"The reluctant Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Les Fables de la Fontaine

131 Rue Saint-Dominique
75007 Paris
Bus Line: 80
Metro Line: École-militaire
RER: Pont De L'Alma
RESERVATION: 01 44 18 37 55
Website: http://lesfablesdelafontaine.net/?lang=en

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

 4.5 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

The restaurant has been around. In fact, it was created 15-years ago by renowned Chef, Christian Constant, who seems to have a monopoly on that street, Rue Saint-Doiminique, with his other famed restaurants: Les Cocottes, Café Constant, and Le Violon d'Ingres.  We heard that there was a new 21-year old Chef at the helm today, her name is Julia Sedefdjian.  

To start off, the location is in a wonderful area. It sits in a little court yard along Rue St. Dominique. Although there was plenty of seating, today it appeared that they just kept open one section of the restaurant. Our friend J had been there several times and he mentioned that it had been redesigned. In fact, the kitchen which used to be on the main floor was now below us.  The interior was pleasant enough. But like most restaurants in Paris, it was a tight squeeze.

We perused the menu and it had some nice choices, expectedly a lot of seafood. They did have a lunch special for 25€ which consisted of an entrée of "bass carpaccio" over a carrot purée, and a "hake" for the main course.  This restaurant is known for its seafood, and everyone ordered seafood for both their starter as well as their main course. I on the other-hand decided to be different, I wanted to see how well they prepare their meat, so I had a meat course for my "plat-principal" (main).

Per se we did not get an amuse bouche; however, we did get some cute little breads which I thought looked like corn bread, along with sliced baguettes accompanied with a flavored butter.  At first bite, the little squared breads were not corn bread at all, in fact, it didn't have much flavor, they were more eggy and very moist, then I realized this was to show case the flavored butter, which we believed was flavored with fennel seeds.


JJ ordered the "Gravlax salmon, yellow and red beetroot carpaccio with walnut oil, and goat cheese cream." It was beautifully plated. As true with gravlax, it's a sweeter version of its cousin the "lox".  Plus the salmon pieces were chunkier. Jack loved this dish for the freshness of the beets but as well as the nice rounded flavors of the gravlax.  If he had one complaint at all, he said it was a tad salty.

I had the "Calamari and butternut cannelloni, pumpkin cream, and crispy squid."  Another beautifully plated dish.  There was a juxtaposition of the soft warm pumpkin cream, the texture of the crispy calamari and the butternut cannelloni. I thought the flavors of this dish complimented each other well. I only had one minor complaint, there were seeds in the dish, it's a personal thing, I like seeds in my breads or salads, but typically not in my savory dishes. I swore they were pumpkin seeds, but I asked the waiter, and if I understood him right, he said they were zucchini or butternut squash seeds. Regardless, it was a delicious dish.

J had the "Carpaccio of bar served on a bed of creamy carrots".  You've got the cooked/uncooked, sweet/salty, warm/cold topped with some greens, each element enhanced sensory and taste flavors.  It was an excellent dish.


JJ and Collette had the "Skate, sautéed spinach with capers, citrus and celery emulsion". Again, a beautifully presented dish. I tasted the skate and it was so tender, naturally sweet, and moist. At the bottom of the dish was a surprise, you hit some very sour and salty notes that came from the capers. JJ and Collette loved the sourness, personally, I'm not big on sour flavors, but they thought it complimented the dish. The dish also came with croutons, but it really wasn't necessary since it was already a very nicely composed dish.  And, unusually, the skate was already removed from the bones.  The spinach was a big hit too.

J ordered the Merlu (Hake).  When it was presented I thought, wow, that's one long piece of fish. Again, beautifully presented. And, it was served alongside with some grilled endives.  The fish had some "Espelette" sprinkled on top which gave a nice little kick.  I had a taste of the fish, and I have to say this was one of the best cooked fishes I've ever had. It was so moist and tender, not in the slightest bit overcooked. And, the added espelette gave it a nice heat source that hit you ever so slightly in the end.  For some however, the fish might have seemed under cooked.

To be different, I of course had to have the meat dish. I ordered this only because I wanted to see how a place known for their seafood could cook meat.  I had the "Braised beef cheeks with bok choy, rosemary panisse and pepper."  The meat was so tender and flavorful. The sauce was rendered down to a nice rich sauce, very complimentary to the overall dish. I also like the rosemary panisse (a fried bread, crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside) at first I thought it was a panisse made of rice flour, but it was a traditional panisse made out of chickpea flour or otherwise known as "besam".  It was a nice accompaniment. Again, this dish was also beautifully plated. So, yes, they do know how to cook meat. And, I'd like to add, I was not disappointed.


J and Collette ordered the "Poached pears with vanilla, walnut biscuit, chestnut cream, pear sorbet." There were so many different components to this dessert that despite it looking complicated, the different components complimented each other and did not compete with each other and made it a complete whole dessert.  They thought the dessert was excellent. They especially liked the sorbet.

JJ and I shared the "Aged mimolette cheese, pumpkin/orange jam".  I love aged cheeses. Aged cheeses have time to develop and actually crystallize salt which to me is an added bonus. If you've never had aged mimolette it's like "aged gouda" we have in the US. So, this dish was a hit for me.


What a wonderful dining experience. All the dishes were nicely composed and beautiful. I've tasted one of the most perfectly cooked fish (hake) ever. And, although their specialty is seafood they know how to cook their meats. I only have 1-minor personal complaint, I don't like seeds in my main dishes.  JJ thought the Chef had a heavy hand with the salt, whereas I thought it was perfectly salted.  The service was excellent and most are bilingual. And, the price point is excellent for this caliber of restaurant.  For 3-entrées, 4-plats, 2-desserts, 2-bottles of wine and 3 coffees our bill came to 199€. Would we come back. in a heartbeat. Chapeau to the new Chef Julia Sedefdjian. So much talent at a ripe old age of 21-years old. She definitely has a promising future!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Restaurant Review -- THOUMIEUX

79 Rue Saint-Dominique 75007
Bus: Bosquet-Saint Dominique
Metro: La Tour-Maubourg
Tel:  01 47 05 79 00
Website: www.Thoumieux.com
Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

 5 - Star......................................................€€€€......................................................... 1 - Bell

I'm back. After a two-month summer hiatus in the US, it's great to be back. I decided to not have any French food while in the US, favoring ethnic cuisine.  Not even a week in town and jetlagged, a close friend J asked if we wanted to join him at a new restaurant in the 7eme; what a silly question, of course we would. Thoumieux has officially been open for just 4-days, but Chef Sylvestre Wahid worked tirelessly for the past two months to get it up and running. Keep in mind there are two restaurants, the downstairs section is the "brasserie" section, whereas the upstairs is more for fine dining. We ate at the fine dining establishment. He has quite the pedigree, having been previously awarded 2-Michelin stars and has worked at such elite places as Plaza Athénée and Alain Ducasse "at the Essex House" NYC, where he was honored with 4 stars, the highest culinary distinction in the US.

The location is centrally located. In fact, it's in an area we call "Little America" which is in the 7eme. Why do we call it "Little America" you may ask, it's because it's where a lot of English is spoken, and it's also where the American University, American Cathedral and the American Church reside.

As you enter through the bistro, the bistro is actually quite lovely,  pleasant and very inviting. The Chef and his staff cook for both restaurants.  We went upstairs to the the "fine dining" area, it too was pleasant enough albeit the decor was a bit eclectic, but nice.  We sat in a section that was almost like a sunroom.  It was bathed in lots of light, but not warm because the restaurant actually had air-conditioning, a rarity in Paris.  You can can even see the kitchen, granted it's partitioned by a latticed wall. It's not a large kitchen, but what comes out is amazing, which I'll describe later.  Also located close to the "cheese-bar" was incredible selections of breads from traditional baguettes, to seeded breads and even olive breads.

We sat, and only the wine menu was given to us. At first I thought it was odd, but it turned out to be appropriate, since it gave us a time to peruse the wine menu, get some drinks and have small conversation. Also, placed on the table were two mounds of flavor buttered and various salts such as Egyptian sea salt, black salt, crystallized salt and Himalayan salt.

Then the amuse bouche arrived. I'm assuming all the menus got the same amuse bouche, since we hadn't seen the menu yet. Typically you only get one amuse bouche, but we had 4 bite sizes. There was a tart with mushrooms, a salty ham with crackers, a mousse of vegetables and a raw langoustine.  They were each unique, distinct and delicious.

After we finished the amuse bouche, our menu came.  There are 3-tasting menus: "Richesse de nos terriors" (Wealth of our territories) for 110€; Océan, mer, lac et rivière (Ocean, sea, lake and river) 155€ and finally "Signature" for 190€.  We all thought it quite pricey, but will hold our judgement later to see if it was worth it.  Being budget conscience, we all selected the "Richesse de nos terriors".

For our first of many courses we had the "mushroom soup" in a very light vegetable broth. It was served in a very Asian style bowl with lid, which the wait staff removed such at the table. We all commented how good it was considering no animal died to make this dish. And, what surprised us even more, there was a crunch to this soup, and the crunch actually came from the mushrooms. There were some thinly sliced celery to enhance the dish. And there was some nice seasoning (bite) to it. Overall an excellent first start.

The 2nd course was a "cucumber water, cannelloni vegetal, flowers, quinoa, salt with black olives." Not only was this a beautifully presented plate, but it was delicious. It was served cold and you can definitely taste the flower pedals in the soup. It's hard to describe a flower taste, but it's almost like "dew".  It's not exactly a soup but more like a thickened cold "gazpacho" sauce.  The quinoa crackers were delicious. An excellent dish all-around!

The third course was an eggplant of herbs.  I found this dish reminiscent of an eggplant parmigiana, but deconstructed.  There was a lovely mound of eggplant in a light but thick binding tomato sauce. It was accompanied by a salad of greens with arugula being prominent with a light, but tangy vinaigrette dressing. And, to top it off literally, was shredded parmigiana lightly covering the dish. Not stopping there, the dish was also accompanied by another bowl of mushroom soup, with large whole mushrooms, but this time the broth was richer. I guess mushrooms are in season. The dish was a bit under salted, and a lightbulb went on.  Most of the dishes were under salted, hence, the salts at the table,  so you can salt your dish to taste/likimg, my personal favorite was the Egyptian salt.

For the fourth course we had lamb with a nice flavored jus. The lamb was cooked to my liking, pink, but not "bleu" (almost rare) as most French like.  The middle piece was purposely cooked a tad more to give the taster a variety of "wellness". It was a simple dish, but packed with lots of flavor.

Our fifth course was the cheese course. The restaurant actually has a cheese bar where you walk up to the bar and select what cheeses you want, and then they'll slice it and bring it to your table. The selections of cheeses were incredible from mild cheeses to very strong, pungent cheeses. They also had various jams to accompany the cheeses. And, with the cheese course they gave us "fig" bread. Too sweet for my taste, but it is common to have something sweet e.g., even honey, with cheeses to bring out the flavors. This was one of my favorite courses.

The sixth course was actually a series of several desserts. I opted not to have any desserts because at this point I could not eat any more. I was literally stuffed like goose readying for fois gras.

The principle dessert was fig dessert accompanied with a quenelle of olive flavored ice cream and a petite gateaux.

Then when we thought all was said and done, we received a grouping of various petit fours from chocolate to apricot, accompanied with various flavored mousses.  All distinct in design and flavors and were delicious.  And, then the dessert finale was various types of financiers which can be dipped in a very rich, rich creamy chocolate, common to what you get at "Angelina's chocolatier".

The wines we ordered were excellent, albeit the L'Étoile had an interesting smell, but regardless we really liked the flavor and composition of the wine.  J used the parallel example of the white wine as akin to durian, smells awful, but tastes delicious.  I don't think I'd go that far, but I truly enjoyed it.


Since the "fine dining" area was just open for a few days, the only customers were either reporters or food bloggers like ourselves.  Chef Sylvestre came out to greet us and was actually apologetic that it wasn't as perfect as he would've liked it to be. Could've surprised me. Everything ran smoothly.

You can definitely see the Chef's influence of fine dining. There was a cadre of staff. Although they were new to their job, they were very synchronized and knew exactly what they were doing. They had a wine steward, a primary head waiter and his staff of assistants. In fact, most of our dishes were served covered and they synchronized their opening of the dishes. And, for the main course you were given "Christofle" etched sterling silver utensils, very impressive.

One wait staff was gloved and served us a variety of different breads. And, if you need to go to the restroom, they will actually accompany you. What I thought was interesting was any time you left the table to e.g., go to the restroom, your napkin was replaced with a new one. Not even "le Grand Vefour" did this (refer to my preview). And, they changed out the napkins for dessert with a smaller gray colored napkin.

The food is under-salted, and there's a reason for this. They provide you with a variety of different salts that you can add. I liked this a lot, not only for controlling your salt, since oftentimes food in France is over-salted, but you can select which flavor salt you want to add.

If I have any criticism at all, I think the desserts were over the top, and lots of it. This is more personal than anything else because I try to avoid sugar and/or desserts.  Overall this is fine dining well worth the price tag. Similar restaurants in this food category and restaurants would be double if not triple the price. I was extremely surprised they were only open 4-days! Wow! Would I go again, ABSOLUTELY, but I'd have to save my "centimes" (pennies) in preparation.  Our bill with 2-bottles of wine and coffee came to 446€ for 3-people, so about 148€  ($166) per person.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Have a wonderful summer

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe California

If you're wondering why I haven't posted any reviews lately, I am in the U.S. for the summer and will return to Paris in September.

I want to wish all my readers a fun and safe SUMMER!


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Le Bistrot du Maquis

69 Rue Caulaincourt, 75018
Tel:  01 46 06 06 64
Metro: Lamarck-Caulincourt (line 12)
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday lunch.

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

 4 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

We were invited to have lunch with one of our favorite couple who lives in the 18eme where this restaurant is located. In fact, it's our old neighborhood of Montmartre.  Walking to the restaurant around the Lamarck-Caulaincourt brought back a lot of good memories.

We were told by our friend J that the chef and owner, Andre Le Letty has quite the pedigree, having worked at some of the notable restaurants such as Anacreon, L'Agassin, Ledoyen, Prunier and the Tour d'Argent to name a few.

As we entered, it's not a large restaurant but very, very cozy. Our friends were already there and was greeted by the Chef himself. He greeted us and poured us some of the wines that our friends ordered. The Chef's wife, who runs the front of the house provided us with 3-menus. Their standard menu, a chalk-board of their standard fare, which you can mix and match, and finally a menu listing the special of the day.

Two of us ordered the "Menu of the Day", and J and I ordered a la carte.


Two ordered the "Salade de gésiers" (gizzard salad).  The greens were very good and it was tossed in a nice vinaigrette dressing. But we all agreed that the gésiers were a bit well done.

I had the "Cassolette d'escargots a la creme de carottes et gingembre" (snail casserole with cream of carrot and ginger). I absolutely loved this dish. First of all, it was a colorful dish. The Chef must've added a touch of turmeric to add the brilliant color of the soup, but the spice was very subtle.  The light creamy sauce/soup that surrounded the perfectly cooked snails was delicious. And, what's a cassollette without the beans. He had perfectly cooked white beans which complimented the dish. No one flavor was overwhelming. It was a well composed dish and I could see eating a larger portion of that dish as a main course.


J had the "Poitrine de veau braisé a l'ail des ours, legumes printaniers" (Breast of veal braised with garlic, spring vegetables).   Although all the dishes were beautifully presented, this won the prize for the prettiest of all our dishes. I tasted the poitrine, and I must say the meat was so tender and juicy. Veal doesn't have a strong flavor, but the subtle infusion of the garlic made it perfect. J wanted it a little saltier, so asked for salt, whereas I thought it was perfectly seasoned.

I find that most vegetables cooked in France are way over-cooked for my liking. But the vegetables accompanying this dish were perfect, they were al-dente.

JJ had the "Croustillant de boudin noir avec pommes" (Blood sausage with an apple encased in a crispy pastry). I liked the juxtaposition of crispy from the pastry, sweet from the apples, and savory from the blood sausage. The Chef only used the filling of the blood sausage, so it made sense to encase it, since blood sausage not in its casing can be pretty ugly and unappealing. I thought it was a very good dish.  JJ especially liked the potatoes. It appeared the Chef baked it and molded into a round, since they were not mashed, but extremely moist and tender. And, the accompanying jus was a nice cohesive element to this dish. In it's simplicity came some wonderful textures and flavors.

C. ordered the "Fricassee de cuisse de poulet à l'estragon" (Chicken leg fricassee with tarragon). She absolutely loved this dish. I had a taste of it and thought it was very good. It reminded me a of a de-constructed "chicken-pot-pie" but without the pastry crust.  The flavors were all very subtle and unlike a a traditional chicken-pot-pie the sauce/soup was light and not thickened with corn starch but thickened more with cream and butter. And, the chicken was very tasty with the tarragon seasoning.  

I had the "Poitrine de porc rôti au thym" (Roast belly pork with thyme). There seems to be a theme in the Chef's dishes, in its simplicity comes flavor.  I loved this dish. Some may not like it because pork belly does have the characteristic fat that should be eaten. The pork had a nice crispy exterior and a very succulent tender interior. It was accompanied with carrot and pearl onions with a fabulous mold of potato slices and charred on top to give a nice crunchy element. And, the jus was a perfect accompaniment. I loved this dish.


JJ, ordered the "Nage de Rhubarbe aux épices douces, glace yaourt" (Poached Rhubarb with sweet spices, yoghurt ice).  It was a very, very simple dessert. Although JJ can eat very, very tart rhubarb or for that matter anything citrus, he said the rhubarb was neither overly tart nor overly sweet. The poaching mellowed out the tartness, which I prefer and the nice cooled yoghurt was refreshing. Overall, it was a good dessert.

C. was looking forward to the the "Ile Flotant" (Floating Island) that they had as a special offering at the beginning of the meal; unfortunately, they no longer had any. So C. ordered the "Citron meringue" (lemon meringue). The pudding was layered with a cake. She said it was very good.

With the meals we had two very good bottles of wines. One of each, a red and a white from Château Larchère!


There seems to be a theme with the Chef's meals, "SIMPLE but SOLID".  The Chef's pedigree shows. My favorite dish was the entrée of the "Cassolette d'escargots", which I would go back for in a nano-second. My least favorite was the gesiérs salad, only because I thought the gesiérs were over-cooked, but I can overlook that considering everything else was either very good or just plain excellent.  Their "Plat-du-jour" (daily specials) is extremely reasonably priced, with 2-courses for 16€ or all 3-courses for 20€. With 3-entrées, 4-plats, 2-desserts, 2-bottles of wine, and 1 coffee, which as "comped" because they ran out of the "Ile Flotant",  our meal came to 142€. So would I come back? ABSOLUTELY,  I'd come back in a heart beat. Chapeau Chef!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Restaurant Review -- François Felix

9 rue Boissy d'Anglais
75008 Paris
Tele: 01 73 20 23 28
Métro: Concorde (lignes 1, 8 et 12)

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

 2.80 - Star......................................................€€(€)*......................................................... 2 - Bell

*Note: Hamburgers start at €20. A typical 3-course meal and wine, can easily reach over 50€ a person.

We had an appointment at the U.S. Embassy and needed a place close by for lunch. Our friends recommended this restaurant since it's literally around the corner from the U.S. Embassy and across the street from the famed "Buddha Bar."  We were four for lunch. Don't let it freak you out, but there are armed guards as you enter the tiny street on both ends, for obvious reasons.

The restaurant is located in the Rue Saint-Honoré 8eme section of Paris which is known for its high end designer shops, boutiques and some of the famed hotels.

There is a large outdoor eating area, but today was particularly cold, so we opted to sit indoors. Indoors was quite lovely with mirrors and what looked to be a full bar. The wait staff wore kilts, which I found interesting. I asked our wait-person if they were Scottish, and she said no it was just their "uniform."

Their menu was quite extensive, it was in French with a translation below. It was simple and uncomplicated. Food you can easily find in the U.S. such as hamburgers, fish and chips and even fish burgers, along with some French staples such as "magret de canard." They had a nice selections of salads as well. They did have a lunch special, but opted for the regular menu.

We decided to order just a main dish and forgo any entrées.

One person had the "fish and chips"; he liked his fish and chips and I have to say their fries are excellent, very crunchy and nicely salted. The whole dish was good, and it was accompanied with a nice tartar sauce as well as mashed peas. Overall good, but nothing out of the ordinary.

JJ had the "Thai style salad", which was composed of thin slices of raw marinated beef served with bamboo sprouts, soy sprouts, baby corn, carrots, sesame seeds, red onions and cilantro all tossed with a lime soy vinaigrette. Although the combinations sounded fabulous and for the most part the ingredients were excellent and fresh, it lacked any real kick of the typical Thai beef salad that is known as "Yam Neua." But then again we are in a French bistrot, so it had to be "frenchified" and toned down.  Fortunately, they had some tabasco, which JJ gladly used.

Another friend had the "Hot goat cheese salad." It was quite a substantial salad. It had quite a mix of wonderful ingredients. There were dried apricots, chicory and walnut kernels. The goat cheese sat atop a honey toasted glazed slice of baguette. It was tasty, but difficult to eat, since the honey made the toasted baguette chewy. Regardless it was overall a good delicious salad.

I had the "calamari salsa verde".  This dish was definitely misnamed.  I think of salsa as being fresh ingredients such as a red tomato salsa we typically eat with chips in the U.S.  Instead, the salsa actually was a pesto oil, almost reminiscent of what you have with your escargot. The overall concept of the dish was great, but lacked technical delivery. The calamari was woefully under-seasoned and was over-cooked, which made it very rubbery. However, the accompanying fries were delicious.

We passed on dessert but got a cappuccino. The cappuccino was delicious and quite substantial, since it was served in a tall glass. None of us were able to finish it, because of its richness.


I was expecting this bistrot to be filled with tourist, but in fact, for lunch it appeared that most of the patrons were French who worked around the area, or came to the area for business. There were some good dishes, nothing out of the ordinary, and there were a few technical errors such as the over-cooked calamari and the honey soaked toast that made it difficult to chew. The service was excellent. But overall, if I have an appointment at the U.S. Embassy and needed a quick good meal I would go back. But I would not go out of my way to have a meal there. With that said, be forewarned, for a bistrot it was quite expensive.  For 4-plats, 2-glasses of wine, 2-bottles of sparkling water, 1-tea, and 3-cappucinos are bill came to 150.50€ for 4-people, but then again you are in the posh area of Rue Saint Honoré (8eme).  Just imagine if we had our typical entrées and/or dessert and  a bottle of wine, our bill could've easily been over 250€.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Restaurant Review -- Café Trama

Address: 83 Rue du Cherche-Midi 76006
Call for hours
Bus 89, 95
Metro: St. Placide (4), Vaneau (10)
Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

 3 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

This cute little restaurant is not too far from where we live. It was recommended by a friend of ours. We were 4-people.  The interior was cute. Enough space where you didn't feel you were "too" close to people.

The chalk board menu was the same as the printed menu. Our old eyes perused the printed menu. I remember that there were mixed reviews and especially as it concerned the "price-point",  and I'll weight in my own opinion about the price point later.


We decided to share three entrées: Charcuterie (sliced salami and ham) with "rillettes" (meat paté) which we've been told people raved about; anchovies; and white asparagus. The charcuterie was charcuterie, good, but nothing out of the ordinary. The rillettes was very tasty and had a hint of ginger.  Then we shared the anchovies; again, nothing out of the ordinary. They were good and not too salty and came with a nice butter to spread on your bread. And, lastly we shared the white asparagus. I'm not a fan of white asparagus, but the dish was beautifully presented and it was very good. They were served with a coddled egg yolk sauce, which were my favorite on the dish.


Three of us had the "Croque-monsieur "Poujauran" au sel de truffe" (French style grilled ham with truffle salt).  I found this dish interesting. It was atypical of a croque-monsieur. I got the impression it was pan-fried on both sides, similar to what we do in the US, whereas in France the bechamel is laden on top and grilled typically under a salamander. There was definitely bechamel sauce, but not as pronounced as the traditional croque-monsieur.  It was very good, and I liked the novelty that they used a more "American" approach. However, you could've fooled me if there was any truffle in it at all, because I tasted none, not even a hint.  The greens were nice and refreshing and also had a slight bitterness that I enjoyed. And, how can you go wrong with potato chips!

JJ had the special of the day which was a "lieu jaune" (pollock fish). I tasted it and the fish was cooked perfectly; however, the sauce was overwhelming sweet for my taste.  I am not a big fan of sweet sauces on any savory dishes. But JJ thought overall it was delicious dish, and the accompanying greens were good. There was a halved bokchoy and Asian greens of either chinese celery or kobako greens.  The greens also contains some anchovy paste.


Our table shared the fruit tart as well as "clafouti" (cherry tart). The fruit tart was simple and quite attractive. It did not come with an accompanying sauce, but our friends asked for some creme anglaise to compliment the dish. The grouped liked this dessert.

As for the clafouti it did not not look very appealing, but JJ said it was good, but was not as sweet as expected. It was very moist.


In its simplicity the food was very good. Nothing for me really stood out as something I would clamor my way back to; however, if I'm in the neighborhood and I need a meal, pourquoi pas (why not)! The service was EXCELLENT!

Now onto the price point. I'm with the camp of reviewers that believe that this restaurant is expensive for what you get. 15€ for a croque-monsieur, which is basically a grilled ham sandwich with potato chips and some greens is expensive. And, had we ordered a more substantial lunch, a plat could've cost as much as 36€.

Net-net the food was very good, nothing outstanding; service was excellent; unfortunately the price point was poor.

With a bottle of an excellent Malbec, 3-entrées, 4-plats, 2-desserts, 1-soda and 3-coffees, our lunch meal cost 164€ for 4-people.