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Restaurants I have loved (or liked)

By Ann | September 28, 2010

Salut, mes amis! Despite a recent spate of homecooking and baking (muffins, tart, and cake in the past three weeks — are hens sprouting teeth?!), I have been fulfilling my responbilities as your faithful Paris blogger. Here’s a little roundup of restaurant discoveries to prove it.

spring has sprung

Where: Spring (6 rue Bailleul, 1er)

With: Adventurous gastronomes: Anna, Serge and CK

Ate: Market-influenced tasting menu (64€, no choices). My favorite plate was the opener (picture above): battered cod with a smoked yellow tomato sauce and slice of fried aubergine. Followed by: fish with teeny girolles in a stunningly green and oddly tasteless pureed soup of salad; veal tonnato, tender slices dolloped with housemade mayonnaise; a dessert of raspberries floating in strange, sugared water; too sweet pistachio cake with confiture of cherries, a bright lemon curd sprinkled with chocolate cookie crumbs.

Thoughts: There’s lots of buzz surrounding American chef Daniel Rose’s new venture. While the first plate proved that it’s merited — with flavors modern, clean, playful — the meal seemed to fade rather than build to a crescendo. Still, 64€ is a veritable bargain for such thoughtful, market-centric cuisine. The only hitch? The place is already so popular we’ll never be able to snag a table again.

vegan me up baby

Where: Bob’s Kitchen (74 rue des Gravilliers, 3e)

With: Fellow vegan/vegetarian enthusiast (Anna)

Ate: Veggie stew with gentle Indian spices and brown rice; sweet-and-savory quinoa salad (tasted too similar to veggie stew); futomaki sushi roll stuffed with avocado and Japanese pickles (not pictured), watermelon-and-apple juice.

Thoughts: American-style lunch counter with a twist — it’s vegetarian (with a lot of vegan options). The bright, bustly, relaxed space, with its high stools and long tables took me right back to Brooklyn. I am always looking for fast, cheap, healthy lunch options and if Bob’s was closer to my house/work, I would eat here everyday. The small menu doesn’t vary that much, though.

zors d'oeuvres (clever, right?)

Where: KGB (25 rue des Grands Augustins, 6e)

With: French foodies (visit #3), In-laws (visit #4)

Ate: Selection of “zors d’oeuvres,” or tapas (photo above): crab ravioli in delicate Thai broth, pork croquette, chilled salad of mussels, vibrant apple-scented gaspacho, sliced hamachi accented with a tart mango sauce. Tasting menu with the same fish and duck (visit #3). Tempura of soft-shelled crab with a too-timid wasabi sauce (visit #4).

Thoughts: I know, you’re thinking, What? She went again? Yes, twice more. I’ve now eaten at KGB four times in three months, which I believe is the same amount of visits the New York Times dining critic makes before reviewing a restaurant. I’m surprised Sam Sifton hasn’t gone bonkers yet. The food at KGB is lovely — bright, fresh, inventive, fun, with delightful accents of coconut milk, ginger, and lemongrass — but the dishes vary not a whit. I loved my meal here the first time. By the fourth visit, I was ready to commit lemongrass-cide (e.g. herbacious murder).

holy guaca....

Where: Casa Palenque (22 rue de l’Arrivée, 15e)

With: Hot Tamale (CK)

Ate: Chunky fresh guacamole, served with housemade tortilla chips (photo above); chicken enchiladas in a spicy red salsa; puntas des res al chipotle — tender braised beef in a smoky, sweet chipotle sauce that’s truly fiery and delicious (my mouth is watering as I type this).

Thoughts: I usually avoid Mexican food in Paris like the French avoid milk in their coffee after 12 noon. But a tip from my pal Croque Camille, let me to this excellent south-of-the-border cuisine. The chef-owners hail from Mexico and offer truly authentic food — not Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex, but real-Mex like chicken in mole sauce. Plus, they have beer on tap and margaritas. And it’s walking distance from our apartment. Yes, we eat here like once a week.

Topics: Dining Out and About | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Restaurants I have loved (or liked)”

  1. heather Says:
    September 28th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    good mexican in paris – wow – THAT is a first. this post makes me hungry …

  2. Camille Says:
    September 28th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I’m so jealous that you can walk to Casa Palenque! Maybe I should go “pick up” Nick at work more often and head there for dinner. :)

  3. CK Says:
    September 29th, 2010 at 12:30 am

    I’ve tried a variety of mexican places in Paris over the years, always with disappointing results. Casa P is a complete winner, and it would be considered good anywhere, even LA. Am so glad the chef doesn’t condescend when it comes to spiciness!

  4. Lily Says:
    September 29th, 2010 at 3:04 am

    looks tasty and great veggie places. I need to try Casa Palenque, but I’m rarely down in the 15th. For decent mexican food in Paris I like Mex&Co 10 rue Dante 75005 and Taco Loco 116 Rue Amelot 75011

  5. Lindsey Says:
    September 29th, 2010 at 3:12 am

    I LOVE Kitchen, one of my favorite spots. I was going frequently before it became uber trendy but fortunately, the quality has sustained nicely. As for Mexican, another one you could try which was quite good was Anahuacalli in the 6th.

    If you want to try excellence Spanish food, try XATO on rue des commines, 3ème.

  6. Sweet Freak Says:
    September 29th, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Really glad to hear KGB is a gem and I’m really looking forward to getting there soon.

    I am remiss on my own resto reviews – stay tuned!

  7. ksam Says:
    September 30th, 2010 at 4:56 am

    We’re also within walking distance to Casa Palenque. I’ve looked at the menu several times, but it always seemed to pricey for me to try it and then be disappointed. Will have to give it a try now!

    PS. My favorite Mexican (really Argentinian) restaurant is El Sol y Luna – it’s on rue St Jacques in the 5th, and the food is great and the portions big. Plus they do a really great lunch special for 10€ for entrée+plat+café or plat+dessert+café.

  8. Ann Says:
    October 1st, 2010 at 4:45 am

    Heather — Apparently it’s not as rare as I thought, as the comments on this post have revealed… A whole new cuisine for you to try here!

    Camille — Yes! Next time you do, give us a call!

    CK — Dare I say that the last meal was even a little TOO spicy?

    Lily — I can’t wait to try your favorites! Casa Palenque has some good veggie options, btw.

    Lindsey — Which Kitchen? Bob’s, or KGB? I have been looking for Spanish food ever since my trip there left me with vicious tapas cravings. Looking forward to trying both your recommendations!

    Sweet Freak — I loved the tasting menu at KGB. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

    Ksam — Whenever we’re eating at Casa Palenque we always see people stop to look at the menu and then walk away. I always want to tell them how good the food is, but have been too shy so far. Thank you for the tip on El Sol y Luna — love the name — I look forward to sampling it soon.

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