About

"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)!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Les grands verres -- Restaurant Review


13, AVENUE DU PRÉSIDENT WILSON
Tel:  01 85 53 03 61
Metro: Alma-Marceau (9)
Website: http://www.quixotic-projects.com/venue/les-grands-verres
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 (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)


4.25 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell


Les Grand Verre is actually located inside the "Palais de Tokyo."  There's actually an unrelated outdoor cafe inside the courtyard separate from the Les Grand Verre. There is a main entrance door however, it is not functional and the entrance is actually further down to the side of the building to enter.


The interior is massive. If I didn't know any better, I would've thought that I was back in the U.S. Restaurants this large are very unusual in Paris. I loved the decor, very modern and very comfortable. One thing that first struck me were the amount of large floor-to-ceiling windows, keep in mind this is a large 2-story restaurant. So it brought in a lot of welcomed natural light.


They have a full bar and beer by the tap. They have their own specialty cocktails, and I'm sure if you ask they can whip you up any kind of cocktail you want.

The staff was quite international. Our maitre'd was from Mexico, the floor manager was Swedish, and our wait-person, an aspiring opera singer, is American from Minnesota. And, lastly, our Chef is American originally from New York, but his latest stint was in Boston.

This restaurant has only been open for 3-weeks, and the official opening will actually be on September 7.

Amuse Bouche. We were running a bit late, but there was already some amuse-bouche laid out. A tapenade, pickled vegetables, which by the way were fabulous, and some wafer crackers.

As we were noshing we perused the menu. They did have a prix-fix special for 21€. And, the menu must change because it was on printed paper. One side was in French, the other was in English.









ENTRÉES


Mussels.  I had the mussels, and they were delicious. What was even nicer the broth had a nice little kick that hit at the back of your throat. Nice, since I do like a little spicy in my food. But mind you, it wasn't overwhelming, it was definitely a nice touch. But this entrée was pretty large for me, but it was so good that I managed to finish it, which surprised me. It was accompanied with really nice toast smothered with parsley butter, and some celery shavings.





Chopped vegetable fattoush.  This is a bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of Arabic flat bread combined with mixed greens and other vegetables. Basically it can be made with any vegetables you like. In this case it was with cauliflower, cucumbers and seasoned in a nice vinaigrette. Jack had this dish, and he loved it.








Artichoke. It was nicely grilled and was accompanied with a mild vinaigrette sauce. At first sight I thought, damn this is huge. There is no way my friend J could finish it. It wasn't anything special or out of the ordinary, but it was well executed.











PLATS 

Milk braised shoulder of berkshire pork. This was on their a la carte menu. I actually like pork shoulder. The fat makes the meat tender and adds to the over-all flavor. The sauce was perfect, mild and delicious and what I really liked was the smoked eggplant. It really added to the dish nicely.

Now what I didn't like were the cracklings. Half of it was soggy, and the heat/steam from the meal made the other half lose its crispiness. I'd get rid of it, if you want to add texture, add a raw shaved vegetable of some sort.  Otherwise it is very good flavorful composed dish.



Pork chop. Our friend J had this dish off the special of the day. The pork was extremely tender. J said, this was the best pork he's ever had. WOW. What I thought was a traditional German rotkohl cabbage dish (sweet/sour cooked cabbage), was actually more of a slaw. Neither too sweet, nor too salty. It actually could've used a tad more vinegar to offset the pork. But overall a good dish.





Bonito fish. Those not familiar with Bonito fish, it's used a lot in Japanese and Asian cooking. In fact, dried it is used as a flavor enhancer. The taste is between a mackerel and a tuna. The dish was beautifully presented. I tasted a lot of turmeric, not a bad thing because it added to the dish. The mashed potatoes were delicious and the zucchini added a nice vegetable element. The fish was extremely tender and flavorful. This was a hit.





DESSERT

Halva & fig leaf semi-freddo. Only Jack had the dessert, because at this point J and I were very full. The portions were actually quite large. I don't know why, but this sort of looked like breakfast to me. It was not a pretty dish. But where in lacked in eye appeal it made up in flavors. I really didn't taste the halva, but the pistachios with the cherries and semi-freddo was such a nice refreshing combination. It felt like I was eating a nice healthy dessert, if there is such a thing.





WINES


White: Classic domaine de L’ecu Loire Biodynamie. Of late, it seems "bio" wines are very popular. This wine is actually a muscadet. It has the tasting notes of smoky, citrus and white flowers. This wine is typically drunk with seafood.

Red: Les Deux terres La Reboule. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, grenache, and merlot. Often compared with the Italian red Montepulciano. Medium-bodied, dry and lean with red cherry flavors. Goes well with rich foods.


SUMMARY

I normally do not like going to such restaurants. They remind me so much of any American restaurant in any major city. When I think of dining out in Paris, I think of dining out in a quaint small restaurant. But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

For a restaurant that will not officially open until September 7 and has only been in operation for 3-weeks, I have to say chapeau to the Chef and his staff. The service was impeccable. The food was delicious. I thought the portions were a bit big, but then again, I'm not bigger eater. I especially liked my entrée of mussels, and for the plats I especially like the bonito fish and my own pork shoulder. The dessert was deceiving, it tasted better than it looked. Only minor flaws: get rid of that crackling with the pork, it came out soggy. And, this is a personal preference, but the red cabbage could've been "zhooshed " up, it lacked character. Would we go back? absolutely.

For 3 people our meal, 3-entrées, 3-plats, 1-dessert (note our dessert was comped 8€), 2-bottles of wine and 1 coffee, our bill came to 157€ or 52€ and some change.


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