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L’Ardoise

28, rue du Mont Thabor
75001 Paris

Phone: 01.42.96.28.18

Metro Station: Tuileries (Line 1)

Type of cuisine: French

Days & hours of operation: Tues to Sat Noon – 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Sun 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Credit card: Visa, Amex, MasterCard

The dark grey walls and benches, a black tile floor, light-toned wooden tables and wall trim, and pinpoint lighting give this restaurant a muted ambiance.  Tables are close together to afford maximum seating capacity in this small space.  Do not let the compact seating arrangement discourage you from entering for great cuisine!

The restaurant opens early in the evening, presumably to accommodate Americans who are used to dining early.  That fact may explain why we heard so many American voices on the night that we dined there.

A ramekin of olives was placed on the table after my partner ordered the house apéritif, consisting of crème de châtaigne, gentiane and a sparkling wine called L’Ange Vin de Chahaignes.  She found that the sweetness of the chestnut softened the bitterness of the gentiane, and that the sparkling wine added a touch of vivaciousness.  She declared this unusual combination of ingredients refreshing!

The restaurant features a fixed-price menu at 35€ (supplements apply to certain dishes).  The choices of dishes are wide and varied:  eight starters, ten mains, and eight desserts.

My choice for the starter—Ravioli de langoustines, coulis de crustacé—was a good one.  I was served a shallow bowl containing about four large scampi-stuffed ravioli in a rich, crustacean-based sauce topped with grated Parmesan, finely chopped parsley and onions.  How delicious!  My partner opted for Salade de haricots verts, magret fumé et foie gras poêlé.  As foie gras is a very rich food, she requested that it be withheld from the salad.  The green beans were cooked to crunchy perfection and served warm with a few slices of smoked duck breast.  Mixed green salad, tender shoots, and crisp croutons garnished the plate.

I am becoming a fan of tuna, and sprang for the Filet de thon grillé mi-cuit, mousseline de céleri, beurre de ciboulette.  I received a generous portion of grilled tuna steak, cooked rare, and topped with tender spinach leaves glistening with olive oil.  Around the dish were dollops of celery mousseline.  The tuna and celery sat in a very shallow pond of melted butter flavored with chives.  The fish was wonderfully succulent and tender.

My partner chose the Fondant de jarret de veau, carottes au lard de Saint-Clémente. Jarret de veau is veal shank, and this was served in a small stewpot with baby potatoes and carrots, all in a savory broth.  While slightly under salted to her taste, she found the veal to be tender and flavorful.  She enjoyed the broth so much that she ate more bread than she normally allows herself so that she could dip into the stewpot to savor every drop!

As a beverage accompaniment, we each ordered a glass of Macon Village Jean-Pierre Michel Terrior de Quintaine 2008, a medium-bodied white wine.

Sliced country bread was served alongside in a basket.

Dessert was no disappointment either.  I selected what I thought was standard Mousse au chocolat, but was pleasantly surprised to find that this particular chocolate mousse was served in a tumbler with halved, fresh raspberries folded in.  My partner opted for Feuillantine aux Reines Claudes et abricots, three layers of Reine Claude plums, apricots, and an apricot compote separated by layers of flaky pastry.  All of the layers were garnished with a thin layer of crème pâtissière flavored with fresh vanilla bean.  Two intertwined stripes of current and mango coulis embellished the plate.

The bill for two persons, including two fixed-price menus, one apéritif, and two glasses of wine, came to 90€

Service was friendly and helpful.  We were honored to have the chef show us to our table upon arrival and explain the menu to us.  The waitresses were friendly and efficient as well.  One waitress offered to write down the name of the sparkling wine that served as the major ingredient to the house cocktail.  We also noted that she was very patient in explaining the menu to a group of four Americans. (The menu is only presented in French!)  Their behavior is one of many examples of French servers who defy the stereotype of the gruff, indifferent waiter.

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975.  A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992.  Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris.  His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.”  He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.

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