Metro Station: Parmantier (Line 3)
Type of cuisine: Modern French
Days & hours of operation: Mon to Fri 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Sat 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Credit card: Visa, MasterCard
A grey façade with white trim; curtainless, wide, tall windows; and a tall entry door give this restaurant a rather austere appearance. Inside, the décor is also austere—the walls of the room are dressed in light-grey and the tiles of the floor are black slate. Chairs with crimson backs and cushions add color. A bar and a semi-open kitchen stand at the far end of the room, and one can see Thomas, the chef, working there. In the front of the room, a curious mechanism stands to the right of the entryway. It is a hand-operated monte-charge (service elevator) that once served to raise and lower material when this space was a print shop.
If the ambiance is industrial, the food is far from that. The night that we dined there we were served copious portions of delicious, modern French cuisine.
A list of Chef Thomas’ imaginatively-prepared dishes are displayed on chalkboards affixed to the wall. The restaurant does not offer a fixed-priced menu.
To begin the service, the waitress, Mélanie, presented us each an amuse bouche—a small goblet containing morsels of carrot confit, apple, pineapple, and red pepper. The warm, spicy delicacy piqued our appetites.
For the starter, I decided to order the Aubergines parmesan, mozzarella dish. In trying to imagine what this dish might look like, I thought that it might be a cold salad of roasted eggplant served with grated Parmesan and slices of mozzarella cheeses. I was surprised when it turned out to be a hot dish: a ramekin containing baked, thinly-sliced eggplant topped with these melted cheeses. It was rich and delicious.
My partner’s starter was also satisfying. Her soup, a Velouté potimarron, radi noir, was served in a wide-brimmed, shallow bowl. The smooth, thick purée of pumpkin was garnished with a mound of shredded black radish and bits of parsley, and dotted with olive oil.
The menu offered seven choices of main dishes from which I selected Filet de bar cuit à l’unilatéral et fenouil parfumé au romarin. The pan-seared filet of bass had been cooked on the skin side only. The succulent, flaky fish was served on a bed of moist, tender fennel that had been flavored with rosemary.
My partner chose Cuisse de poulet farcie en robe de larde, gratin dauphinois, but requested that the stuffed chicken be served with vegetables other than potatoes (gratin dauphinois). The plate contained sliced chicken thigh stuffed with pistachios and ground pork and wrapped in bacon. Served with firm-to-the-bite cooked carrots, parsnips, celery, and turnips, the chicken was tender, the bacon wrap crisp, and the stuffing not overly salty. A copious and nicely presented dish!
To accompany the meal, we ordered wine by the glass. My Sauvignon Blanc, dry with notes of citrus, went well with the fish, and my partner’s red Côte du Rhône was smooth and silky.
Fresh, thick-cut baguette was served alongside in a basket.
Dessert was a reminder that life can indeed have its pleasant moments. My La poire, vanille, crème, chocolat tested the limits of self-indulgence. Served in a tall sundae glass, it consisted of morsels of poached pear drizzled in chocolate and topped with a generous dollop of heavy whipped cream. Calorific to the extreme, the sweet dessert was a treat that I will not soon forget!
My partner equally enjoyed her Douceur de speculoos. Eight strawberry halves were arranged around the inside perimeter of a goblet that contained a layer of crumbled Speculoos cookies. The strawberries were held into place by a dollop of dense, whipped cream. A single large strawberry topped the dessert. The strawberries were sweet, the cream unctuous, and the Speculoos delightfully crunchy.
While we dined, New Orleans jazz, old-time jazz (Billie Holiday) and more recent music (Frank Sinatra) played over the speaker system.
The service was friendly.
The bill for two, including four glasses of wine, two starters, two main courses, and two desserts, came to 72€.
We think that travelers will enjoy dining at this restaurant where the portions are generous and the food imaginatively prepared!
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.