Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paris Restaurants - Old Favorites and a New Try

When I'm in Paris, I like to try new restaurants and return to some old favorites.

This trip, I was able to return to Chapeau Melon for an amazing 4-course menu for 32.50 euros accompanied by one of their organic wine "découvertes," a light but vibrant red from Aveyron called Mauvais Temps (Bad Weather) (13.5 euros plus an 8.5 euro corkage fee). Dinner consisted of a delicate sashimi of langoustine, a creamy leek and other vegetable soup with a hint of truffle oil, a perfectly cooked saddle of lamb and a moelleux au chocolat (mousse au chocolat was an available option).

I also had the pleasure of introducing a young Japanese couple who live in London to Beaujolais d'Auteil, a very reasonable and charming bistro in the Sixteenth. My friend Mimi had one excellent and one bad meal here, but I have had nothing but good luck in a half dozen visits, including this one. My excellent 32-euro meal consisted of celeri remoulade with flaked cod and smoked herring eggs, continued with poached and roasted pork ribs and ended with a "moelleux" of rice pudding with salted caramel.

Velouté d'asperges and riz au lait at Beaujolais d'Auteuil

My friend Andy G and I went to Le Hide, near the Arc de Triomphe, for a nice lunch. This bistro continues to be an terrific value: an excellent two-course lunch for 19 euros, three courses for 26 euros (dinner prices are only three euros more).

Finally, I returned to Kunitoraya for the best kitsune udon you can find outside of Japan.

Wanting to branch out at least a little, I did go to L'Agrume, a new restaurant in the not-convenient part of the Fifth Arrondissement. This small bistro, opened in December of 2009, offers a 5-course menu for 35 euros, and has been praised by The New York Times and Le Figaro for its extraordinary rapport qualité-prix. The chef has a nice pedigree, having worked for a number of world-class chefs. Unfortunately, while the food was good, none of my five courses was exceptional. Despite the reasonable price, I couldn't help comparing it (unfavorably) to the restaurants described above. L'Agrume, 15 rue des Fossés St-Marcel, Paris 5ème (Métro St-Marcel), 01 43 31 86 48.

Bobby Jay

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