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Reporting on 10 days of eating in Paris: Regalade


plafield
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I’ve just returned from 10 nights in Paris and want to share some of my food related experiences here after receiving so much from reading this board. I'll be posting over the next few days and am happy to answer any specific questions. My husband and I shared everything we ordered so it was double the pleasure! Prices are what we paid for 2.

Our first night we went to Le Hangar, a tiny little place hidden behind the Pompidou. Outdoor seating, no credit cards. No menu, but the carte is very reasonably priced. We had one entrée (baby green bean salad) 2 plats (beef “stroganoff” with fried potato puffs and sautéed foie gras on a bed of olive oil mashed potatoes) 1 dessert (chocolate gateau) ½ bottle of wine, and 2 coffees for 70E. An excellent meal. If you find yourself in this neighborhood, I would highly recommend Le Hangar.

The next day was Guy Savoy's 100E internet special lunch. Lots of hoopla (including a dessert cart after the real dessert with a few hundred gorgeous little things that they want you to try, as well as many kinds of excellent bread, and 3 kinds of butter) a couple of really spectacular dishes (“all peas,” a truffle brioche, and the strawberry dessert) and the rest was just very good food in a very cushy atmosphere with over the top service for a lot of money.

We found equally if not more creative and delicious dishes at numerous less expensive places. If you're looking for food that will totally excite your palate I don't recommend Guy Savoy. If you want LOTS of really good fancy food and spectacular service and can spend plenty of money, then this is the place. Our lunch, with 2 glasses of wine, water, and coffee: 268E.

Later that evening we went to Les Cocottes for a late dinner. Excellent for a light meal: White asparagus and wild mushrooms in a creamy broth with a poached egg on top. Dark ham over greens and hearts of palm with a vinaigrette. Crusty wheat baguette. Dessert was gaufre (waffle) fresh made, topped with fresh whipped cream and a salted butter caramel sauce. With one glass of wine, no water or coffee, 38E.

More to come...

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Thanks for the report and looking forward to reading more.

We are headed to Savoy in a few weeks for the 100 E menu. It will be our first time in a 3-star place and after reading your review, as well as julot's numerous comments on this board, I'm happy to be starting there. It seems like a relaxed and fun introduction to this level of dining.

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Thanks for the report and looking forward to reading more.

We are headed to Savoy in a few weeks for the 100 E menu. It will be our first time in a 3-star place and after reading your review, as well as julot's numerous comments on this board, I'm happy to be starting there. It seems like a relaxed and fun introduction to this level of dining.

Prashant: I will say that if this is your first time, you may feel a bit under the microscope. The rooms are quite small and a flank of staff stand against the wall scanning the floor at all times. They're looking to make sure that everyone has everything they can possibly need, but it can feel like they're watching your every move. We found it a bit nerve racking and we've been dining in high end establishments for many years now. You just need to remember that they're doing their jobs...and they really do do them quite well. Have a great time.

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Passiflore: Dinner. Very elegant, great service, very French. The menu was a good value for high end dining: 4 courses for 54E, all delicious and beautiful. Entrée: Royal de foie gras baignee d’un cappuccino de champions: Foie gras mousse swimming in a creamy mushroom sauce topped with sautéed button mushrooms.

Plat: Caneton croise mi sauvage roti aux cinq parfum: Roasted leg and thigh of wild duck in 5 spice sauce (caramelized) with a tiny poached pear and celery root puree.

Cheese: Fromage fermier d’ Auvern: 2 pieces

Dessert: Chocolate gateau with pistachio filling and a quenelle of dark chocolate ice cream.

One of us ordered off the carte and had foie gras ravioli (outrageously delicious) and cote de boeuf. The beef was the only real miss of the entire trip. It was tough and slightly over cooked. I suspect there was a bit of a language/culture issue when they asked how I wanted it cooked. I asked for rare and they brought it medium rare, I think maybe assuming that as an American I didn’t really want it bloody rare. Perhaps I should have sent it back but I didn’t. The flavor was good, but the consistency not great. 1 menu, 1 entrée and plat from the cart, 2 glasses of wine, water and 2 coffees: 179E

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Breizh Café: Dinner. Great meal of real buckwheat gallettes with quality ingredients in the fillings and crepes for dessert. 1 beer, 2 coffees, 42E.

Astier: A lovely little bistro in the 11th serving a simple homey menu. Great service, amazing cheese course. 4 course menu, 31E. We had pigs ear croquettes and foie gras terrine (4E supplement) for entrees and rabbit stew and perfectly cooked salmon with haricot vertes for plats. Then cheese: a “help yourself” tray of about 25 different kinds. Yum. Desserts were chocolate crème brulee (the sugar topping was a bit burnt) and raspberry/rhubarb en croute, good but so tart, a scoop of glace or whipped cream would have helped it out. With 2 glasses of wine and 2 coffees:78.50E. An excellent value.

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La Regalade

This was the best restaurant of the trip, rivaling and even besting in many ways, Guy Savoy and Spring. At the end of this meal we immediately reserved for another dinner later in the week. The setting is classic bistro with tables very close together, packed with people, and harried but very professional service when busy, but the food is definitely Michelin star quality and an amazing value. When we returned for our second meal, they welcomed us like family and also comped our coffees. The basic 3 course menu is 32 E.

Shortly after being seated you are brought excellent bread and a whole pan of pork and liver pate and a bucket of excellent cornichon and invited to help yourself. This pate is so good it’s hard to show restraint with the whole pan left on your table, but we held ourselves to a generous spread on one piece of bread each, knowing that a great meal would be coming.

For entrées we had: terrine of layered pork, foie gras, mixed vegetables served with a fig confit and a rich saffron fish stock, enriched with a bit of cream and Spanish spices, poured over chorizo with bits of white fish and something crispy that I couldn’t identify. Complex, spicy, rich, with varied textures. Delicious!

For plats: pan fried John Dory, with crispy skin served with fresh peas, white asparagus and Caramelized pork belly with mustard mashed potatoes. The pork belly has 2 distinct layers of meat, one moist, dark and rich, the other drier and lighter, and then there is a lovely layer of fat right under a crisp, caramelized skin. Eaten with the mustard mashed potatoes, it’s heaven. There are pork cracklings scattered all over the plate, adding crunch to every bite. Sinful! This is not a dish for cholesterol counters!

Dessert was rice pudding, served with a thick caramel sauce and a rich vanilla pot de crème with fresh raspberries. 2 glasses of wine, a bottle of water and 2 coffees: 92.50E. The deal of the century.

For our second meal, entrees were: boudin noir: blood sausage, served over a croquette of mashed potatoes surrounded with finely chopped apple, dark ham and a scattering of pork skin cracklings, topped with beautifully dressed baby greens. The other entrée was red tuna, just seared on the outside, served cold over a puree of deliciously seasoned eggplant, topped with lightly dressed baby greens.

For entrée we decided to splurge and for a 14E supplement, we ordered the foie gras for 2. WOW! This was an enormous portion of perfectly cooked foie, crisp on the outside, melting on the inside, served with mustard mashed potatoes, fresh peas and fava beans and a few mushroom all in a light, simple pan sauce. What a decadent meal and worth every bite.

Dessert was the rice pudding and caramel sauce again and a delicious quenelle of Guanjia chocolate mousse with a vanilla tea custard sauce and a chocolate tuille. Another totally outrageous meal. With wine, a bottle of water and they comped us our 2 coffees, 90.50E.

Still more to come!

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You're making me jealous, these sound like a wonderful meals. Though I must admit that the description of your dinner at Le Hangar that began the post did not sound impressive, esp. compared to what follows.


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I suspect there was a bit of a language/culture issue when they asked how I wanted it cooked. I asked for rare and they brought it medium rare, I think maybe assuming that as an American I didn’t really want it bloody rare.

I think, but am not sure, that in France when you want a rare steak, you're supposed to order it "bleu". I could be wrong, though, as it was not a French person who told me that.

Your meals sound wonderful. The dinner at La Regalade has be drooling--do they leave the pork and liver pate on your table during the entire meal? I could see myself eating it all at once, if I thought they might take it away eventually...

At Astier, was the cheese table "all you can eat"? Or did you only go up once to choose your cheeses, but never again? I can't imagine being able to eat much, anyway, but just the thought of all that delicious cheese...it's hard not to imagine myself being greedy!

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You're making me jealous, these sound like a wonderful meals.  Though I must admit that the description of your dinner at Le Hangar that began the post did not sound impressive, esp. compared to what follows.

Actually, the meal at Le Hangar was wonderful! Not on par with Regalade, but nothing really was. The entree we chose was composed of the freshest hericot vertes, cooked al dente in a delicious viniagrette topped with a perfectly poached egg, served with a generous shavings of top quality parmesan cheese. Light and perfect. The "beef stroganoff" was a mound of very tender bite size pieces of beef with an assortment of mushrooms all in a very rich sour cream based sauce surrounded by deep fried "tots" of mashed potatoes, crunchy on the outside, smooth as butter within. Excellent! And while the foie cannot be compared to what we were served at La Regalade, it was also less expensive and still an impressive slab, perfectly cooked and served over very creamy potatoes, mashed with very good quality olive oil, which lent a special flavor to the dish that was excellent. They also served a very nice before dinner snack of good baguette and a spread of mashed sardine, olives and a bit of mustard. Very tasty.

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I suspect there was a bit of a language/culture issue when they asked how I wanted it cooked. I asked for rare and they brought it medium rare, I think maybe assuming that as an American I didn’t really want it bloody rare.

I think, but am not sure, that in France when you want a rare steak, you're supposed to order it "bleu". I could be wrong, though, as it was not a French person who told me that.

Your meals sound wonderful. The dinner at La Regalade has be drooling--do they leave the pork and liver pate on your table during the entire meal? I could see myself eating it all at once, if I thought they might take it away eventually...

At Astier, was the cheese table "all you can eat"? Or did you only go up once to choose your cheeses, but never again? I can't imagine being able to eat much, anyway, but just the thought of all that delicious cheese...it's hard not to imagine myself being greedy!

The pate at La Ragalade is left on your table until you stop eating it or until your entree comes, whichever comes first. But not through the whole meal.

The cheese at Astier is a huge flat basket that they bring to your table and leave there for you to help yourself! You really can be as greeedy as you like, but it's very rich and you've already had 2 courses! But we managed to try 5 or 6 kinds of cheese and saw others sampling much more when the tray came to them.

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I have not been to the new regalade with its new owner ,but it seems it kept the same approach as the old one .Namely the generous serving of pate de campagne,the huge foie gras main . etc,etc.

I am glad to see that it has kept the excellent rapport qualite/prix that made the old regalade a must for most visitors.

So its time for a revisit.

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I have not been to the new regalade with its new owner ,but it seems it kept the same approach as the old one .Namely the generous serving of pate de campagne,the huge foie gras main . etc,etc.

I am glad to see that it has kept the excellent rapport qualite/prix that made the old regalade a must for most visitors.

So its time for a revisit.

I'd like to chime in that I've eaten Chez Doucet three times and done very well twice and not so well my last time, due to what the RFC and I see as the chefs trying to find a way past or post Camdeborde. The bread and terrine and value are certainly still there though.

Report back Pierre, you and I agree most of the time.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Bleu = very rare; saignant = rare; a point is medium-rare; and bien cuit is well done.

BTW - what sources did you use to pick your restaurants? You seem to have made some very good choices. Also - I am comparing what Michelin has to say about some of the restaurants versus what Zagat's says. I know few people here are fans of Zagat's - but it does mention things like the cheese tray at Astier whereas Michelin doesn't. A significant omission IMO. Robyn

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Bleu = very rare; saignant = rare; a point is medium-rare; and bien cuit is well done.

BTW - what sources did you use to pick your restaurants?  You seem to have made some very good choices.  Also - I am comparing what Michelin has to say about some of the restaurants versus what Zagat's says.  I know few people here are fans of Zagat's - but it does mention things like the cheese tray at Astier whereas Michelin doesn't.  A significant omission IMO.  Robyn

I definitely said saignant but apparently should have said bleu. When I said saignant the waiter responded by chuckling a bit and saying what sounded like "regulair!" and I thought he meant that's how "regular" people eat it so I said "oui." Then the beef came out medium rare, definitely too well done for me, but I then I wonderd if the "regulair" had something to do with that. Any ideas?

One evening at La Regalade we met a guy from Isreal who spends a lot of time in Paris and he swears by Zagat. As for how I chose, I did a lot of cross-referencing but relied heavily on this board as a starting point. Whenever I read about a restaurant here that looked interesting, I'd search for it in multiple venues and see where there seemed to be agreement. I read a lot of food blogs and looked for people writing about food in a way that sounded like they had similar sensibilities to mine and then, serendipity stepped in and I connected with Julot, whose wife's home town is where I live! I had read his blog and his posts here and knew his opinions would be similar to mine. He made a number of great recommendations, including Astier (for a Monday evening when it was a holiday and many places were closed.)

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Au Gourmand: Great meal, lovely, elegant setting, very good service, fine value, 3 course menu of simple but very creative and delicious food for 36E.

Entrées: escargot in a pine nut pesto surrounded by pesto mashed potatoes and topped with fresh, lightly dressed salad of baby greens and herbs… and 3 large shrimp in a coconut milk broth with scallions and large red roe. Plats: Bresse chicken, served with the liver, with a rich macaroni and cheese, white asparagus and fresh peas… and pork in a rich pan sauce with broccoli puree. Desserts: chocolate mouse layered with chocolate wafer, enrobed in dark chocolate ganache with a quenelle of rich chocolate glace and a gorgeous vanilla soufflé with bits of citron served with fresh strawberries and yoghurt sorbet. A completely delicious, gorgeous and satisfying meal! 2 glasses of wine, 1 bottle of water, 2 coffees:105E.

more to come...

Here's alink to some pictures from some of these meals:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26819563@N02/?saved=1

Hope it works!

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Bleu = very rare; saignant = rare; a point is medium-rare; and bien cuit is well done.

Plafield - I always found the uploading and posting of pictures here to be very clumsy.  And it took a lot of time.  I disliked it so much that I rarely used it.  I now use Flickr for sharing pictures.  It is very easy to use with the new Flickr Uploadr.  You get 10 mb of storage for free - and it costs I think $25/year for unlimited space.  Once you upload the photos to Flickr - you can just post a link to your pictures anywhere you care to.  I am sure there are other sites that are equally good - and perhaps other people here can mention them to you.

BTW - what sources did you use to pick your restaurants?  You seem to have made some very good choices.  Also - I am comparing what Michelin has to say about some of the restaurants versus what Zagat's says.  I know few people here are fans of Zagat's - but it does mention things like the cheese tray at Astier whereas Michelin doesn't.  A significant omission IMO.  Robyn

I definitely said saignant but apparently should have said bleu. When I said saignant the waiter responded by chuckling a bit and saying what sounded like "regulair!" and I thought he meant that's how "regular" people eat it so I said "oui." Then the beef came out medium rare, definitely too well done for me, but I then I wonderd if the "regulair" had something to do with that. Any ideas?

Robyn: Thanks for the idea of using Flickr. I've used shutterfly in the past but don't know if I can send out a link to specific pictures with them. I'll definitely check it out.

One evening at La Regalade we met a guy from Isreal who spends a lot of time in Paris and he swears by Zagat. As for how I chose, I did a lot of cross-referencing but relied heavily on this board as a starting point. Whenever I read about a restaurant here that looked interesting, I'd search for it in multiple venues and see where there seemed to be agreement. I read a lot of food blogs and looked for people writing about food in a way that sounded like they had similar sensibilities to mine and then, serendipity stepped in and I connected with Julot, whose wife's home town is where I live! I had read his blog and his posts here and knew his opinions would be similar to mine. He made a number of great recommendations, including Astier (for a Monday evening when it was a holiday and many places were closed.)

I don't eat a lot of meat - but - when I do - I am a rare (but not raw or cold) meat kind of person. And bleu is too rare for me unless you like your meat room temperature (or cooler). Saignant should be plenty rare (and almost warm inside). Quite frankly - I don't like to eat steak kinds of things in restaurants anywhere. I eat them at home perhaps once or twice a month during the north Florida grilling season - when I can crank up my grill - and get a "crust" on the outside with red on the inside. Ditto with things like lamb. I am looking forward to our trip in the fall - when I will eat a lot of game - and a lot of little birds. And I won't have to worry about the niceties of bleu versus saignant (you can get raw chicken in places like Japan - but it is not high on my list of things to try). FWIW - most of the beef I've encountered in Europe is very low on my list of tasty things (it's too lean - more suitable for things like braises than grilling). OTOH - I'd kill for Bresse chicken.

Thanks for the information about how you found your restaurants. And give Flickr a try. Robyn

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Next came lunch at Spring. This place has had a ton of hype and I called months ahead and could only get a lunch reservation. I must imagine that at times the meals must be sublime but the day we were there, most of the food was really quite simple and straight ahead. It consisted of the freshest ingredients and was very well prepared, but based on this meal alone, I would say the reputation is over rated. Anyone who enjoys cooking a bit could make this exact meal at home.

By coincidence, we happened to reserve the same day Julot was was having lunch at Spring for the first time, so we joined them and made a party of it. I'm sure he'll write much more eloquently of the meal and I don't know if he'll agree with my assessments but but here it is in a nut shell.

The day we went for lunch, the menu consisted of:

entrée: A slice of roasted eggplant topped with a piece of perfectly grilled John Dory, topped with sautéed and lightly dressed squid (vinaigrette)

plat: A slab of perfectly cooked rare duck breast, sauce of carrot puree with ginger, tiny roasted yellow fleshed potatoes, white asparagus and a dribble of balsamic

dessert: fresh strawberries with a strawberry/raspberry/red wine puree and a browned butter sable.

With coffee: fresh pineapple and mixed nut butter brittle.

The place itself is quite stark, the tables and chairs much like you'd find in an American diner or even an office. There are a few whimsical wall hangings but other than that it's totally plain, which I suppose lets the food take center stage. It's also nice that the kitchen is open so you can see Daniel Rose at work. His concentration is amazing.

With 2 glasses of wine, a bottle of water and 2 coffees, lunch was 97E for 2 of us.

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I have been reading with interest your 10 days of eating in Paris as I am familiar with most of them.I also agree with most of your comments except with your Spring experience.I realize I was not there that day and every one knows that there are off days , However:

The cuisine at Spring is simple ,but subtle .ITs not as forward as at la regalade and therefore it may appear ordinary and with little merit,specially if one is not paying attention and one does not appreciate the nuances .I don't mean to say its a cuisine full with hidden meaning but definitly a cuisine with a special style

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I have been reading with interest your 10 days of eating in Paris as I am familiar with most of them.I  also agree with most of your comments except with your Spring experience.I realize I was not there that day and every one knows that there are off days ,  However:

The cuisine at Spring is simple ,but subtle .ITs not as forward as at la regalade and therefore it may appear ordinary and with little merit,specially if one is not paying attention  and one does not appreciate the nuances .I don't mean to say its a cuisine full with hidden meaning but definitly a cuisine with a special style

Please don't read my review to mean I did not think Spring was an excellent meal. And a fine value as well. Just that given all the hype and the difficulties getting reservations, I was expecting more of a WOW factor. The food was delicious and yes, subtle. The carrot/ginger puree served with the duck was very special, as was the dressing on the squid. And the concentration and effort of the chef were quite apparent. It is always difficult to fairly judge any place by just one meal and with all the great reviews of Spring, I have to believe in the place. I'd definitely go again (assuming I could ever get a reservation!)

Julot, if you're out there, I'd love to hear what you thought of this particular meal.

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Chez Jenny: We wanted one classic brassiere meal of onion soup and escargot and had planned to try La Rotund near Montparnasse which Julot had recommended, but we discovered a free organ concert in a church near Place de Republique that started at 9:00 so it didn’t make sense to eat near Montparnasse. We were heading home the next day so wanted to eat before the concert and someone recommended Chez Jenny as a famous Alsation brassiere that was a 5 minute walk from the concert so we decided to try it.

I’m sure that La Rotund would have been better but this was fine for what it was. The atmosphere was great (slightly upscale, beautiful place,) the service excellent and the food average. The onion soup had a great piece of delicious, bubbly browned cheese over too much bread floating in a decent but not particularly rich broth with lots of onions. We found no fault with the escargot, which were fat and tender and came easily out of the shells where they were floating in parsley infused garlic butter. The bread was a decent, plain baguette, not the best, but not the worst and delicious to soak up the garlic butter. we also tried Flammenkuche, which is a cross between a pizza and a crepe, (served flat and round like pizza but too soft to be picked up) topped with excellent lardon, sautéed onion and crème fresh. For dessert we shared an order of profiteroles. They brought 4! The choux were not particularly crisp or special but the ice cream was good quality with flecks of vanilla and the chocolate sauce was excellent. 2 onion soups, 15 escargot, one flamenkuche, one order of profiteroles, one glass of wine, no water or coffee

53E

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