Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Paris -- Itinéraires

I have heard from a number of sources about Itinéraires, a relatively new "gastro-bistro" in the fifth arrondissement. It is a "coup de coeur" in the new Pudlo, which I believe is the best Paris restaurant guide. Also, a recent post by Barbra, of the excellent blog Serve It Forth (www.serveitforth.com), made it sound tempting. Based on these and other reviews, I went at the earliest possible time, which was last night.

I am sorry to say that I was quite disappointed. I started with asparagus with hollandaise "revisitée," served with some small slices of prosciutto di parma. I was excited at the prospect of my first white asparagus of the season, but they were seriously undercooked, and the very light and, I think, parmesan-flavored hollandaise (presumably this was what "revisitée" meant) didn't coat the asparagus; the prosciutto seemed to be an afterthought. In short, the whole didn't hang together due, I believe, to the hardness of the asparagus.

For my main course I had suckling pig (cochon de lait) rolled up, roasted to perfection and served with pureed potatoes in two textures. Perfectly prepared and delicious!

Dessert was a green chartreuse soufflé which tasted fine but had so much residual alcohol that it caught in the throat.

The place is nice and reasonable (36 euros for a three-course meal), and also creative and ambitious -- nearly everything on the menu sounded really good. However, based on my meal, consisting of one good dish, one bad and one near-miss, I really can't recommend this restaurant. I plan to try it again, though, on the theory that I just had bad luck, and hope to be able to report a better experience.

Itinéraires, 5 rue de Pontoise, 75005 Paris (Métro Maubert-Mutualité), 01 46 33 60 11.

Bobby Jay

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