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Mar 08 l’Idee, Bouchons, Quai-Quai, Le Cercle 17e

John Talbott

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Mar 08 l’Idee, Bouchons, Quai-Quai, Le Cercle du 17e, Chateau Poivre, Lao Lane Xang 2, Bistrot de Robert, Temps au Temps, Poulbot Gourmet, Le Relais des Buttes, Dix Sept, Floors, Alfred, l’Escapade Mere Grand

Nice, very nice, and good too

7.5 l’Idee, 52, ave de la Porte de Villiers in Levallois-Perret,, closed Sunday lunch and Mondays, has a three course lunch menu at 30 and two for 24 € (including a glass of wine or water and an Illy coffee), altho’ a la carte at night can climb to 145 € if you want caviar. The idea of the chalkboard is to only offer things that are straight from the market and I went with a guy who’s an expert in this; plus we realized a few more meters up the street (Villiers) is a market that’s open incredibly long hours and has bio and kosher produce. In any case, we were happy to be outside the city limits with food like this. I started with a wonderfully full and tasty and spicy terrine de campagne with confited onions and he had a very fresh-produce tasting caviar d’aubergines. Then, he had the cocotte of fish with sliced carrots and celery (I think) whose broth was heavenly and I had a great piece of toasty crusted rascasse atop equally nice spinach (the third choice today was Thai beef, which looked good on a neighbor’s plate.) We ended up eating two little Philly cheesecakes that were really good. With two pots of acceptable Bordeaux, the bill was 76 €. Oh and among the bathrooms downstairs were two doors marked Spa and Sauna – so the old Mauvais Garcons boys have a sense of humor.

Go? A friend of mine (the RFC) acted like I was going to the moon when I said I was going 90 meters outside Paris to it, but you’re not afraid or that snobby are you?

How about this for great but reasonably-priced food?

7.0 Les Bouchons ex-Francois Clerc, now Le Restaurant de Philippe et Jean Pierre, 7, rue du Boccador in the 8th,, closed Saturday lunch and Sundays, serves an outstanding, while forced-choice 3 course menu for 28 Euros, which with 1 glass of wine, bottled water and coffee = 33 Euros. I’d read about its passing hands from Francois to Jean Pierre and Philippe, we’re all on first names here, who also run the P’tit Bouchon, a take-out and sit-down place nearby (the Rue de la Tremoille to be specific) two weeks ago and didn’t realize that while Figaroscope treated it as a “new” place, the team has been in place for 5 years. My Anglo-American friend wanted to eat “downtown” and after some negotiation, we settled on Les Bouchons – well, settled is hardly the proper wording; it should be “luckily fell into.” I got there a tad early and was quizzed (quite nicely) about my reservation (indeed, the place was packed half-way through lunch). A la carte was 48.50 Euros for three courses plus 19 Euros for the cheapest wine, for instance, resulting in damages exceeding our planned budget so we opted for the menu, thinking that we might really go astray and would be stuck with 6 losers. But immediately we sensed things would work out OK - our olives and glasses of wine were good and the warm bread super. We each had a half-dozen superb-product Breton oysters that were crisp and tasty, then perfectly cooked cod with a puree (they said was) made with some fennel and finished with a light chocolate millefeuille stuffed with cream and accompanied by vanilla ice cream and latticed caramel. With a bottle of very drinkable Fitou, coffee and unbottled water, our bill was 85 €.

Go? You bet, the only regrets were a soggy hand-towel in the bathroom, a miscalculated bill and a Visa machine that refused my no-exchange-fee card.

A wonderful, fresh, new place in a dazzling setting.

6.5 Quai-Quai, 74, quai des Orfevres in the 1st,, closed Sundays and Mondays, managed by the Cinq Mars, Lei, Cailloux, l’Altro gang, has gotten rather good press. I say I’m not influenced by the décor, only the food, but the raw wood (butcher-block-type) tables and walls lined with old largely stripped doors is quite cool. Two of us went on a rather drizzly day but it was warm inside and the food was great. She started with oeufs mayo that I would never have ordered – they were superb; while I had a salad (on the 17 € menu) with microtomed strips of seasonal veggies that I thought was splendid too. Then she had two perfectly cooked rare lamb (not mutton) chops with curried beans and I the cod with a light lemony taste a top and fresh spinach with which the lemony sauce also was perfect. Neither of us wanted to try the apple bum-style, but she had broche perdu with a honey sauce she thought was too heavy but I liked very much. Our true bill should have been 83 € but they overcharged us and I didn’t pick it up til I got home.

Go? Yes, but double check your bill – I intend to get a free glass of wine next time.

This place is serious and affordable; a pleasant surprise.

5.5 Le Cercle du 17e, 5, rue Labie in the 17th,, closed weekends, was mentioned to me by the RFC, after much prodding for him to come up with someplace for my last open slot this week. Wow am I grateful to him. I entered and despite the host’s greeting me in English, I didn’t take offense as I usually do, he was so nice about it. Madame was equally warm in French and immediately brought (as she did to all tables) a cool bottle of Chat. Delanoye. The chalkboard is limited but really affordable, 3 courses for 23 € and I quickly settled on a spinach, cheese and ham quiche that was quite, quite good with a small balsamic dressed salad alongside. Then I had the grilled squid with two spicy sauces coming from opposite sides of the plate - green (parsley) and red (sesame), sitting atop a ratatouille and smashed potatoes – also very good. Finally I had a financiere with orange and orange peel inside that was a good conclusion. The Illy coffee was ristretto, the wine a drinkable Rhone from a classic barrel and the bill = 36 €. The crowd were all locals despite its proximity to the Palais des Congres and several of the tables seating 32 folk turned over. BTW the mousse of beets, rocket, and sliced carrots etc looked great too.

Go? Indeed, there was not one misstep, this is more than a routine bistro of the quartier.

The un-Passard approach to vegetables.

5.4 Chateau Poivre, 145, rue du Chateau in the 14th,, closed Sunday, has really crept under the radar screen, except for Philippe Toinarde’s blog and a friend of mine who lives across the square, whose wife told my wife about it in the gym where they are “partners.” Backstory: I knew I’d probably eat (true) and drink (untrue) some at the Salon d’Agriculture, this morning because one of our members (Ptipois) was dishing up some mighty fine cheese delights at the Auvergne booth, so I made a rez at a place that if it failed to measure up, would not be a total loss for the day. Much has been made about the hot food areas in town these days (Rue Paul Bert, the Marche des Batignolles, the 15th, etc.) but in this forgotten part of town things keep moving (first, M. Lapin, then Guelfeli, then (I think) the Gallo Nero, now this place.) Just as 7Up was advertised as the UnCola, the Chateau Poivre should claim it’s the un-Passard. I’ll tell you why in a minute. I entered after a brief walk from the Metro and realized I was staring at a familial face; we established we knew each other from Le Troquet, where ironically, Pierre 45, Colette and I had an over-salted meal at our last visit (but more on that in a second). I was seated (I was alone in the place, with only another party of five – hummm.) The choices are ample: on a 19 € lunch menu 3 firsts, 4 mains and 3 desserts; on the all day 26 € menu, 9 firsts, 14 mains and 7 desserts; and the firsts were mostly hot not just the usual cold terrines, etc. They provided all with a light broth of winter veggies which you could taste every bit of because it wasn’t drowned in salt. I then had a fricassee of calamari advertised as made with basil but if I hadn’t known that I would have guessed jalapeno, parsley and light vinegar – very spicy and good. At that point I should have recalled that the chef “Papa” Alioune Gako, was Senegalese/VietNamese because this was greatly influenced stuff. My main was rabbit bits wrapped first in green cabbage, then in pastry with a huge half cabbage in the middle of the pot. Again one could taste everything because it was neither salted nor oversalted. I ended with a fine tarteline of apples with a caramel and cream. With coffee, wine but no bottled water = 41.40 €.

Go? For sure, despite the schlep and 2 € error in addition (in the house’s favor of course), the genuine vegetable-tasting veggies alone are worth the price of admission.

A lot of fun

5.0HS Lao Lane Xang 2, 102 Ave d’Ivry in the 13th, 01 58 89 00 00, closed Wednesdays, is a new place across the street from its mothership where the three folks I ate with have eaten at and loved for quite some time. It hit the radar screens of both Le Fooding + Figaroscope this week big time, and despite my prejudice against doing ethnic food in France, it sounded too good to be true. But the reports were not exaggerated. We had 8 dishes, each more delicious than the next: spicy dried beef, pork nems, Laotian rice salad, Laotian chopped beef, Laotian pork sausage, Laotian steak, Thai coco duck, Gai lam with salted fish and then a coco flan and coco gelatin before their café au lait (terrific too). It was a wonderful meal and if you’re looking for a break from French cooking, especially on a weekend, think of this place. Certainly the price was right, with wine, other drinks, sticky rice and all that = 60.30 € a couple.

Go? Reserve now!

The RFC said it was a boring month…..

4.9 Le Bistrot de Robert, 81, ave Bosquet in the 7th,, closed Sundays and Mondays but open Tuesdays (as opposed to what Figaroscope said/says). The RFC said it was a boring month, and it’s true, I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel, but while Rubin gave it only two hearts, that was what he gave l’Idee too, where we had a great meal yesterday - so, one hopes. The place is the old Italian place Carmine and still bears its name on their credit card receipts, and Zagat lists it in the 07/08 edition, so…..how new can it be? In any case, it’s new-looking, the awning says wine bar/restaurant exactly as the one across the street says, and it’s huge and welcoming – to the extent that everyone yells/greats you like sushi chefs in an Aspen resto – BONJOUR! They have a great deal; 3 courses are 24 €, 2 courses = 19 - plus there are plates of charcuterie and 2 specials (today they were a daurade royale and a filet of duck). I went for the three course “menu.” First, I had the terrine of Robert himself, a la Camdeborde at Le Regalade, which was not half bad, with standard cornichons and pickled onions but over-the-top caramelized confited onions with a taste of - could it have been figs? – terrific and with Camdeborde-type bread. Next I had the rognons of veal with a so-so wine sauce and awful horrible mac-n-cheese, when will the French chefs give up the notion they can “do” Italian? To top it off, I had a petit pot de chocolat with orange zests (it was actually almost a moelleux) and a side ramekin of baby orange slices in real orange juice. Delicious! This brought the meal back up into the “return” range. The wines, right - the selection is formidable, one chooses from a double-sided rack and pays from 6 € up plus 7 € corkage, carefully explained in French and English on a card on each table (it’s two blocks from the American University – OK?). The bill, oh yah, 39.50 € with coffee but no bottled water, not bad, eh?

Go? Hummmmhh.....but it was better than expected.

You were right in 1939 Thomas Wolfe.

3.5 Le Temps au Temps, coordinates in the guidebooks. As was reported in Figaroscope last week and in this forum a few days ago, the young couple who used to run Le Temps au Temps, has sold it to another young guy from the Sofitel le Faubourg and I went today with the RFC. First a confession. The Rue Paul Bert, featured in the same Figaroscope article, has temptations, like the book-etc-boutique La Cocotte that has fascinating aprons, books et cetera, so of course that merited a detour. Then enticingly across and up the street a bit is the Ecailler du Bistrot where R.W. (Johnnie) Apple’s spirit was calling me – “John, a few oysters and a coup de vin at the zinc, perhaps?” “Mais, oui,” how could I resist. So I had six #2 Utah Beach’s with some Muscadet – what a way to start! Then, I encountered my buddy and we entered Le Temps au Temps, which looked pretty much as it had before the change in equipe, except that the clock was no longer on the left wall entering and most of the customers spoke anglais, even as a second or common language and one was a familiar eG face. The new Madame is just as welcoming and warm as her predecessor bantering with my friend throughout the meal and the menu and prices (as advertised) do indeed look much the same. I wish I could say the meal was as good as I remember those under l’ancien regime though. He and I split what looked like the best stuff on the 30 € menu (but - by the way, the American couple to our right had the 3-course set menu of grilled sardines with greens, rascasse with seaweed (I think) and a dessert of agrumes, that looked pretty good). In any case, he started with what was called raviolis of veggies and tartare of veal, which was essentially one ravioli on the bottom, and one atop a pile of minced veal and vegetables, not bad but after he noted that my “cappuccino” of escargots merited a bit more salt, which he was spot-on about, I saw him add some to his pile too. OK. Then he had the lamb shoulder with runny polenta; to me the lamb was over-the-hill mutton and the polenta not what a French chef should attempt. Me, I had a quite nice producty portion of paleron of beef a la mode de pot au feu, but again it lacked something – horseradish or mustard – the latter of which saved the day. Finally he had the St Nectaire, cold, as if straight from the Craig Claiborne frigo, not bad, but not the way it should/could have been presented; I, the iconographic riz au lait caramel au beurre sale, which even I, a committed rice pudding doubter, thought was nickel but he thought was over-cooked. Two 30 € menus + one supplement of 4 € + wine + coffee = 92 €. But of course, that hardly reflects all the dough we dropped on that street today.

Go? If nearby, not as a destination.

New stuff in the nabe?

4.5 Bistro Poulbot, 39, rue Lamarck in the 18th, 01 46 06 86 00, closed Sundays and Monday lunch, lunch menu is 17 € and dinner runs from 29-34 €. This is the old Poulbot Gourmet space, which you won’t recall, but I do, since we four musketeers treated our downstairs neighbor to a rather good meal here after a condo meeting several years ago. Its frosted glass with a caricature of the “poulbot” is still there, but this is a totally new place, since Véronique Melloul, called the best chef in Polynesia, took over recently (my waitress said two days, but that can’t be true). The chalkboards are a bit complicated – there’s a menu derived from Mamie Louise with classic dishes (5-9 € for firsts, 18-22 € for mains and 7 € for the dessert) and a menu of market items with other stuff (29 for 2; 34 € for 3); wines are 4+ per glass and 15-28 € a bottle – but caution, the owner was negotiating with a wine middleman at the next table and these prices may be bumped up. As for food; I chose two classics; the pied de cochon bourguignone (standard for Paris, best for the 18th/Montmartre) and the pot au feu (where the beef was of a despicable quality, the l’os a moelle and horseradish OK but the broth and veggies were spectacular). The bill = 34.50 €.

Go? If in Montmartre, see if I was right; I’ll try to convince Colette to come next week to try the cod or scallops.

Au Relais des Buttes – “A boring week?”

2.7 Le Relais des Buttes, 86, rue Compans in the 19th,, closed Saturday lunch and Sundays. Another backstory here: I awoke this morning with a craving for beef and thought seriously about going to UNICO which I had scoped out several times, but then looked at my bank account and Pudlo’s estimate and Les Echos – et voila, a new chef and owner installed at a place I (and you) have passed many times negotiating around the Buttes Chaumont and Eric Frechon’s eponymous resto. It’s sort of near the top of the real butte and looks big. But when you enter, it’s as if you’re going into a country auberge – fancy drapery, Villeroy & Boch plates, lotsa room, playing (too loudly) best hits from the Magic Flute, with tasteless art on the wall – cats, pelicans and flowers. According to Jean Louis Galesne, the new owneresse, Eléonore Descordes, brought in an unnamed chef with experience at Villaret + le Soleil {both of which I’ve had mixed experience at/in.} OK. Madame is all alone in the salle and for all I know he is all alone in the cuisine, which for a place that serves 30 covers, is not enough. As you may surmise, I waited (as did others, including a French woman my age, who counted out the minutes to her more decrepit and deaf husband, between courses)

- to be ushered in

- to get a menu

- to order

- to get my food

- to get the check

- to leave.

OK. I took a look at the menu and was not impressed, lots of terrines and stuff and no wines by the glass or carafe. I ordered for a first an artichoke heart with spinach on top, then an egg, covered with hollandaise sauce touched with cheese – which, while not hot, was OK.

OK. Second, I had a confit of huge, Jimmy Carter sized, rabbit with huge long potatoes and rosemary; the rabbit was dry, the potatoes – so what.

OK. What to do now? Have cheese, sounds good. But, I saw the bizarrely dressed Mme Descordes go to what looked like a frigo and pull out cheese wrapped in foil and take it into the kitchen – oh oh. But it turned out not to be Craig Claiborne’s nightmare, but very fine camembert, Pont l’Eveque and Cantal with not totally bad bread.

However, after the long waits, I passed on the coffee and paid the check – a menu for 34 and half bottle of wine = 49 €.

Go? Sorry, but they are way over their heads. They need more help, better clothes and art and some more imaginative cooking. Oh, and as my friend said "It's been boring in Paris."

Tough but tasty is OK.

2.0 Dix Sept, 92, rue Legendre in the 17th,, closed Sundays and Mondays, with a confusing array of prices for lunch and dinner formulas and menus (from 12-35 E I think) and an even more confusing habit of having only one ardoise with lunch stuff outside (to be schlepped in and out every 10 minutes, opening and closing the door, allowing the outside February air in) but two maybe three dinner ones inside that tout le monde entering immediately gloms onto, getting their hopes up over 5 entrees, 7 plats and 5 desserts, only to realize they have 4 limited choices for firsts - a Caesar or Greek salad, rilettes or a packet of goat cheese with a savory sauce atop (quite OK), and really only 2 plats that sounded interesting - salmon and beef, which while cooked to my order, was both tough and tasteless. My poem goes thusly:

“Tough and tasty is fine.

Tender and tasty is best.

Tender and tasteless can be endured.

But tough and tasteless is a sin.” The wines went from 4 E a glass to 53 E a bottle. With two courses and two wines one can depart only having depensed only 23 Euros. (Disclosure: I was confronted with whether I was writing the place up and "fessed up," thus got comp'd for the coffee, maybe more than that.)

Go? Ah - But tough and tasteless is a sin.

A burger joint near Montmartre, can it be (good?)

1.8 Floors, 100 rue Myrha in the 18th, 01.42.6208.08, never closed, is a place that I’ve been passing on the #85 bus for weeks that suddenly went from a dumpy company building for Myrhamax to a startling 3-story modern cocktail-lounge-looking place. Figaroscope, two weeks ago, ranked it 4th of 17 places in town for a hamburger and since my first choice for a Sunday lunch was closed I went, figuring how bad could it be ? It really is a beautiful place with extremely loudly played American music and has tried to imitate American dishes like Jewish chicken soup, Annie Hall pastrami, bagels and lox and Boston clam chowder. But it’s hamburgers one comes for, made out of beef, chicken, fish and duck, with all sorts of sauces from aioli to satay or BBQ. I first, however, ordered guacamole with genuine chips but which needed a lot of Tobasco to reach the Café Atlantico’s level. The beef burger was good product, cooked to my specifications with the requisite tomato, lettuces and red onion atop and the coleslaw had a piquantly fermented taste, but the aioli sauce was not much of a much and the fried potatoes horrid as they are 99/100 in France. A bonus was watching the entirely French clientele wrestle with eating a hamburger and fries with a knife and fork, never once picking them up. My bill was 34.55 €.

Go ? No, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

There’s a back story here

1.0 Alfred, 38, ave de Versailles in the 16th,, closed Sundays and Mondays. Backstory – two Alfred's have opened in the recent past and this is the one that got one-heart from Rubin and listings in Pudlo not a “Best Bistrot” from Lebey. In any case, if that weren’t confusing enough, as one approaches the place, which is by the way, to hell and gone, from the Metro, the sign to the west and above it makes it appear that it’s a tapas place, but then one sees a voturier (whoa, wait a minute) and yet the ardoise says “Restaurant tickets accepted.” Is this place confused or am I? Enter. It’s like a thousand other 1950’s bisto looking places. Nice but Ahhhh, the décor, based on a tilted Eiffel Tower is a bit much. There are two waiters, the eponymous Alfred whose hair is in the style or non-style of Jean Sarkozy and who is super nice and his sidekick who looks like he performing painful community service for some bizarre offense. They had two kinds of very fine bread and ¼ liter (6 €) and ½ liter (12 €) carafes of wine. I started with a carpaccio of scallops with greens, both of very good quality products which were ruined by too heavy a hand on the citrus and red baie. Then I had calves liver, which came not only overcooked but undersized – now maybe it’s unfair to always compare this to the gold standard at the 1960’s Chez Les Anges, but there you have it. The pear puree that came with it, however, was nickel. But Waiter #2 had a pepper grinder under his arm and offered that for every course and mustard for the liver – which did not inspire confidence. Finally I had the dessert special a caramel/chocolate thing that was clever – a chocolate moelleux filled with caramel, topped with ice cream – and the caramel nice. The horrible Segafredo coffee didn’t help matters. And then the bill arrived = 55.50 €. After the way I’ve been eating and the prices, it’s easy to say:

Go? Unh, unh, worst price-quality place so far this year.

Oh did I want to love this place.

0.8 l’Escapade Mere Grand, 68 bis, Ave Jean Moulin in the 14th,, closed Saturday lunch and Sundays, got better than OK reviews from Rubin, Toinard and Lobrano last summer and it was a place described as homey and fun with good food. And indeed it is. I entered and was warmly greeted by a man my age, an age when one rarely works in a resto these days. The clients were all locals: 2 women friends, 2 lovers, 6 management folk and 7 of their cadre at separate tables, the chef’s wife and son and maybe his mistress who exited early on - and me. The chalkboard indicated the specials that day, and while I rather liked the prices (22 for 2 courses, 29 € for 3) and the mains (raie and beef tongue), the firsts (scrambled eggs with shrimp and hot goat cheese salad) and desserts (raspberry clafoutis and apple crumble) did not appeal. So off the carte it was with a small slice of super foie gras, barely cooked (good) and warm pear (excellent) atop a slice of grainy bread with a caramel sauce that couldn’t be scraped from where it lay on the plate. The fried rougets were OK but they and the ratatouille badly needed oomph, which a lot of salt sort of supplied (don’t tell my internist.) Digression: What were the big boys thinking?; this is ordinary food, hardly meriting 3 blocks; when I was 18 and didn’t know better I probably would have thought it OK, but now a bit later, unh unh. I had no dessert but did have a pousse-café with an extremely generous pour of Calva from the genial chef alongside a new coffee for me - Giovanni le Baristo. In addition the bathroom gets top marks for having towels in addition to the stupid blower. The bill = 43,60 €.

Go? Not even if I lived across the street where sits La Regalade.

Scale (subject to fickleness and change):

10 – The best you’ve ever eaten in, eg Giradet in the old days.

9 – The places you went/go to because they’re destinations, eg Pere Bise

8 – The places that did their best in their prime Robuchon, Ducasse, Loiseau

7 – The places today beating the competition Ze Kitchen Galerie, Spring, Constant x3

6 - The old reliables Repaire de Cartouche, Bistro du Dome, Clocher Periere

5 – Fun neighborhood places Le Winch, l’Oxilis, Café qui Parle

4 – Places to go on cook’s night out Terminus Nord

3 – Places if you’re really stuck 2 Pieces Cuisine, Le Truc

2 – A pick-up meal Sale + Pepe

1 – Really hitting bottom le Nord-Sud

0 – Never again Auguste, The Place, Helene Darroze

Ø- No kidding, you can’t drag me Iode

HS – Outside classification

John Talbott

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  • 4 weeks later...

An update:

Today we treated my long-ago French teacher, now turned diplomat, his English lawyer wife and their two kids to lunch at Lao Lane Xang 2 and it was again just great. We had slightly different things this time: nems, Thai chicken/shrimp, Thai coco duck, chicken with veggies, lacquered duck, seasonal veggies, shrimp with basil, - all great but then spectacular flans for dessert. The bill = 105E40 with lotsa wine, but no bottled water or coffee.

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Another update:

Les Bouchons de Francois Clerc: Jean-Pierre & Philippe

Yesterday Colette and I went back to a place a buddy and I ate at not too long ago and loved.

Change #1 No menu anymore at lunch (at least on Easter Monday). Therefore no 3 courses for 28 Euros, which with 1 glass of wine, bottled water and coffee = 33 Euros.

Change #2 Lotsa CRS outside awaiting Tibetan protesters.

Change #3 Chef sat at table in the salle the whole time chatting up his backers rather than cooking or even finishing off dishes in the kitchen.

So we had a somewhat different experience.

The olives, warm bread and wine were all good.

My starter of raviolis of langoustines and greens was great but lacked salt/oompf.

Her bar with roughly-cut ratatouille was - bar=bland, ratatouille=terrific.

My veal was properly cooked and its veggie side of olives, confited citron, baby artichokes, semi-dried tomatoes and sauce was over the top.

The chocolate, touted by our enthusiastic waiter, was in fact a typical moelleux, except over-cooked, so there was very little moelleux and much dried cake.

The bill = 101.90 Euros/2.

All in all, not a bad meal for me, but not good for Madame, she who brooks no lapses. On average - a 6.5 I'd say.

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L’Idee in Levallois (really just across the peripherique) – A revisit.

Three of us went back today, well, I went back with Colette and our exigent friend, who hadn’t been before, and despite slightly tough beef in the entrecote, we thought that they are holding up very well, indeed.

They (despite their super reviews) still offer a 2-course formula with wine or bottled water and coffee at 24 Euros – what a deal! We started off with two confited herring dishes with warmed sliced potatoes and onions – delicious! Then my guest from the Left Bank and I had the entrecote with béarnaise sauce and fried potatoes: they didn’t get either cut of beef, blue or bloody enough for me, although we traded plates, but the béarnaise and potatoes were outasight. Meanwhile Colette had the dorade royale with a tomato stuffing and a delicious side dish of fennel. The desserts included rice pudding (pretty good) and a well prepared moelleux of chocolate (as opposed to yesterday’s overcooked version at Les Bouchons).

The bill for three was 115.50 Euros. But we had to walk 100 meters from the Metro stop. Gosh!

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