French Cuisine

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When a member of Paris' expat food blogging royalty invites you to join him for lunch, you just can't say no. Especially when he takes you to a place a friend of a friend heard of that opened a week ago, in a former wine bar gone south, ...
When a member of Paris' expat food blogging royalty invites you to join him for lunch, you just can't say no. Especially when he takes you to a place a friend of a friend heard of that opened a week ago, in a former wine bar gone south, now creative French bistro run by a young Yves Cambdeborde trained Japanese chef and his wife (he the kitchen, her the front of house), and put it all up in the virtually unchanged storefront in a tiny street in the Nord du Marais, and you have a recipe for success.This soon to be Figaroscoped and Fooding'd 12 table spot, sandwiched somewhere between the trendy rue de Bretagne and the Marché des Enfants Rouges hits all the right notes: 35€ men for dinner or lunch offering 4 choices for each dish. The amuse bouche was a haddock jelly covered shellfish mousse, and main choices included citrus marinaded salmon coupled with oxtail and celery, a delicious salted codfish quenelle, textbook quality ris de veau and Brittany caught cod with buckwheat risotto and shellfish. Bread was (surprise) not Pain des Amis, but from chef Thierry Bréton. All was comforting, technically perfect (one exception, the cod was a bit salty) , friendly and affordable, and served (slowly) with a smile. Book now before it becomes the new French/Nippon bistro flavor of the month. And, for the moment, make sure you bring cash, as their credit card machine isn't installed yet.Les Enfants Rouge9 rue de Beauce, 3eme
about 2 hours ago
7.4 The Bistrot Belhara, 23, rue Duvivier in the 7th (Metro: Ecole Militaire or #80 or 92 bus), 01.45.51.41.77, closed Sundays and Mondays, opened to great acclaim recently and has a chef (Thierry Dufroux) who hailed not only from the Bi...
7.4 The Bistrot Belhara, 23, rue Duvivier in the 7th (Metro: Ecole Militaire or #80 or 92 bus), 01.45.51.41.77, closed Sundays and Mondays, opened to great acclaim recently and has a chef (Thierry Dufroux) who hailed not only from the Bistro Volnay but worked for/with Michel Guérard, Bernard Loiseau and Alain Ducasse.   Plus my friend and trusted source, Laidback, loved it a week ago or so.  On entering I was warmly greeted and overwhelmed by the the chalkboard shown and specials (not shown but having sauteed girolles, chicken faisane and sweetbreads [as well as palombe at night]).  Tough decisions. My Cantabridgian friend, straight off his flight, was a tad later that I arriving so I ordered a bottle of red to pass the time and read the Figaro - the restaurant filled full with largely local folk excepting one Yankee couple and an old food writer/website manager/friend and her eating companion, and the decibel level moved from the 60's to 82 dB.  He ordered the potiron and chestnut soup which he quite rightly declared had an over-dose of chicken stock and under-dose of other stuff - it almost had no pumpkin taste even with some pepper - but, but, but, I saved the day with ham three ways (boudin, fresh and cooked with nuts and mushrooms [and while the chef and waiter deny it, olives]) - very, very, very good.   From then on it was scores-ville; a wonderful warm "rustic" pate en croute with foie gras and duck and a rich red wine sauce and sweetbreads just like I love them - crispy outside, moist inside with perfectly cooked teeny tiny potatoes.  Then my friend ordered the coulant chocolate dessert that was also "top top" as the President of the Republique twice removed, would say. Our bill; well, it's complicated, but let me say that "Honesty is the best policy."  I pointed out that they'd not charged for my pal's San Pellegrino and so they added it on, but subtracted our coffees as offered, so we wound up paying 87 E not 89 E.  Go back?  Definately and perhaps one Sunday night when one can rent it out if one has 25 folks so inclined. ur http://www.lesrestos.com/fiche-restaurant-paris/bistrot-belhara-thierry-dufroux/624729914#vIhAsYxRyQOmlWjl.99 Michel Guérard, Bernard Loiseau, et avec Alain Ducasse. En savoir plus sur http://www.lesrestos.com/fiche-restaurant-paris/bistrot-belhara-thierry-dufroux/624729914#vIhAsYxRyQOmlWjl.99 Michel Guérard, Bernard Loiseau, et avec Alain Ducasse. En savoir plus sur http://www.lesrestos.com/fiche-restaurant-paris/bistrot-belhara-thierry-dufroux/624729914#vIhAsYxRyQOmlWjl.99
1 day ago
Monday-Tuesday, Jerome Berger, in A Nous Paris, reviewed and gave 3/5 dots to L’Ourcine, coordinates well-known, which has reopened, serving the same food; while Philippe Toinard covered Postiche, 64, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 1st...
Monday-Tuesday, Jerome Berger, in A Nous Paris, reviewed and gave 3/5 dots to L’Ourcine, coordinates well-known, which has reopened, serving the same food; while Philippe Toinard covered Postiche, 64, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 1st, 01.42.36.14.90, closed Saturday lunch and Sundays, with a lunch formula at 15 and carte about 30E, serving raviolis, pork mignon, dorade, tartare of beef and apple tart. Tuesday, in Le Fooding, Matthieu Jauniau-Dallier reviewed another Japanese-chef’d place – Etude, 14, rue du Bouquet-de-Longchamp in the 16th, 01.45.05.11.41, closed Sundays and Mondays, running one 51 E plus for cream of celery rabe, monkfish, roast duck and tarts. In Wednesday’s Figaroscope, Emmanual Rubin awarded 2 hearts to three places: the aforementioned Italian Professore in the 9th; the Bistrot La Bruyere, 31, rue La Bruyere in the 9th, 09.81.22.20.56, closed weekends, lunch menus 18 & 21, dinner 28 & 35 E for items such as beef, quail and poached pear; and Au Franc Pinot, 1, quai Bourbon in the 4th, 09.81.72.87.97, closed Sundays, costing 45-60 for soft eggs, veal tartare and crème brulee.  Then he gave one heart each to Le Fantome in the 10th and Wood in the 3rd. Finally, Francois Simon devoted his Hache Menu “So Trash” to the Renoma Café where he went for the 11 E banana split.Thursday in L’Express, Francois-Regis Gaudry reviewed Eric Frechon’s Lazare, coordinates given before and Ulla Majoube revealed that Burger King was opening a place in the Gare St Lazare. Saturday in the Figaro, Colette Monsat had a full page article 80-some year old Michel Guerard and Francois Simon reviewed Takao Takano in Lyon. Sunday in the JDD, Aurelie Chaigneau reviewed the Bistro Urbain, coordinates given before, awarding it 7/10; the Café Trama, ditto (6.5) and A La Marguerite (6.5) and Francois Lemaire wrote up Encore, coordinates given before.
2 days ago
7.9 La Cantine de La Cigale, 124 Blvd de Rochechouart in the 18th (Metro: Pigalle) is the fourth creation of Christian Etchebest, he of Le Troquet, La Cantine du Troquet and La Cantine du Troquet Dupleix, all of which I've loved and ...
7.9 La Cantine de La Cigale, 124 Blvd de Rochechouart in the 18th (Metro: Pigalle) is the fourth creation of Christian Etchebest, he of Le Troquet, La Cantine du Troquet and La Cantine du Troquet Dupleix, all of which I've loved and so when it was announced that he was taking over this venerable spot, I was Johnny-on-the-spot.  The interior is a mixture of a music-hall (think the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Charles Trenet, Johnny Winter, Bonnie Tyler - oh you're all too young!); an homage to Greek tragedy/comedy; and a modern besides-the-theater cafe/cantine with a giant screen to show Etchebest's beloved Basque ruggers matches.  And even though you cannot read the chalkboard, it had double the offerings of his prior ventures. We started off with some classics - 2.5 oeufs Mayo (which my pal declared had the true Mayo made today), piggies ears not crisp but plenty and plenty good and a bottle of very acceptable red Graves. We went on to an onglet cooked "Bleu" in red wine which was indeed bleu as opposed to mine at Les Provinces yesterday, showing that some waitfolk and cooks know how and something I've never seen - Giant Sardines from the Midi cooked with tomatoes, olives and carrots - delicious.  We both got Freedom Fries which I improved immensely by asking for vinegar - not Malt mind you, just ordinary. Then my friend, a guy I really liked 'til he abandoned me to marry a fair lass in Brighton last year, and I were discussing with passion what we would share for dessert, and ordered the mirabelle tarte and our 6 foot plus much more tall black waiter who understood and spoke English better than we said - "watch out for the pits."  A huge portion arrived and it too was wonderful. The bill, ah the bill.  Well, I'd greeted Chef E. on sitting down and chatted him up later complimenting him on the food and joking that I'd see him tonight on Masterchef, mistakeningly thinking it was on tonight (Monday) not Friday. quelle gaffe.  In any case, he forgave my stupidity and treated us to the desserts and coffees.  So our bill came (without those charges) but with 11 E more for some Madiran we had while talking and catching up, to 81 E. Go?  Silly, silly readers - 7.9 on the Richter/Talbott Scale?  Run.  And don't worry about the 81.9 dB level d/t trucks, buses and assorted vehicles on the street.
2 days ago
5.7 (Products 8, execution 5) Les Provinces, 20 rue d'Aligre in the 12th, 01.43.43.91.64, closed Mondays, is no longer "no reservations, standing room only," Christophe Dru hired a chef to do cooking of all his stuff a la plancha.�...
5.7 (Products 8, execution 5) Les Provinces, 20 rue d'Aligre in the 12th, 01.43.43.91.64, closed Mondays, is no longer "no reservations, standing room only," Christophe Dru hired a chef to do cooking of all his stuff a la plancha.  And the stuff is top notch quality. I convinced my buddies from the Left Bank to go carnivore today and we started with two platters of superb house-made terrines and porkie stuff - truly great - we argued over what was best - and a bottle soon to turn to two - of a wine from the Var. Then failing to convince either to share a cotes de boeuf, they both had lamb - ordered and delivered rosé and saignant respectively and I ordered an entrecote - bleu!  Theirs were as ordered - mine was Sacré Bleu, well-done, to be charitable and the potatoes albeit good, alternated between cold and hot.  In fact, theirs were less well-done than mine - go figure! Pause - "John, Why didn't you send it back?"  Ans. "Because ours were the 5th-7th orders in a kitchen that had now received another 20 plus so the wait, inconvenience and dislocated service delivery was just not worth it." At this point we were pretty full, but I was pissed off about the steak and induced my friends to order a plate of superb cheeses and a sort of nothing "pudding" with chocolate and I had a floating island hoping Colette might join me when she comes back - it was not bad. With about 2 bottles of wine, no bottled water and decent bread, our bill was about 93 E a couple. Go back?  It's unfair to punish them for the over-done steak, cold potatoes and bland pudding when the other 6 dishes were superb - but that's the way it goes.
3 days ago
7.1 Dans Les Landes in the 5th, coordinates well-known, is a place I've always liked, and when my good friend the omni-omni, said they had a new menu, aka carte for fall, I leapt as did my two pals from #29 down the street.  My...
7.1 Dans Les Landes in the 5th, coordinates well-known, is a place I've always liked, and when my good friend the omni-omni, said they had a new menu, aka carte for fall, I leapt as did my two pals from #29 down the street.  My camera, or movement disorder, was misbehaving and the photos are lousy, but we arrived to find a bottle of a rosé-looking but claret-tasting wine which our hostess had ordered and was just right for the rapidly rising temps.  The chalk-board looked familiar but we ordered a lot of things that I, at least, had never had here. They were:- spinach leaves with raw cepes- a cappucino of cepes with old rum- cepes with Bayonne ham- duck necks with the crispiest exteriors I've everhad- fish 'n' chips with a fabulous different tartar sauce- chipirons- a "mini-burger" actually made from pigs' feet, onions and cheese and- xistora sausages with teeny green peppers. At some point we shifted wines to over the border (that's what the wine list said) to a Rioja; had a gateau basque (totally unlike any I've ever had) with caramel and a millassou landaise (a sort of big polenta fries) with "Old Boys' Jam); and a topper of alcoholized raspberry juice (offered). The bill with their own bottled water (at surprising a 2.50 E a bottle, as opposed to most places not charging) and 3 coffees, was the equivalent of 86 E a couple.
4 days ago
Les Premices in the 9th has become one of our "go-to" places with Chef Alexandre Weill's food interesting, holding to some classical preparations that still excite the palate.  We had two amuse-bouches, a chopped lobster with c...
Les Premices in the 9th has become one of our "go-to" places with Chef Alexandre Weill's food interesting, holding to some classical preparations that still excite the palate.  We had two amuse-bouches, a chopped lobster with coriander flowers and a quail egg with a rich, intensely-flavored mushroom soup - Boy! Then, my oldest friend who lives and works in Paris had more lobster in another, different rich, intensely-flavored soup and I had chopped cepes with noisettes - both as flavorful as could be. Then our friend of terribly longstanding had the pigeonneau with a wonderfully-crispy skin and its liver and spinach; Colette had the daurade with a wonderfully-crispy skin; and I had (unpictured) a good portion of sweetbreads with a wonderfully-crispy exterior on a puree with girolles - this guy knows from crisp. We all sort of shared the apricot and fig desserts and then the final presentation of cool spoons with a dollop of sorbet. With two bottles of Touraine, no bottled water and three coffees (plus another nice chat with the chef) our bill came to the equivalent of 130.66 E.
5 days ago
Sauteed squid and white beans at Cafe Trama If all big cities change constantly, there's one change that I've witnessed over the years in all of the cities I know and love best, including Paris, New York and London, that consistently...
Sauteed squid and white beans at Cafe Trama If all big cities change constantly, there's one change that I've witnessed over the years in all of the cities I know and love best, including Paris, New York and London, that consistently saddens me, and that's an ever decreasing diversity in their center-city streetscapes. What really brought this thought home was a recent Saturday morning in London when I was walking down Sloane Street and found it transformed in a souless alley of luxury boutiques guarded by security men with little curly black devices in their ears. Sloane Street has always been prime turf, of course, but when I last lived in London a longtime ago, there were still several pubs, a hairdresser and even a convenience grocer on that patch of pricey turf, and now they're all gone. The same thing's happened in many parts of Paris and New York, too--rising rents and increasing real-estate values thresh a neighborhood in favor of the same international luxury brand names you see in every city all over the world, and in this process what goes missing are the quirky little shops that give a place its character and also many of the homely ones that sell things you actually might need if you live locally. Happily, they're some streets that resist this process, and among them in Paris are the rue Vignon, which is right in the heart of the city behind the Madeleine, and on the Left Bank, the rue du Cherche Midi. Returning from a trip to the south of France on a recent Friday night, it was a real relief for me to see that so many of the shops I knew on the rue du Cherche Midi during the many years I lived on the rue du Bac are still there as I walked up the street in almost its entire length to meet Bruno for dinner at the charming Cafe Trama. The quincaillerie (hardware store) I always liked for its voyeur-at-a-keyhole glimpse of an orderly French domestic life that eluded me for years it still there just across the street from the ever popular cafe Le Nemrod and even the dreaded laundromat I used to use before fate smiled on me and freed me from that miserable chore--like all city-dwellers without washing machines, I always waited too long and then I always suffered the anxiety of wondering if one of the four dryers serving over a dozen washing machines might be available once my clothes were washed, survives. It sure did put a skip in step to walk by that place, though, and as I headed up the street it was also a pleasure to notice that a lot of new casual dining options have opened along this stretch, including the table that was my destination. I decided on this new place, because a friend who works at a shop nearby had raved about it and also because it sounded easygoing and straightforward on a Friday night when were both tired and had already cooked the fridge bar. I got there first and was warmly greeted by an attractive young woman whom I think was Marion Trama--of the celebrated culinary dynasty--and since it was warm, she nicely let me sit at the duece next to the open windows in the main dining room and promptly set me up with a very good glass of Chablis to while away the time over while I waited for Bruno. As the restaurant filled, the crowd was a pleasant mix of local jeunesse dorée, or affluent young locals; shopkeepers; antiquaires; and the sort of arty looking older Left Bank couples who'd be great subjects for a Sempe drawing. I also liked the relaxed homey atmosphere, the good lighting and a decor that was a mix of tasteful flea-market finds and contemporary furniture, and the chalkboard menu looked appealing, too, for offering a mix of comfort-food classics and modish modern French dishes. As Marion Trama explained to us when she came to take our order after Bruno arrived, the menu was conceived so that you mix and match at will, having, for example, just a salad and some charcuterie, or a proper meal depending on your appetite. Don't tell my doctor, but I can never resist oeu
6 days ago
5.1 (there was a wide range of opinions at our table of 6 experts, ranging from 4.0 to 7.0/10 on the Talbott/Richter Scale, so I settled on my rating of 5.1 and the Devil take the hindmost), Le Petit Verdot, 75 rue du Cherche-Midi in the...
5.1 (there was a wide range of opinions at our table of 6 experts, ranging from 4.0 to 7.0/10 on the Talbott/Richter Scale, so I settled on my rating of 5.1 and the Devil take the hindmost), Le Petit Verdot, 75 rue du Cherche-Midi in the 6th, 01.01.42.22.38.27, closed Saturday night, Sundays and Mondays, is part of the Hide Ishizuka Empire and friends that includes Hide, Le Concert de Cuisine, H. Kitchen, Encore and Le Sot l'Y Laisse, all of which I love, so when the buzz on Chowhound became deafening and two of my most trustworthy sources from SF told me they were going back (twice in a week) I snapped to attention. The menus are terribly reasonable but I searched for what I might like - a bavette? - come on, mackerel? - everybody's doing it, duck filet? - again?, congre eel with madere? hate Madeira - Hoo Boy.  But among us we did indeed have from top to bottom, the eel, terrine of fish and mushrooms with a divine sauce and pile of spicy Asian herbs and the "best-Japanesy-presentation-of-the-day" the mackerel, but frankly, except for the boullion with the terrine, nothing was special.   For mains, most folks had the duck which was OK or the maigre which was OK; however in their favor, the vegetables were superbly sourced, undercooked and presented. Desserts were the three possibilities - the pear with gentian ice, the sambayon with Kirch and vanilla ice cream (boring!) and roasted figs which frankly were sub what Colette puts on the table every morning. With four bottles of wine, no bottled water, and four coffees our bill amounted to 108.66 E a couple. Go back?  Not with a dragging hook.
6 days ago
I was en route to a workshop outside of Seville and right before hitting the “buy” button for the plane ticket, I thought – “What the heck am I thinking? Why not go a few days earlier, and some time in Seville?” ...
I was en route to a workshop outside of Seville and right before hitting the “buy” button for the plane ticket, I thought – “What the heck am I thinking? Why not go a few days earlier, and some time in Seville?” I know I say this every time I visit somewhere, but I want to move here. In fact, I even think I found my apartment. My last visit I think was in, uh, 1983 – or something like that. So I didn’t remember much. But I do remember that when I left Spain (I was on an 8-10 month trip through Europe), I distinctly recall saying that I wanted to spend more time in Spain. So to prove that good things come to those who wait (and wait, and wait, and wait), I found myself back in the country. More specifically, Andalusia. After walking from the bus station, admiring the Moorish architecture, apartment buildings with spacious courtyards and stunning terraces, the tiled patios and walls (I went to the post office to mail some postcards, and it had the most lovely tile work!), and friendly people, I unpacked as fast as I could and decided to get down to business, and eat. Seville is small enough so you don’t need to worry about taking public transit, getting lost, getting bored, or going hungry. And not necessarily in that order. It seems like every other business is some sort of eating establishment and people eat at all hours – starting with breakfast in the morning, standing at the stainless-steel bar, sipping cafe cortado. Then later in the day, between lunch and dinner (whose hours I have yet to master), people crowd sidewalks cafes. But unlike in Paris where everyone is drinking beer or wine, in Seville, most tables seem to have plates of something that people are collectively digging their forks into. And there are plenty of little places to stop in at all hours, such as La Campana confectionary, where they candy everything – from green figs and tiny pears… …to sweet potatoes! A few days isn’t quite enough to do Seville justice. And with over 3000 tapas bars, it’s hard to hit them all. But I was in touch with Shawn of Seville Tapas Tours (who gave me that staggering figure) and we met up my first day – and later that night – for some tapas action. When I was booking my trip, right after I hit the “Book it” button on Expedia, the price had miraculously risen, which I find kind of odd (it’s like going to the supermarket and when you get to the register, they tell you the price has gone up since you put the item into your shopping cart) so I found an apartment on AirBnB which was great; right in the middle of town. Not only was it close to all the great tapas bars, which I later found out, renting an apartment had the added feature of no one knocking on my door at 8:35am to see if they could “service my room.” #hotelpetpeeve Continue Reading Seville...
6 days ago