn't have it.
  19. Some of the mid-range restaurants I have gotten around to this trip are: Le Florimond, ave de la Motte-Piquet, 7e, which has never failed me. Emmanuel Rubin declared they have the best chou farci in Paris but I declared it so 1st. Believe either one of us. P'tit Troquet, rue de l'Exposition,7e. 3 courses for €29.50. Patrick Vessiere makes his own bread, desserts, etc. and his wife Dominique remains as charming as the day they opened. Small wine list with reasonable wines that we have never heard of but M. Vessiere has, such as a "Comte de Negret" Fronton.The great god Joel R. named this as one of his favorite bistros; who am I to question a culinary immortal? Aux Crus de Bourgogne, rue Bachaumont ,2e. If I squinch my eyes closed and try to conjure what a pre-war Paris bistro should look like, this is it. Absolutely classic with Burgundian favorites on the carte: escargots, coq au Brouilly, and a better wine list than you might expect. We had a marvelously steely Chablis from Fourchaume. A tip of the hat to Phrederic. L'Entredgeu, rue Laugier, 17e. This was our 4th time here since M. Tredgeu left Chez Casimir and was jam packed from the 1st week on after Pudlo, et. al., blathered on and on about this place. We had our most enjoyable meal of the 4 visits this past Sat., which is another bonus; so many bistros are closed for Sat. lunch, and it was not so crowded, allowing for a more relaxed, friendly service experience. The wine list could benefit from Phearless Phrederic's ministrations, but we had a nice cru Bourgeois St. Estephe, Chateau Picard for €35. Carte Blanche, rue Lamartine,9e. This place is deserving of all the praise the critics have heaped upon it. Prettier than most, friendly, knowledgeable service and unique food; sort of a poor man's l'Astrance, or maybe some of you remember the great job Delacourcelle did, pre Pré Verre, when he was at Clos de Morillons. For a 3 course €35 menu you can't go wrong. Has anyone else formed the opinion that a place that carries Chateldon water tends to be a cut above? The meal was excellent and the most expensive wine was a very smooth Gevrey Chambertin for €45. Georgette, rue St. Georges, 9e. The food here was O.K., but it was too elbow to elbow for my enjoyment. Perhaps the killer was that in the crush of serving everyone, we were forgotten between entree and main course; finally our waitress saw us and you could see the guilt flash over her countenance as she dashed back to the kitchen. I am not sure what keeps this little spot humming, certainly not the decor whose highlight is shabby formica, nor the price, as our meal cost about the same as Carte Blanche. Le Charlain, rue Clauzel, 9e. I have already written about this place after Phrederic's recommendation, but it was so enjoyable that we went back again to check for consistency and it was again one of our favorite finds. The chef has an Alsatian background and his Jurassienne veal was excellent. You can access my photos here. The 1st few are repeats of our 1st visit to Le Charlain, but that link seems to have expired anyway.
  20. I didn’t really want to chime in on the Dernière Goutte discussion at first because a) I’m completely biased since I know the owner well and b) because even though I love La Dernière Goutte and have always found it to be a wonderful shop, I am by no means an expert and my opinion is formed a lot by what I’ve read. However I did a little searching and did want to add for what it’s worth, that it’s not just American guidebooks that sing its praises. Every French guide I have--and I have a lot-- mentions LDG or Fish for their wines. “Paris en Bouteilles” says “Arrêt obligatoire !…pour sa collection de vins très large et d’un rare à-propos…” So it’s not just the Patricia Wells of this world who are writing it up. I decided to ask two friends, both whose knowledge of wine far exceeds my own, one in the wine business here in France for many years and another who has quiet an impressive collection, what they thought of La Dernière Goutte, since I know they have been but have no affiliation or bias towards the shop what so ever. Both had very positive comments and didn’t feel that it was “just an ordinary shop”. They both thought it had an excellent selection of wine that reflect the owners’ taste. The former mentioned that although they might not have an overly large selection of winemakers, they normally have each cuvée from a particular winemaker, something he said you don’t find in other shops. I think to compare LDG to Augé or Lavinia is a bit unfair. As Margaret mentioned, LDG is a tiny shop. They specialize in wines from Roussillon and Languedoc, and don’t pretend to have a large selection of Burgundies or Bordeaux. Augé, which I love, specializes in vins naturels and Lavinia is enormous and therefore can stock just about every wine imaginable at the best price possible, something a tiny shop just can’t do. It's like comparing Amazon.com to your local bookstore. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind and am not trying to argue that it is the best shop in Paris either. I just didn’t want people not familiar with the shop reading this thread to come away thinking it was just a shop for tourists with limited wine knowledge, something I feel would be unfair and untrue. ← Well stated Felice...maybe because I agree I have only visited LDG 3 times and then only because I had heard they were knowledgeable about the Languedoc/Roussillon area and in my opinion some of the best rapport qualité/prix in wines from France come from that area.
  21. I would enjoy some discussion as well but feel that my comments would be akin to the 3 Stooges attempting a dialogue with Curnonsky/Parker. I will continue trying to post photos, but presently the software seems to look askance at my efforts.
  22. Saturday we attended the wine expo at Espace Champerret. €6 gets you a tasting glass and admission to an overwhelming display of tastings from the nearly 600 exhibitors. I have a genetic flaw which does't permit me to expel a perfectly good wine from my mouth, ergo, a decision had to be made to priortize some sort of order. We started with red Bordeaux and limited ourselves to St. Estephe and Margaux, then gravitated to white Burgundies represented by Meursault and Chassagne-Montrachet, then red Burgundies from Vosne-Romanée(satin in a glass), Corton, Corton Charlemagne. At about this point, my propensity for swallowing started affecting my memory among other things. I do remember clearly getting back to our apt. in the Trinité-St Georges area with several bottles purchased at a seemingly good price. Of course my reference is framed by wine store prices in FL and cartes de vin in Parisian restaurants. I probably would not have lasted those few hours in a vertical orientation had it not been for a tempering of the digestive system before hand at l'Entredgeu, from which it is an easy stroll to Espace Champerret. This was our 4th visit to Entredgeu since they broke away from Chez Casimir and it may have been better than ever. Since it was Saturday lunch the restaurant was not elbow to elbow as in our other visits, so the service was much more relaxed and the food was better than I require at those prices. If anyone is interested I will attempt to post my photos of the dishes.
  23. We visited this elegant little restaurant last Tues. for lunch. The decor has an oriental touch and looks out on a pleasant garden, which will be more so in a couple of weeks as Spring does its thing. The tables are well spaced so that your conversation is yours only. The staff were quietly friendly, not a whiff of pretention and only made one near stumble, allowing my wine glass to sit empty for a few seconds. Wine service is a sore spot with me...either leave it at my disposal or keep a close eye on the level in the glasses. The wine list is comme il faut for a starred restaurant, with a good selection of half bottles, which I like when we are two. We had a ½ of an excellent Condrieu for the white part of our meal and a young but good St. Estephe, Chateau Les Ormes de Pez, for the red part. Michel Troisgros is credited with an assist on the carte. The cuisine definitely has a flair, modern touches(didn't he make a recent visit to Japan?) without the shock factor found around the corner at the Hotel Balzac. Our amuse bouche was a long thin slice of oriental radish with a size coordinated parmesan tuile touched with roe. We had salmon with sorrel cream sauce, grilled langouste dusted with spiced bread crumbs and lemon grass and rognons de veau artfully presented with sliced rounds of potatoe. Desserts were a passion fruit soufflé and "Petites crêpes à la fraise des bois et parfum yuzu". After dinner we had glasses of an Armagnac which was older than most of us and exhibited more finesse than I did at the same age. Pre-dinner champagne, Chateldon mineral water, wines, old Armagnac, coffee and an extra order brought the tab up to levels that shouldn't be discussed in polite company. If someone invites you then "hie thee forthwith".
  24. Phrederic, In order to escape the shame of drinking ordinary wine would you please list places along with Charlain that you have been instrumental in composing the wine list?
  25. We have rented an apt. in the 9th for the month of April, and found one of Phearless Phrederic'srecommendations phabulous. The name is Charlain and it is exactly what I search for in France; traditional menu, pride of product, careful cuisine, and an excellent winelist with affordable to amazing selections. If you are`searching for foams and ice creams with garlic, thyme, Basil,etc. then keep on searching, but if you crave traditional cuisine at reasonable prices with a wine list that allows flexibility, this may be your place. I mentioned to the owner that Phrederic had recommended it and he beamed and showed me the back of the wine menu crediting Phrederic for his input. I had an entree of baked quail eggs with cubes of foie gras and ciboulettes(Phrederic,correct me if I err as I scribble from memory) and a memorable magret de canard entier with a confit of shallots with a mure sauce served with potatoes cooked in goose fat. My wife had foie gras with pain d'epice and then escalope de veau Normande with fresh mushrooms. These dishes are all too traditional for Gagnaire afficionados but perfect if you have "been there done that" and prefer cuisine more in keeping with 60+ year old palates. We had an amazing Bordeaux, a 1998 Chateaux Croizet-Bages for €50, which may have been overkill for our modest selections, but at these prices one can splurge a bit on the grape. Many thanks, Phrederic and phear not to offer more traditional recommendations in this genre. You can see the photos of our selections at: share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AauWLhm2ZNGJ_
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