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.
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.
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.
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).
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.