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Out of the 18th


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While I have by no means given even a good sampling of restaurants in our new neighborhood(Lamarck-Caulaincourt) I would like to mention a few re-visits in other arrondissements that we have made this trip. Last night our friends took us to our biannual farewell visit to their customary favorite in the 16th, Chez Géraud, which you remember Pudlo selected as his bistro of the year for 2007. While I almost never agree with Pud as to "bests", this being no exception, it is good and will be as long as Géraud hangs in there. It is game season and they do game well, so I started with a good terrine de biche with onion compote and then had a Panaché of Lievre, which features it prepared in a couple of different ways. The rable was grilled and presented with a portion of the traditional Lievre Royal served with an apple gratin...tender and rich in flavor. This place is noted for its' Paris-Brest and it was a very good rendition. Wines were a white Macon and a red Savigny Les Beaunes. Per routine, Géraud came around after the meal insistent that we try a sip of his 1974 Armagnac; I gratefully accepted. Don't come here expecting fireworks, just quality product served with pride in a homey setting decorated with madame's faience and a Steinlen ceramic on the back wall.

We also revisited Au Gourmand for the 1st time since their move from Vaugirard across the river in the 6th to rue Molière in the 1st. I was expecting good things after being alerted by John Talbott and Joan Grace, but WOW...how do they do that for €32? The place is still on the small side, but 15 seats larger than before, and nicely decorated with linens, etc. It was full of business suits for our Friday lunch, but the service was still friendly and welcoming, even though I was wearing my uniform from the '50s, chinos and a sweater. "The Wife" started with a delicious bisque with legumes cuit-cru and ecrevisses and I fared equally well with a creme leger of rattes, white onions, escargots, grenailles and pinons with a touch of basil.

Our mains were an outstanding presentation of noix St. Jacques over an unctious saffroned risotto; look how perfectly the scallops were prepared:


and a cote epaisse de cochon fermier roti served with veggies from Joel Thibault; not your ordinary pork chop:


Our bottle of €47 2004 Pessac-Leognan costs more than the 3 course menu.

Desserts were good, but not extraordinary; a pear/Fourme d'Ambert tart and a Mirabelle soufflé. After having fallen below our radar, this place is squarely back on our preferred list.

Another revisit that I suspect you tire of my touting is Carte Blanche on rue Lamartine in the 9th,but the rapport quality/price here is excellent, €35 for 3 courses. Our bouches were amused twice; 1st with a small piece of foie gras on a matching piece of toasted brioche then with a socks knocking off brandade of cabillaud with caviar d'aubergines. The lovely Ms. L. had an entrée of cream of white paimpol beans with chorizo and shrimp, while I began with a creative version of a petoncle and raspberry ravioli served in a broth with baby spinach shoots:


Her main was gambas and noix St. Jacques served over ratte potatoes and green beans split lengthwise enhanced with a citrus sauce:


Mine was Pata Negra roti (roasted species of Spanish pork loin) served over sautéd green beans and red peppers and a side dish of purée fumé:


Desserts were roasted figs and curry ice cream and a version of Belle Poire Hélène:


Other revisits this trip that are holding up as well as ever are Le Violon d'Ingres, Le Florimond, and Le P'tit Troquet, all in the 7th arrondissement. The cassoulet I had at La Fontaine de Mars was a disappointment; the beans were still hard, whereas the Constant version at Le Violon was outstanding.

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