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April 2007 Fines Gueules, Rech, Alycastre, Jumeaux


daemon
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A few lines about my lunch at Urbane today.

the restaurant is a tiny place, simply but nicely arranged, not far from Canal St Martin.

Audrey and her charming irish accent are in charge of the guests, and Olivier runs the kitchen.

We had the19€ 3courses-lunch menu ( 1 starter, 2mains, 1 dessert) :

We started with a green aspergus and beetroot salad with mascarpone cream, nuts, parsley & coriander, simple yet well balanced.

We then had a John Dory with a curry emulsion ( looked more like a sauce to me, but stil very good) and small potatoes from noirmoutier island. Very nice even if the fish skin would have deserved to be more crispy IMHO.

For dessert, the homemade brownie with orange sorbet and whipped cream served in a glass was really tasty with its nice contrast between orange's acidity, the strong chocolate flavor, and the sweetness of the cream.

I didn't take a close look to the wine list, but it has bottles, half, and by-the-glass wines.

the bill for 3 menus+3 glasses of wine +1 sparkling water bottle +2 cafés was 74€ which is quite a very good deal for what we had....and John Talbott seated next to our table seemed to enjoy his meal too :wink:

I'll definitly give it a shot at night, with the 29€ 3 courses menu (4-5 starters, 4-5 mains, 4-5 desserts).

Let Eat Be

Food, Wine & other Delights

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April 2007 – Les Fines Gueules, Rech, l'Alycastre, Les Jumeaux, Urbane, Pouilly Reuilly, Chez Geraud, Saut du Loup, Cheri bibi, Le PartaӘe, Cafe des Faubourgs

Off the charts

HS* Les Fines Gueules, 43, rue Croix des Petits Champs in the 1st, 01.42.61.35.41, open everyday. My friend, the RFC (real food critic) called to warn me; this place is really just the old Tourelle under new management (exBistral) and not to expect a lot. But I did, because Pierrick Jegu in l’Express and Jerome Berger in A Nous Paris had spun me its spin; a presentation of the “best of” products; eg, best oysters from David Herve in Oleron (14 € a dozen), best butter from Bordier, best bread from Poujauran, best andouillette from Thierry Daniel, best meat from Hugo Desnoyers, best charcuteries from Gilles Verot, best veggies from Joel Thiebault, etc., etc. Plus superb wines, Bourgueil from the Bretons (my favorite couple in the Loire), Sologne from Claude Courtois, Cotes du Roussillon from Jean Louis Tribouley, etc. It’s not a wine bar, or bistrot or restaurant or brasserie – it’s all of the above and none of them, it’s sui generis. Now the menu (ardoise) changes every day – I spied the one from yesterday and of course saw that of today and except for the charcuterie platter, they were totally different (tuna, cod, duck, andouille, bourgignon, sausage, riz au lait, crème chocolat yesterday vs beef, salmon, vegetables today). So what we had, will not be there tomorrow, but never you mind, go! We started with two sublime, divine dishes: cold lisettes with a gelee of coriander and veal carpaccio with the lightest of nutty Italian olive oils and 36 month old parmesan. Then we were going to share some charcuterie as a main course (6 varieties) and cheese as the cheese course (7 varieties) but the RFC saw a plate of huge leeks with Iberico ham go by and it was all over; we were hooked. What was better? Tough call. Maybe the chorizo with cornichons, maybe the ham, maybe the St Nectaire. And the 1st white, a Chardonnay, was wonderful, but the second, an Anjou was even better and the third, a Gauillac (by then we were standing at the bar with the patron, sipping out of a bag-in-box) was incredible and unrecognizable – complex, apples and apricots (I hate it when wine mavens talk this way, but it was true) and layers of taste – heaven. Our bill with all that food, wine, coffee, Armagnac, and after-dinner stuff was 121 €. The downstairs room-cum-cave seats 18 and is no-smoking. The only bad sign is that their card gives the telephone number as +33 1, but maybe they gave me that one because I’m so obviously an Anglo.

Go again? Are you kidding?, this is the find of the year. It’ll never make the Michelin or New York Times and Colette will love the fish, veggies and desserts.

A most pleasant, and not bankrupting, experience

7.0 Rech, 62, ave des Ternes in the 17th, 01.45.72.29.47, closed Saturday lunch and Sundays, only got 2 hearts from Rubin and no review/rating to date from the boys at ANP, but I knew that Simon hated and Galesne loved it. A bunch of Franco-Americans I trust ate there and gave me a mixed report, but their leader said: ‘you’ll go, you’ve got to.” I made a couple of stabs at finding someone to go with me, Colette after hearing the wine prices, forbad me to spend the family fortune on it and my friend, the real 18th Arr. blogger/writer, declined to go to “yet one more Ducasse” resuscitation. But I figured out the perfect guest, my downstairs neighbor who’ll eat anything I suggest, drinks about a thimbleful of wine, and is critical, pleasant and occupies the airspace while I take notes. We entered to a not much different looking place than, undoubtedly, it has always been. The downstairs room is smaller with a low ceiling but is no smoking, whereas upstairs it’s double the size, has big sunny windows and a great view overlooking the Avenue des Ternes. A la carte is easily 60-90 € without beverages but the menu is 34 and despite the ominous warnings, I found Waldo (the wine with a reasonable price) hidden amidst 60-100 € ones. The menu has only two starters and two mains but includes the famous Rech/Marie Cantin camembert or their regular 8 desserts, all of which are huge and run 12 € a la carte. The amuse bouche was a typical Ducasse type Ball jar filled with fish cheeks and eggs – a good start. Then I had the tuna mi-cuit-cru that F. Simon found too cold, mine was perfect; my friend had the lobster soup with tiny grey shrimp in the bottom that was divine. I followed with chipirons in Balsamic vinegar topped with a generous slice of sautéed foie gras, quite the pairing; my partner had the daurade with ratatouille, the dorade having crisp, almost toasty skin, the ratatouille, for this early in the season, full of flavor. Then we finished by sharing the famous Rech XL café éclair which we could finish only ½ of and the most amazing cake-like pain perdu with caramel and ice cream, which we did finish. With two coffees our bill was 98 €. Not nearly as bad as I feared or as the critics had advertised!

Should one go? Before the other Ducasse places, for sure.

Alright, indeed, much more than that.

6.5 Le Bistrot de l'Alycastre, 2, rue Clément in the 6th, 01.43.25.77.66, is open everyday, with only one chef, the self-taught Jean-Marc Lemmery, exCap Vernet at the piano, who had revived this space with his own hands – it was formerly called Le Bistrot d'Alex and also has one commis and two ladies in the front room and terrace. This is another place you’ve passed a thousand times walking near the Marche St Germain and never noticed. But it got a very nice writeup the day I went in Les Echos and for a place open only 2 ½ weeks really has its act together. M Lemmery has an eclectic and broad historical taste: the lighting fixtures are ancient, the chairs 1950’s and the walls brand new edgy purple. The ardoise, as advertised, is full of the market’s plenty. I chose the giant gambas (great, toasty flavor) with a tasty minced shallot sauce and teeny slices of veggies that I originally assumed were spagettini, but I could equally have opted for the sauteed foie gras. Then I chose not the fish, (of which there were many choices) but the wonderful scallops a la plancha with chopped mushrooms in rice (thank goodness not the weak attempt at risotto usually tried here and in the US). Since I was on a roll, I went with the 1/2 a St Felicien which was fully ripe and delicious but surprisingly cold. Wines start at 3.90 the glass and 18 € the bottle. The bill for pricey gambas, pricey scallops, ½ a St Felicien and two glasses of wine = 49.50 €. Something wrong: oh the music was horrible but was mercifully low and once the room filled, inaudible.

Should one go? I will and drag Colette and the gang too.

A successful makeover of an old fave.

6.0 Les Jumeaux, 73, rue Amelot in the 11th, 01.43.14.27.00, closed Saturday lunch, Sundays and Mondays. This place, which opened a decade ago, previously run by the twins Vandevelde, who had a good menu, which unfortunately they changed but rarely, was taken over recently by a young Franco-Polish couple who have twin boys and has received little press – too bad! Because, as opposed to the disastrous changeover up the street where the charming C’Amelot became the awful Petit Monsieur, here the food is a step up. They have a 34 € 3-course menu with 15 cl of wine and they’ll take 4 € per person off the menu price if you order a bottle. I started with a great dish - sautéed foie gras atop an artichoke heart accompanied by a sorbet of rocket (sweet but not cloyingly so,) moved on to a lamb’s knuckle (a sort of osso bucco without sauce) that was perfectly cooked, accompanied by purees of petit pois and potatoes (I’m not a fan of smashed potatoes but these were very good). Then I topped it off with a favorite old standard of mine - a crisply crusted mi-cuit of chocolate with Chantilly sauce that was within the window of neither too runny nor too firm. The bread was terrific and the coffee (a Richard) astonishingly ristretto/serré (and I know the standard here, I just got back from Italy). The bill 44 €.

Should one go? You bet!

A breath of fresh air

6.0 Urbane, 12, rue Arthur Groussier in the 10th, 01.42.40.74.75, closed Sunday dinner and Mondays; caution - Sunday noon is brunch. From Belleville one walks through a souk (en route, I bought three tank tops, two sweaters and one frock for pennies for the poor ladies at home) and arrives at this very unprepossessing place - looks very modern, very hip, chic, Bobo, all white walls and photos and lights dangling. Terribly brief menu; one starter, two mains and a dessert – already well-described by daemon. I had the “salad,” in truth, and honestly described by our charming Irish waitress as separate not mixed up – good product, simply presented, innovatively garnished with a clump of mascarpone sauce – was it Bocuse who said you can judge a place by its sliced tomato? Marvelous, as was the St Pierre, perfectly cooked with a very piquant sauce and Noirmoutier potatoes (folks think I’m nuts for raving about them, but spend a little time on the Ile de Yeu and you’ll understand the difference.) But, but, the dessert – clenching my teeth, I, me, ordered a brownie – I mean I’ve made them since I was five, a brownie made by a French-person – divine; and the chocolate biscuit was worth stealing it was so good. Am I gushing too much; sure! What’s wrong with the picture? (1) It’s (forgive me, women/ladies/female gender folk,) what we in our building call “Girl Food,” much like that at Rouge Tomate + Le Jardinier, (2) It’s to hell and gone, and (3) it’s underpriced and underwined. The bread consisted of three different types, old-time white, wheaty and oat-covered, all delicious. The coffee was from tradizione.italiana.com and was, as ordered, serré with the best crema of the year and the choco biscuit with it worthy of Pierre Hermé. One slight problem; they haven’t solved the issue of controlling one non-stop cigarette smoker coughing from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, poor lady, from polluting the whole room – like Lucullus, Fish, Cerisaie + Spring, places too small for nicomaniacs, they should ban smoking or get a good all-meal ventilation system. My bill was 40.50 but one could easily get out for 24 €.

P.S. Their wine by the bottle is overpriced, by the half-liter OK (8 €) and by the glass – a bargain at 2.90 € – go figure!

Should one go? If you want manageable portions, a manageable menu and a manageable addition – Yes!

A blast from the past with good food, but you want me to go where?

NN* 5.23 Pouilly Reuilly, 68, rue Andre Joineau in Pres Saint Gervais, 01.48.45.14.59, closed Saturday lunch and Sundays. You come to this old favorite of Francois Mitterand’s via a gritty working class neighborhood and enter another era. You could have stumbled into a bistro in the country in 1953, in Pouilly or Reuilly for example; the décor and menu are genuinely old style although the prices and clientele are elevated. They do have a menu (containing museau salad, lentils and terrines for 1sts, boudin noir, rumsteak and veal for 2nds and baba, floating island and apple tart for desserts) of 2 dishes for 28 € and wines from 19 € but the fish specials are in the 30’s and most wine double that. I started with a gratin of wonderfully fresh and perfectly cooked ecrevisses with lobster sauce, followed by perfectly blue rumpsteak with a green pepper sauce and a great zucchini accompaniment, topped off with the baba that I called “Woooo.” The roll was home-made, the coffee in glasses, the dessert “menu” consisted of small business card sized tickets on an artistic metal fan and they had Chateldon. They are clearly popular since they turned away about 10 people who hadn’t reserved. In its favor, it served excellent product, the waitress was very warm with clients and it’s a great setting. Against it, is the psychological barrier of the perpherique which one can walk to in a few seconds and the fact that you can find a place like this nearer your lodging (say Le Voltigeur + Bouclard), the agonizingly slow delivery of dishes (they really do serve slow food) and the fact that when her face was in repose, the Charles Adams type waitress looked like the weight of the world was on her shoulders (or perhaps it was just the presence of her adolescent daughter during Easter vacation.) My bill = 66 €.

Should one go? Yes if you’re staying at the Campanile, Libertel or Mercure rearby

Around forever, not bad, but for the schlep…..

5.0 Chez Geraud, 31, Rue Vital in the 16th, closed 01 45 20 33 00, closed weekends, represented a strange experience. I went to this very old (they advertise themselves as having won the Best Pot of 1973), very tried, very true (Rosa Jackson listed it as one of her favorite bistrots) and very well-known restaurant (it’s always been there, buried in the guides) and was Pudlo’s Bistro of the Year in both his big and small editions. Despite the fact that Pudlo’s one last year was a disgrace, since he’s in my pantheon of culinary gods, I had to go. Look, it’s easy to criticize someone who has picked out just one bistro a year as the best for 15 years – but in retrospect, for me, this would not have been it. It’s the kind of place where a deaf 80 year old CEO/PDG loudly calls his 50 year old companion “jeune homme.” One approaches in the midst of old Passy, buildings all signed by the architects, cloisters all closed and arrives. One looks at the menu outside, weathered and minimalist – hummm, reminds one of Benoit, stunning prices for few choices. Enter. Nice, but formal welcome, chairs and banquettes in red, homage to the 40’s but firmly reupholstered, installs oneself. Menu appears – oh oh, same stunning prices and few choices (one could easily arrive at 100 € without thinking). “Menu” at 30 € it says. Ask. Amazingly, lots of choices – several 1sts and maybe three mains – pick the leeks with foie gras and veal liver. Leeks are stacked like logs with a vinaigrette – divine, the foie gras is exceptional and even the salad is good. Wow! Bread good, oh yes, the pre was a cup of brown stuff that looked like rillettes but tasted like the best of Mama Grossinger’s chopped liver. Second course arrives, ordered "almost blue," not so, it was overcooked by my standards, and was without pizzaz or salt – sure it had a tart vinegar sauce and crisp surface and was accompanied by an over-salted galette – solution, combine the two. OK for ½ of it, then surrender. Dessert, yes for 30 € one gets dessert. Easy choice, the first of the Gariguette strawberries are in - so had those – pas mal! Very very good coffee and out. Bill not as bad as feared – Menu 30, ½ bottle wine 15, coffee 3, exit for under the magic number. But looking back; can a place like this, serving four antique customers, survive, even with 16th prices, which the suits, loudly discussing how they’d vote for Sarko with their noses pinched, were paying? I dunno.

Should you go? ah, if you’re staying in Passy, and by definition that means you don’t care how much the yacht costs, J.P., sure.

Great in good weather, questionable without.

3.0 (food) -5.0 (in splendid weather) Le Saut du Loup, 107, rue de Rivoli in the 1st (in the Musée des Arts Déco), 01.42.25.49.55, open everyday from noon to midnight (the bar til 2 AM) with a tea salon from 3-7 PM, was described by Elvira Masson of Le Fooding as {my trans} “serving light fare such as celery soup, caesar salad, hamburger with (not great nor home made) fries in a cone and lots of desserts for 20 € for light lunch, 45 € for the works.” Beautiful summary! I went on a beautiful Saturday when the temperature far exceeded its predicted level of 27-28° C. The setting: incredible, you sit on the verge of the Tuileries, in not very comfortable but tres chic chairs. The menu in the American sense is simple, salads (one with grilled shrimp), club sandwiches (looked pretty good), pennes (nobody near me had one), beef (four kinds), scallops and seven desserts plus ice creams and sorbets plus wine (6+ a glass, 24+ [up to an Yquem at 580]). Me? I had no starters, a no-brainer, there weren’t any, the tartare, about as good as they come at first blush, but like old wine, less impressive as one finished, with a nice salad and not great (as E. Masson said) pallid, uncrisp fries (why can no one in America or France do good fries?, I know, they don’t have my mother’s fryer filled with transfat oil), and then a caramel ice cream and caramel sauce and praline nutty things dessert – WOW! A Nous Paris always lists a regret – here, there are two – (1) not enough umbrellas, only 12 for a million tables, so the couple who arrived just after me (at 1 PM) had to sit in the blazing sun, as did all arrivals afterwards and (2) this is a funny one, the annoyance of the waitstaff bustling about on the pebbles which broke the fantasy that one was eating in the forest with a stunning view of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower (I won’t complain about the whiskey/tobacco-voiced bleached blonde Maitresse d’ with the horrible tattoo who had clearly had a hard life to present, nor the coffee that was as pricey as at Gagnaire’s but better.) The damages = 42 €.

Should one go? On a great day, you bet; otherwise skip it.

A throwaway resto?

1.0 Cheri bibi, 15, rue Andre del Sarto in the 18th, 01.42.54.88.96, open every night except Sundays. Explanation of its name: Cheri Bibi (according to the addition, is “Le Cheri de mon bebe, c’est bibi.” Ok. Clear’s that up, non? Disclosures/disclaimers: I have no financial interest in this place, was not paid to eat there and got no comps/but I have fallen out of love with the La Famille family that has directly or indirectly spawned, to great critical acclaim, Le Refectoire, Le Transversal + Le Chateaubriand and now this place, lost in an area of the 18th no one (except a nut like me) would seek. So why did I go? Humm, I’m asking myself. Well, (1) it’s located on the street named after one of my favorite painters, immortalized by Robert Browning, (2) it’s local, and I have a silly tradition of eating dinner out only on nights I’m leaving town for several days and (3) well, I gotta admit it, Phyllis//Felice wanted to go and I trust her. But, as it happened, I went solo, which may be better, because she’ll go and love it and that’ll create sparks on eGullet. OK. So I take the cute little Montmartre-bus to the top of the hill, rather than schlep, and realize this is one beautiful view – sun-drenched Paris laid out below me – wooow - walk down some stairs and find the place packed with 20 year olds drinking beer and smoking, smoking a lot, a lot, and I raise the average age 7 years. It’s edgy, it’s hip, it’s happening, no doubt. But the food, John, the food? Getting there friends. Sit down and sink into a chair that’s lost all support, ask for another, no better, OK, their conceit. View chalkboard – lotsa good stuff – a lot of which is called my mother’s or my grandmother’s x, y, z. How can I go wrong? Order vichyssoise, (recall, it was in the 80’s in Paris in April), expect cool, thin, chives-enhanced delight. Nope. Lukewarm lumpy Gulag potato soup. Bizarre. Guys - I’m not Solzhenitsyn. Oh, yah speaking of guys, they were all there from the old La Famille days: the painfully thin but exquisitely beautiful lady, the Inaki Aizpitarte look-alike wait-staff and the famous fattest guy in Paris – all seated on the divan and sagging chairs by the window. Second plate: a spicy beef stew with salad: the beef, once one got through the gristle and fat, was fabulous, the sauce incredible but the salad was too bio for me, try washing it guys. Do I have anything else to complain about? Yes, they got my wine order wrong, but that’s excusable since the decibel level exceeded that in back of the Concord. The bill? I too ashamed to tell you. Let’s just say that 2 courses are 19 and three are 24 €, and wine runs from 4 a bottle and 18 € a bottle. But cheap does not mean good price/quality and I have my limits. This is where I leave the Famille, forever, I think.

Should one go? Once again, forgot to read the text eh?

Unfortunately, just not in the running

Ø- Le PartaӘe, 17, rue Frédéric-Sauton in the 5th, 01 43 29 46 25, closed Mondays and Saturday noon has been open about a year and got two hearts in Figaroscope in October, a couple of other mentions and then dropped off the radar screen. I now know why. Despite it’s being chef’d by an exPershing Hall guy and having one of the most engaging, charming hostesses in creation, it just doesn’t have any moxie. OK, why did it take me a year to eat there? Because there were places higher up on the list that had to be attended to. Why did I finally eat there? Because it finally crept up on the list as a Sunday lunch place. OK. One, or at least I, approached it from St Michel, weaving through the schwarma/Greek/dreck shops. From the outside it is stunning: small, upholstered couches and chairs, lovely. The menu – ie the carte – says its name is Le PartaӘe, like Le Tяuc + Le Transvзrsal, the reversed letter shows it’s a happening place, right?, after all, the water glasses are tilted and if you needed convincing, the place’s subtitle is “imaginaire et poetique.” The menu – ah, first problem – not much I want/need (things like fish with curry, turnip soup, etc) and no “menu,” ie prix fixe. Only things that look good are the most expensive items, OK, suck it up, these days happen. Second problem, loud Spanish torch songs, but I find myself tapping my fingers and forget to request dampening (I’m the only customer, so no competition in determining the level of noise). Suddenly arrives an amuse bouche, good sign, firm mousse of salmon, runny mousse of watercress with leaves of watercress, looks great, tastes OK, but it’s a bit weak, limpid, pallid. Then I order. 1st – a wonderful looking small mound of avocado with fried heads of ecrevisses stuck in, surrounded by their spectacular bodies and pink grapefruit slices. Maitresse says eat the heads, I do, they are perhaps the best element of any dish I’ve had in 2007. The rest – beautiful but tasteless product – damn I forgot my Tabasco sauce! And now I wanna leave but how? A telltale sign of disaster – when you eat the bread to make up for what you’re not getting elsewhere. Main course arrives – scallops, minced cukes and fennel leaves in a transparent green sauce – you’ve got it, beautiful product that’s absolutely tasteless. How can this be happening to me? What did I do wrong Bacchus, Dionysus, Penates? I’ve led a clean life, enjoyed pleasures, suffered pain, but this, it’s not fair – especially on a beautiful sunny 90° afternoon in Paris. I had no dessert or coffee but the mignardises weren’t totally inedible, the marshmallow was but not the hot banana slice. Final hitch, the credit card machine wouldn’t work and I’d left my checks at home and had only 30 € in cash (PS she got it to work). The bill 54 €. My prediction, this poor guy and his (I assume) great Spanish wife will go back to cooking in someone’s empire (Ducasse, Robuchon, Costes, Flo, etc) in 18 months after this place tanks and after some seasoning (7 years is my guess) come back up to the majors.

Should one go? Sure, if you don’t care about money and plan on talking with your dear friends so much that you’ll not notice the food.

Amazingly bad, she said, amazingly bad

-Ø - Le Bistro des Faubourgs, 55, rue des Vinaigriers in the 10th, 01 42 05 19 05, open Monday-Friday for lunch and Thursday and Friday for dinner, lunch menu 14 and a la carte around 30 €. Phillipe Toinard of A Nous Paris gave it 3/5 blocks and called it ”girly food” and Richard Hesse said “you could make this food at home” – so, why did I go and drag my dear friend along, asked she? Because, I’ve been in such thrall of what an outsider, and an Anglo at that, Daniel Rose, of Spring, has done with French ingredients and Carolyn Buckley, its Irish chef, was reported to have a limited menu because she only served what was seasonal, fresh and current in the market. Probably – but that’s not enough. Good things first; it’s in a reachable neighborhood, has a unique piece of “sculpture” with fresh produce on the wall and serves drinkable wine by the pot at a reasonable price (7 € for 50 cl). My friend had the terrine that was served in a Aux Lyonnaisian Ball jar and it was unfinishable; dry, crumbly, pretty bad. I had the spring salad that was nicely dressed although the tomato was hot house and firm. Then we both had the chicken with (supposedly) lemon/olive flavor; her leg was stale and barely edible, my breast was a bit more tasty; we left the accompanying mashed potatoes after one bite each. For dessert she had a crumble and I the moelleux of chocolate that we each finished ¼ of; does that answer any questions you might have had? The bill = 50.60 €.

Should one go? If you find yourself in a post-Apocalyptic situation as in Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” yes.

Scale (subject to fickleness and change):

10 - Giradet in the old days.

9 - Ducasse, Bocuse, Loiseau at their prime

8 - Bon Acceuil, Ze Kitchen Galerie, Cerisaie, Constant x3 now

7- Bistro Cote Mer at its flowering best

6 - Cinq Mars

5 - Terminus Nord

4 - 2 Pieces Cuisine

3 - Le Bouclard

2 - Sale + Pepe

1 - le Nord-Sud

0 - Auguste, The Place

Ø- Iode

HS* = outside classification, unfair to rate

N* = a place that if one lived nearby in the neighborhood (N) would be a great place to go but gets a lower grade due to the schlep (perhaps unfairly).

NN* = a place that if one lived nearby (N) in the neighborhood (N) would be a great place to go but gets a lower grade due to the horrible, immense, unpleasant schlep.

NNN* = If I lived nearby it would tilt to the bigger grade.

Edited by John Talbott (log)

John Talbott

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We have a family of Parisian friends who have treated us to dinner at Chez Géraud on rue Vital in the 16th each trip for several years. Géraud Rongier is such an affable, modest man who is proud of his wines, in particular those from the greater Burgundy area. My 1st visit I complimented him on his involvement with Beaujolais, telling him that it was our favorite summer red vin de table; when we left he had packaged up a Morgon, Fleurie, and a Brouilly of his bottling for us as a gift. Last night our host ordered a Savigny les Beaune and M. Rongier came by with an excellent glass of Volnay for me to try as well. Without doubt it helps that our host/friend is a long time hunting companion of Géraud, but that doesn't alter a bit the good quality of the plates coming out of the kitchen. This is a very traditional cuisine; foie gras, tete de veau, salade de gesiers, escargots, ris de veau, sole meuniere, poulet demi-deuil, scallops in season, lobster and steak...a veritable honor roll of bistro classics executed to a high standard. Our host usually orders the Paris Brest for dessert, feeling that the version here is a classic. I complimented Géraud on winning Pudlo's award as best bistro of 2007 and he asked if I thought that it was any better than previous years and agreed with me that he was unaware of any change, but humbly appreciated the recognition. If you go, notice the Steinlen ceramic on the back wall done especially for him. Don't expect Gagnaire, Barbot type dazzling platings but don't expect to leave hungry.

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Well, we've got a topic devoted to Fines Gueules but I'm putting my followup visit here since I posted my first meal here. I ate at Fines Gueules today with my charming co-host when we found the place we had intended to eat at's kitchen was non-functional.

We both had the hierloom tomatoes, not from Joel Thiebault, but a farmer in the south, and they were terrific and tasty. She had a mozzarella served with sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts first and I had the farm pintade as a second. We thought both were most tasty.

Finally, we shared a pot of chocolate with coconut bits that was also quite good.

Aside from a very pricey glass of wine, I thought this was again an excellent meal and for 94 E with wine, coffee but no bottled water, I'd go back on a Sunday lunch even if the intended place's kitchen is back functioning.

John Talbott

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