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Septime (Paris)

By Ann | September 19, 2011

boeuf cru

‘Twas a lovely lunch I had last week at Septime, lovely because of the light-diffused, farmhouse-industrial dining room, the thoughtfully prepared food, and the conversation with Amy.

tartare 2

An entrée of boeuf cru, smoked potatoes and tarragon cleverly balanced creamy and crunchy with a layer of toasted breadcrumbs sprinkled between the ground beef and mashed potatoes.


The merlu main course shared the same attention to texture, with raw slivers of cauliflower offering a toothsome counterpoint to the fish and purée. Dabs of anchovy paste added a bold and salty — at times overpowering — punch.


To finish, we had a dessert of cassis and basil sorbet, an unexpected but joyous marriage, bright and cleansing, faintly licorice-y. Alas, the accompanying chocolate ganache felt like an afterthought; served too cold, it tasted slightly congealed and pale next to the sorbet’s sunny enthusiasm.

I enjoyed Septime tremendously. And yet…

After reading so many laudatory reviews, my expectations were at a fever pitch. In the end, I didn’t find Septime as revelatory as I expected. Don’t get me wrong — my meal was lovely, and the lunch menu — 26 Euros for three courses — has a rapport qualité prix that I would, without hesitation, describe as fantastic. The chef, Bertrand Grébaut, has a fine pedigree and a witty sensibility. But, in the end, this is simple, seasonal food, beautifully cooked — nothing more or less. The internet has made this restaurant the Next Big Thing, but I wonder if the lily will wilt under those extra flourishes of gilt.

The internets giveth and the internets taketh away. Blessed be the name of the internets?

80 rue de Charonne, 11e
tel: 01 43 67 38 29

Topics: Dining Out and About, Paris | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Septime (Paris)”

  1. Lindsey Says:
    September 19th, 2011 at 9:08 am

    A wonderfully well-written twist! You raise good points and although I loved it, what bothered me most is that in a party of 2 or more, everyone must order the carte blanche menu in order for 1 person to take advantage of it. I’ll have to go back, perhaps at lunchtime, to keep up with their evolution and see if, as you say, they start to wilt. Good debate you started!

  2. Lynde Says:
    September 19th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Please share the recipe for the first dish.

  3. Camille Says:
    September 19th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Expectations can be a killer, can’t they? If/when I get a chance to dine here, I’ll be sure to keep mine at a reasonable level. :)

  4. Shannon Says:
    September 19th, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Beautiful food! I love the idea of cassis and basil together (two of my favorite smells ever). The color is intense and fantastic!

  5. Creepy Query Girl Says:
    September 22nd, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Looks good!

  6. Sweet Freak Says:
    September 27th, 2011 at 4:29 am

    I agree with Camille – it’s all about the expectations. If you hadn’t read all the rave reviews, and just popped ’round for lunch, I bet it would have been 10x more delightful. But that’s the nature of what we do (eating and writing about it)… when we hear we’re going to love something, we expect it to be top-notch. I found Septime a fabulous and fresh option and I’d definitely go back again… especially if I had the repeat honor of your company and conversation!

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