Eating and Drinking in Paris

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Andrew Kotowski
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#251 Post by Andrew Kotowski » January 26th, 2020, 6:39 am

Took my manager to a low key bistro called Les Fines Gueules a little north of the Louvre. Always a solid 7 or 8, English friendly and a decent wine list (although predominantly natty wines). Pics below.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#252 Post by Andrew Kotowski » January 27th, 2020, 5:21 am

Hit CAM last night, which has been a favorite for a couple of years now. Great meal, but not as mind-blowing as it has been previously. The head chef (Esu) appears to be in LA, as I didn't recognize one of the cooks.

Thing I like most about this place, aside from the staff, is CAM continuously brings a unique flavor profile that I just haven't experienced in other places. See the dishes below.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#253 Post by Robert Dentice » January 27th, 2020, 9:36 am

I have only been to CAM once and loved it. Did Jua a fantastic new Koran restaurant in NYC on Friday and hosted a big Riesling event at Atoboy. Loving Korean food these days!
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#254 Post by M.Kaplan » January 28th, 2020, 10:37 am

Two of my favorites, Le Rigmarole and Le Sergent Recruteur, received their first Michelin * yesterday.
---Mark

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#255 Post by Andrew Kotowski » January 28th, 2020, 10:58 am

M.Kaplan wrote:
January 28th, 2020, 10:37 am
Two of my favorites, Le Rigmarole and Le Sergent Recruteur, received their first Michelin * yesterday.
Am wait-listed for Le Rigmarole yet again tomorrow night. Sunday didn't happen and now, after the Michelin star? Hah, time to make backup plans.

Update: My skip (mgr's mgr) invited my team to dinner... so I ended up at Restaurant Market (Jean-Georges). Good enough food, ok bottle of wine (2015 Bouzereau Auxey-Duresses 1er for 70 euros). I would have much rather gone to L'Ogre :(
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#256 Post by Michel Abood » January 30th, 2020, 10:37 am

After three days of non-stop wine trade shows, today was a detox day. I met a friend for lunch at Kunitoraya, an always deliciously reliable udon place in the 1st, near Rue Saint Anne. Another stalwart, this has been delicious for years, and a go-to for authentic Japanese food in a lovely, warm setting. Get there early or after the lunch rush or you'll spend some time on the line out front, there's no RSVP.

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We started with kara-age, lightly fried chicken, crunchy and tender.

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For my main, I ordered the Kamo-Udon, duck udon, with a clean broth and tasty meat. Just what the doctor ordered, washed down with some hot tea.

Now I'm ready for Friday...
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#257 Post by Andrew Kotowski » January 31st, 2020, 7:09 am

Michel and I are in the process of cleaning out Las Enfants du Marche of food and wine. Pics to follow.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#258 Post by Robert Dentice » January 31st, 2020, 8:13 am

Andrew Kotowski wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 7:09 am
Michel and I are in the process of cleaning out Las Enfants du Marche of food and wine. Pics to follow.
LOVE that place!
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#259 Post by Andrew S. » January 31st, 2020, 8:33 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 8:13 am
Andrew Kotowski wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 7:09 am
Michel and I are in the process of cleaning out Las Enfants du Marche of food and wine. Pics to follow.
LOVE that place!
One of our favorite places in Paris.

Moules à la sauce gorganzola & cerveaux de veau frits!

And great vins naturels!

Jealous!

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#260 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » January 31st, 2020, 8:46 am

Andrew S. wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 8:33 am
Robert Dentice wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 8:13 am
Andrew Kotowski wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 7:09 am
Michel and I are in the process of cleaning out Las Enfants du Marche of food and wine. Pics to follow.
LOVE that place!
One of our favorite places in Paris.

Moules à la sauce gorganzola & cerveaux de veau frits!

And great vins naturels!

Jealous!
Any particular fun wines on the list there currently that I might not otherwise recognize? I am not a fan of natural wine in general, but can enjoy the cleaner end of the spectrum.
Sort of ITB - my husband imports a small amount of sake and I help out

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#261 Post by Robert Dentice » January 31st, 2020, 8:51 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 8:46 am
Andrew S. wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 8:33 am
Robert Dentice wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 8:13 am


LOVE that place!
One of our favorite places in Paris.

Moules à la sauce gorganzola & cerveaux de veau frits!

And great vins naturels!

Jealous!
Any particular fun wines on the list there currently that I might not otherwise recognize? I am not a fan of natural wine in general, but can enjoy the cleaner end of the spectrum.
It is one of those frustrating no list places. There was a Saint Roman and a Chablis that were very good.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#262 Post by Andrew S. » January 31st, 2020, 8:54 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 8:51 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 8:46 am
Andrew S. wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 8:33 am


One of our favorite places in Paris.

Moules à la sauce gorganzola & cerveaux de veau frits!

And great vins naturels!

Jealous!
Any particular fun wines on the list there currently that I might not otherwise recognize? I am not a fan of natural wine in general, but can enjoy the cleaner end of the spectrum.
It is one of those frustrating no list places. There was a Saint Roman and a Chablis that were very good.
I've never gone wrong there by just putting it, glass by glass, in their hands. They'll always let you taste it first. I think their wine program much better than say L'avant Comptoir De La Terre or Mer for instance. I also find vins naturels far better in Paris than in the US, for probably obvious reasons.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#263 Post by Andrew Kotowski » January 31st, 2020, 8:58 am

I asked for the wine list; woman waiting on us said “I am the wine list.” Geschikt was delicious. We ran into friends and ended up with the below. Picked up some Agraparte Mineral and some PYCM and now we’re off to Septime la Cave.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#264 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » January 31st, 2020, 9:10 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 8:51 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 8:46 am


Any particular fun wines on the list there currently that I might not otherwise recognize? I am not a fan of natural wine in general, but can enjoy the cleaner end of the spectrum.
It is one of those frustrating no list places. There was a Saint Roman and a Chablis that were very good.
That is frustrating. I'm happy to taste through a few glasses when I'm solo, but I can increase my odds when I can start with the few producers I know I like.
Sort of ITB - my husband imports a small amount of sake and I help out

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#265 Post by M.Kaplan » January 31st, 2020, 1:45 pm

The most interesting (and delicious) wine I tasted at Enfants du Marche last fall was Sous le Végétal Muscat Livia, a dry Chenin from Greece. I wish I could find some to buy.

Sarah, I just tell them I want something fresh and not (too) oxidative that they think goes well with whatever I am ordering to eat. They always pour a taste, so there is little risk of ending up with something you hate.
---Mark

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#266 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » January 31st, 2020, 2:02 pm

M.Kaplan wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 1:45 pm
The most interesting (and delicious) wine I tasted at Enfants du Marche last fall was Sous le Végétal Muscat Livia, a dry Chenin from Greece. I wish I could find some to buy.

Sarah, I just tell them I want something fresh and not (too) oxidative that they think goes well with whatever I am ordering to eat. They always pour a taste, so there is little risk of ending up with something you hate.
Thanks Mark (and others) - that's what I usually do when faced with a total unknown set of natural wines. It almost always works, though I have once or twice disliked so many options in a row that I've given up and said yes to whatever the last thing was just to make it stop.
Mostly that's been in NY, not Paris. Having a few producers I can tell them I like seems to help as well at someplace like this where the staff is knowledgeable.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#267 Post by Michel Abood » January 31st, 2020, 2:34 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 2:02 pm
M.Kaplan wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 1:45 pm
The most interesting (and delicious) wine I tasted at Enfants du Marche last fall was Sous le Végétal Muscat Livia, a dry Chenin from Greece. I wish I could find some to buy.

Sarah, I just tell them I want something fresh and not (too) oxidative that they think goes well with whatever I am ordering to eat. They always pour a taste, so there is little risk of ending up with something you hate.
Thanks Mark (and others) - that's what I usually do when faced with a total unknown set of natural wines. It almost always works, though I have once or twice disliked so many options in a row that I've given up and said yes to whatever the last thing was just to make it stop.
Mostly that's been in NY, not Paris. Having a few producers I can tell them I like seems to help as well at someplace like this where the staff is knowledgeable.
This. Giving some guidance in terms of producers you like, as well as your sensibilities (my first request was for non-mousy wines as I am brutally sensitive to mouse notes) definitely set the pace for the rest of the afternoon. Once they knew where our palates were, they could recommend appropriate things, which they did. After this we hit up La Carte des Vins, where I convinced them to find another bottle of Pierre Yves Colin Morey for Andrew, followed up by dinner at Au Passage with some nice amphora Foulaquier and delicious dishes.

What a great way to spend a long afternoon on a warm-ish Paris winter Friday. Pictures to follow.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#268 Post by Michel Abood » January 31st, 2020, 3:24 pm

What a great day! Andrew and I have turned our annual trips to France into a reason to meet up for some great meals. In the past, we hit Juveniles, Paul Bert, but this year we went all out. We started at Enfants du Marché, where Chef Masa was making some delicious dishes, as usual, for a light crowd. We were joined by one of my NY customers, Caleb Ganzer of Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, as well as an old friend, Patty, and sat at the table from 2-5pm, which seems like a civilized way to have lunch. Then it was off to Carte des Vins so Patty and Andrew could raid the cellar, then Uber over to Caves Septime, because, well, it's Caves Septime. After a few hours there (and WAY too many Americans, it's still great but it's become a tourist trap), we went to dinner at Au Passage, which was very good, but also completely overrun by tourists.

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Crisp, dry, natural sparkling Mosel Riesling.

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Andrew approves.

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Terrine de porc for a light starter...

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Fried sardines

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Andrew goes in for the kill

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Caleb enjoying his mussels with Gorgonzola

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Savoie for the savory wine

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Loire up next

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Octopus (frankly, the weakest dish of the day, it was tasty but rubbery)

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Caleb shocked, I say, SHOCKED, at being offered an all-vegetable dish (that was, frankly, fantastic)

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Ending lunch with a skin-contact Pinot Gris that was outstanding

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Patty offers up a bottle of Lassaigne Vignes de Montgueux (a steal at 40 Euros at Caves Septime)

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Jamon Serrano, because, well, why not?

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Anchovies and crazy good olive oil with goat cheese

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Andrew wanted a red from the Rhône, so the bartender recommend a Vins des Potes (meaning the Wines of Buddies), from an itinerant group of natural winemakers who buy grapes from famous winemakers and make their own wines. This was Cornas from Mathieu Barret, and to put it mildly, was delicious

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Sweetbreads at Au Passage

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Pigeon, anyone? A bit too gamey even for me, but I've never been a huge pigeon fan (aside from Atsumi's pigeon dish at Clown Bar)

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Amphora Foulaquier, quite delicious and silky, but then again I've become a fan of amphora wines over the last few years (we import a few)

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Killer lamb at Au Passage, with a very Middle Eastern vibe (tahini on the plate and chickpeas on the side)
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Andrew is sated at long last

What a great day, now I need to detox/diet again...
Cheers! [cheers.gif]
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#269 Post by Michel Abood » January 31st, 2020, 3:31 pm



As I wrote on Instagram, this was today's motto....
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#270 Post by Andrew Kotowski » January 31st, 2020, 10:55 pm

I love that you went full Rick Steves with the write-up after dinner; I slept in the Uber on the way back :)

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#271 Post by Michel Abood » February 6th, 2020, 2:01 pm

I met one of my best customers at L'Avant Comptoir du Marché yesterday for lunch before he headed back to the US, which turned into a 3 hour affair, of course. I'd never been to this one, having frequented both the Avant Comptoir de la Terre and de la Mer and loving both, despite their tourist-trappiness. The food was great, the only misstep a squid ink orzo with octopus (and only because there wasn't enough octopus and what was there got lost in the orzo). We had several delicious wines, including Jousset's Mosquito sparkling and several unknown producers, one a Morgon (un-imported to boot, negotiations under way), the others Syrah and Syrah blends from the Languedoc, served in beer glasses, which frankly was fine with me.

And there was much rejoicing...

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#272 Post by Len Fox » February 6th, 2020, 3:07 pm

Been a couple of year since my last visit to Paris, but really enjoy Les Fines Gueules. Always solid, friendly and easy. They have a pretty extensive cellar a lot of stuff not on the list. First visit, some years back, on concierge's rec, was talking wine with one of the waiters, turned out to be one of the owners and he took us on tour of the upper cellar and suggested a 2007 Overnoy Savagnin that was spectacular.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#273 Post by Andrew Kotowski » February 6th, 2020, 4:49 pm

Len Fox wrote:
February 6th, 2020, 3:07 pm
Been a couple of year since my last visit to Paris, but really enjoy Les Fines Gueules. Always solid, friendly and easy. They have a pretty extensive cellar a lot of stuff not on the list. First visit, some years back, on concierge's rec, was talking wine with one of the waiters, turned out to be one of the owners and he took us on tour of the upper cellar and suggested a 2007 Overnoy Savagnin that was spectacular.
See post above :D

Some other nice finds at Les Fines Gueles over the last couple of years:
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#274 Post by patrick c albright » February 6th, 2020, 5:40 pm

Andrew Kotowski wrote:
February 6th, 2020, 4:49 pm
Len Fox wrote:
February 6th, 2020, 3:07 pm
Been a couple of year since my last visit to Paris, but really enjoy Les Fines Gueules. Always solid, friendly and easy. They have a pretty extensive cellar a lot of stuff not on the list. First visit, some years back, on concierge's rec, was talking wine with one of the waiters, turned out to be one of the owners and he took us on tour of the upper cellar and suggested a 2007 Overnoy Savagnin that was spectacular.
See post above :D

Some other nice finds at Les Fines Gueles over the last couple of years:
A great spot.
Not the place to drink Coche, Raveneau, and the big bottles that people want to chase, but some very cool wines none the less.
And the food is always top. Turbot the other night was a 9/10.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#275 Post by Michel Abood » February 8th, 2020, 1:03 pm

Friday night was dinner with expat friends, with a quick stop at Cave Septime to start the night right (Plageoles Blanc in the glass). Then we walked over to Jones, where the food was fantastic, service warm, and the wine list short but interesting. The Tourte d'Agneau was crazy good, and while rich, the crust was super light, the meat perfectly cooked.

One thing to note: I've seen a sudden uptick in foreign wines in France (and not just in Paris - Montpellier, Angers, and even, shockingly, Cornas). There's tons of Italian, Spanish, Eastern European and even some US wines now available. Even the French seem (pleasantly) surprised at their sudden openness. I for one applaud this as while I do love French wines, variety is the spice of life.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#276 Post by Ramon C » February 8th, 2020, 5:20 pm

Jones serves deliciously creative dishes. We enjoyed every shared plates that we ordered. It was recommended to us by a local chef friend.

It’s hipster central and might not be for those that would shy away because of the all-natural wine list.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#277 Post by M.Kaplan » February 9th, 2020, 11:41 am

I loved Bones and haven’t been to Jones since the transformation. Will check out Jones in Sept.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#278 Post by Andrew S. » February 9th, 2020, 11:44 am

We thought Bones was great as well and have not been to Jones. Thanks for the recommendation - we'll check it out next month.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#279 Post by Michel Abood » February 11th, 2020, 8:59 am

Sunday I spent the day with our TX distributor, we took in a local wine trade show then meandered around Notre-Dame. The damage is heartbreaking, there's no roof, the windows are replaced by plastic tarps, there are wooden supports under the flying buttresses, and the damaged scaffolding is still there, melted in spots. Then we walked over for some traditional French late lunch: Japanese ramen at Kodawari. Up until last year, this was very traditional, however they've put a French spin on ramen that I wasn't expecting (nor, frankly, wanted). While the broth was very good, there were aspects that I didn't really appreciate. I might like it better a 2nd time knowing they've gone rogue, but I had been expecting more traditional Japanese ramen, which they had always been known for.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#280 Post by M.Kaplan » February 11th, 2020, 10:11 am

Michel, have you been to the 'new' Kodawari behind the Palais-Royal on Rue de Richelieu? It looks like a fish market and serves pescetarian ramen and other dishes, for the most part. I like it, but it gets crazy busy. If the line is too long, Juveniles is down the block and Pho 14 Opera is around the corner.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#281 Post by G. Greenbaum » February 11th, 2020, 2:47 pm

We had fantastic Sichuan noodles at this tiny place in St. Germain around the corner from our place. We loved it so much, we ate there several times. Spicy as hell, but oh so good. https://troisfoisplusdepiment.fr/
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#282 Post by Michel Abood » February 13th, 2020, 7:19 am

Mark, haven't hit up fish Kodawari yet, I might try that for lunch before I leave.

Greg, I had heard about it but completely forgot, I really need to get there before I go. Thanks for reminding me!
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#283 Post by davidkong » February 16th, 2020, 8:22 am

Andrew Kotowski wrote:
February 6th, 2020, 4:49 pm
Len Fox wrote:
February 6th, 2020, 3:07 pm
Been a couple of year since my last visit to Paris, but really enjoy Les Fines Gueules. Always solid, friendly and easy. They have a pretty extensive cellar a lot of stuff not on the list. First visit, some years back, on concierge's rec, was talking wine with one of the waiters, turned out to be one of the owners and he took us on tour of the upper cellar and suggested a 2007 Overnoy Savagnin that was spectacular.
See post above :D

Some other nice finds at Les Fines Gueles over the last couple of years:
I’m surprised anyone suggests an Overnoy these days
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris (Updated July 2019)

#284 Post by davidkong » February 16th, 2020, 8:25 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
November 21st, 2019, 10:32 am
Andrew M wrote:
November 21st, 2019, 4:37 am
Robert Dentice wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 12:31 pm


How was Abri?
One of the best meals of my life. We usually avoid blind prix fixe, but here the flavors will make you like all the ingredients you thought you didn’t. I can’t imagine spending 4-5x for a 2* or 3* meal, the cooking there is as good as it gets.
Wow! I am going to Paris next week and it is probably too late to fit in. But next time it will be a priority!
Do they still do the really cheap fried pork sandwiches for lunch? I remember that was phenomenal.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#285 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » February 17th, 2020, 1:44 pm

Will be back in Paris this coming weekend with an exciting line up of eating and drinking establishments, some familiar, some new to me. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle last night so my usual walk everywhere plan will need some adjusting. :(
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#286 Post by Michel Abood » February 18th, 2020, 1:09 am

Friday I didn't just drink Champagne, but I went to Champagne, to see Champagne Fleury, which we import. On the way back I got stuck in Valentine's Day traffic and had to change my plans. I ended up meeting up with a friend from school who lives in Paris and popping into Cave Paul Bert (which was fine but the music was not working so the vibe was odd). After a refreshing glass of Jousset Mosquito we went over to Caves Septime for some real bubbles (Champagne Lassaigne Vignes de Montgueux, one of my favorites) and snacks, then over to Clamato for dinner. I haven't been back there in years, and I am happy to report it was firing on all cylinders, even on the craziness that is Valentine's Day. We sat at the bar and ordered a bunch of dishes, each one delicious (I am still dreaming of the bulots (sea snails)). The wine list veers natural but clean, which I like, and our choice, the Valentin Morel Les Pieds sur la Terre Cremant du Jura Brut Nature went perfectly with all our dishes.

I know it's not the "it" place anymore, but Clamato's still great.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#287 Post by Robert Dentice » February 18th, 2020, 10:15 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
February 17th, 2020, 1:44 pm
Will be back in Paris this coming weekend with an exciting line up of eating and drinking establishments, some familiar, some new to me. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle last night so my usual walk everywhere plan will need some adjusting. :(
Sorry to hear about the injury! Excited to hear read about the trip! Funny how Paris seems to cure all aches and pains : )
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#288 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » February 18th, 2020, 10:41 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 10:15 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
February 17th, 2020, 1:44 pm
Will be back in Paris this coming weekend with an exciting line up of eating and drinking establishments, some familiar, some new to me. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle last night so my usual walk everywhere plan will need some adjusting. :(
Sorry to hear about the injury! Excited to hear read about the trip! Funny how Paris seems to cure all aches and pains : )
Thanks, Robert! I'm feeling better already. :) I hurt it carrying ridiculous amounts of sake, so at least it was for a good cause.

I will definitely report back post trip!
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#289 Post by M.Kaplan » February 18th, 2020, 12:03 pm

Ouch. Hope you mend before you get to Paris. Have a great trip!
---Mark

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#290 Post by Michel Abood » February 19th, 2020, 5:52 am

Sunday I joined industry folks for a few drinks at Caves Septime (once again completely overrun with Americans but still fantastic), then headed over to Cheval D'Or for dinner. After hearing so much about it, I was eager to see what they could do. And I was not disappointed.

The place was packed with F&B industry folks, and service was fun and warm (though it helped that we were all in the biz, I am sure, and everyone knew each other). Wine list is very well chosen and priced, very much on the natural side. We ordered a ton of dishes as we were a large group and we got there late (10pm) so the kitchen was closing soon and we had to hurry. The food was overall very good - only one dish had too much oil, the dumpling soup, but frankly I'm nitpicking - with some super bright spots (I am usually not a fan of brains but I had a bite of their dish and it was mind-blowing - pun intended). Flavors are bright, mixing Asian and French/European notes, salt is used in moderation (I'm super sensitive to this in restaurants as they tend to oversalt to lift flavors - I don't mind butter for the same purpose however...), and the presentations are lovely (with a part-Japanese wife and full on Japanese mother-in-law I've become very attuned to this). I left very sated but not full, which is something I appreciate now more and more as I get older and my metabolism slows despite my best efforts...

Looking forward to revisiting on my next trip to Paris to see how they've evolved.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#291 Post by Robert Dentice » February 19th, 2020, 6:26 am

Love Cheval d' Or! I felt the same way I had been hearing so much about it that I was worried that it might not live up but it did and then some.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#292 Post by Michel Abood » February 19th, 2020, 7:01 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 6:26 am
Love Cheval d' Or! I felt the same way I had been hearing so much about it that I was worried that it might not live up but it did and then some.
Exactly. It didn't hurt that it was a semi-official industry night (I was actually with your friend Atsushi and my friend Wendy Lyn - well, they barged in on my RSVP, but I forgave them ;) ).
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#293 Post by Robert Dentice » February 19th, 2020, 7:12 am

Michel Abood wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 7:01 am
Robert Dentice wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 6:26 am
Love Cheval d' Or! I felt the same way I had been hearing so much about it that I was worried that it might not live up but it did and then some.
Exactly. It didn't hurt that it was a semi-official industry night (I was actually with your friend Atsushi and my friend Wendy Lyn - well, they barged in on my RSVP, but I forgave them ;) ).
Too bad you are not in NYC. Atsushi is doing a collab with Atomix next week which should be great.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#294 Post by Michael Klein » February 19th, 2020, 2:34 pm

Great updates here! I need to get back to Paris. Michel, those shots of Septime La Cave bring me back - sigh, I love that spot. It's truly one of the only wine bars ive ever loved. Would kill for a place like that in Chicago.

Clamato - i need to get there too!

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#295 Post by Michel Abood » February 19th, 2020, 4:17 pm

Robert Dentice wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 7:12 am
Michel Abood wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 7:01 am
Robert Dentice wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 6:26 am
Love Cheval d' Or! I felt the same way I had been hearing so much about it that I was worried that it might not live up but it did and then some.
Exactly. It didn't hurt that it was a semi-official industry night (I was actually with your friend Atsushi and my friend Wendy Lyn - well, they barged in on my RSVP, but I forgave them ;) ).
Too bad you are not in NYC. Atsushi is doing a collab with Atomix next week which should be great.
I know, we spoke about upcoming projects and he invited me to that, sadly I'll be in culinary Hell (ie San Diego).
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#296 Post by Michel Abood » February 24th, 2020, 4:18 pm

All good things must come to an end, so after a debaucherous Monday night at Ma Cave Fleury, I was up for a quiet lunch last Tuesday before flying back to the US. The area around my apartment in the 9th has exploded with tons of small boutiques and cool restaurants, many of them clustered around Rue des Martyrs. As one of my local friends put it, it's on it's way to becoming the new 11th.

One of these, Pompette, is run by an acquaintance, Jess Hodges, an Australian expat I met last year at the now-gone Korus as wine director. This small cozy restaurant serves pretty good food and their lunch menu is nicely-priced. As usual, the wine list leans heavily towards natural wines, but clean ones. My meal with an old friend and her son was a nice, relaxing send-off in a warm atmosphere accompanied by a glass of well-chosen Champagne.

Can't wait to get back to Paris, I miss her already. Le sigh...

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#297 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » February 26th, 2020, 6:20 am

Returned on Monday from a quick 4 day solo trip to Paris where, needless to day, I dined well. Here are some quick notes:

Du Pain et des Ideess - I broke a 7 week no carb streak here with the pain des amies and an escargot with pistachio and chocolate, my only pastry of the trip. I meant to buy some butter to go with the pain, but ended up devouring it plain on the spot.
Both were excellent, a gem of a bakery. I just wish they were open on weekends.

Septime - there's not much more to say about this place that hasn't already been said. It's a strong contender for best casual restaurant in the world. I loved every dish and worked with the somm to find something I could drink given my general aversion to natural wine.

Le Saint Sebastien - should be on everyone's B+ list for Paris. Friendly, relaxed, comfortable, with very good food and a nice mixed wine list. The chicken, cabbage and black truffle dish was a real standout. The staff was among the most relaxed, friendly and comfortable of the trip. There's too much competition to make it an A list contender in Paris, but sometimes one doesn't want A list. On a rainy first night in Paris, after lunch at Septime, I wanted friendly, warm, relaxed and satisfying, which is exactly what I got. I will definitely go back.

Mokonuts - I had a bad experience here from the start. As a single diner, I was put at a corner table, with the sun directly in my eyes, an incredibly uncomfortable tiny stool to sit on, and no way to lean back (one side was a pipe sticking out, the other a window casement). I understand why I was put there, but it didn't help. The woman who runs front of house is pretty abrasive, and she was very annoyed when I (politely) asked for a glass of wine that was fresh, would match the food and that was not "too strongly natural," said with a smile. I did this at many restaurants, and all the staff were very happy to accommodate. The somm at Septime even said "thank you for telling me, that's very helpful!" The woman at Mokonuts got pissed and said sarcastically "well, this IS a natural wine restaurant, you know." Then, when I didn't like the first wine she poured, she tried to make me finish it anyway ("I'm going to ask you to finish that") so she wouldn't have to bring a new glass for the second. I get it that you want me to reuse the glass, but the wine was terrible! Why would I want to finish it? She got angry again when I poured it into my water glass, and gave a huge sigh but brought me another water glass. After that the food was almost incidental. It was good. The seasoning was inconsistent and some components of a dish had gotten cold by the time the protein was added hot. Everything was made with very good ingredients, but nothing was exciting or special. I was also clearly being rushed out, with two courses arriving at the same time when all other tables were coursed out. I would not go back, but I am sure others have had very different experiences here.

L'avant Comptoir de la Mer - I was so irritated by Mokonuts that I walked 45 minutes, despite a sprained ankle, over to Odeon and had a glass of wine and small dish here, along with bread and butter, of course. As always, everything was great - the service (no complaints at all when I gave the same explanation of what I wanted in a wine), the wine, the food, the congenial diners around me. My mood improved considerably.

Vantre - polar opposite experience to the afternoon. I arrived a few minutes before the restaurant opened, but they immediately let me in and seated me at a good table, though I would have taken a counter seat without complaint. Everyone was extremely friendly, helpful and easy going. The wine list is very good indeed, and Marco knows it top to bottom. He is also a stickler about storage, so you know you'll be getting excellent provenance. I ordered two bottles because I wanted both red and white, and we all joked about the appetites of American women. I shared a glass from each with neighboring tables and brought some of each back to my room with me. The food was very good, well thought out and executed without being fussy. I thought the pigeon and foie gras pie was as good as I ever had at Clown Bar. I will absolutely be going back.

Les Enfants du Marché - I walked by around 10:30 and chatted for a minute with staff, confirming that they opened at 12, then strolled around for a bit before returning at 11:45 to find they were already serving. Great! Once again, no issues at all getting a wine I enjoyed sans snark, and which matched well with the mussels, mackerel, and sea urchin (that's 3 dishes, not all in one) that I ordered. Everything was delicious, except the citrus used on the mackerel had too much pith for me, so was extremely bitter. The fish itself was excellent. I was skeptical about the gorgonzola emulsion on the mussels, but found it worked very well. I wish the stools weren't quite so uncomfortable. Normally I wouldn't mind standing the whole time, but having ruined my ankle the day before I wasn't up to it. Small complaint, though, for what is one of the true treats in Paris. When I left about an hour later, there were still seats open, though when I came back the next day closer to 2:00 PM they were slammed, FYI.

Le Cheval d'Or - as others have written recently, this is an excellent addition to the Paris scene, and a nice change of pace flavor-wise from my meals up to that point. I had my only natural wine failure here, though. I ordered a bottle which I ended up not liking at all. The initial nose, which I liked, disappeared after a minute or two and was replaced by that natural funk I dislike. When I saw the next door table ordering the same bottle, I turned to them and offered them mine, saying I was happy to pay for it, as I wasn't going to drink mine. I assured them the failure was in my taste, not that of the wine. They took it happily and, in the end, the restaurant picked it up, which was very kind. I liked my second bottle a lot more. The food was very good. I thought the cervelle de veau was superb, one of the best dishes of the trip for me, and I liked the DIY bao enough to order a second round instead of dessert, which everyone thought was terribly funny. I thought the food in general could have used a touch more acid to give it more bounce and energy - other than the brains, the flavors were every so slightly flat - but I'm splitting hairs as I enjoyed every dish, I just think a small adjustment could raise the excitement level. I liked the room, the lighting, the staff, and the vibe very much. Will definitely go back.

Clamato - I met some friends here for lunch, and shared an excellent bottle of Selosse and the raw seafood platter. Unsurprisingly, everything was very good, with the whelks and sea urchin the standouts. Instead of ordering more, we decided to go to Les Enfants du Marché, as they'd never been there, though they are regular visitors to Paris. When we arrived at around 2, the place was slammed, but we were able to find a corner that had just been vacated and claimed it aggressively. When we ended up ordering a bunch of things, the server said he'd move us to a bigger space when something opened up, which was very nice. It was great to taste a few more dishes - the duck, which was a recommendation, and the abalone were the best. We had a bottle of Zidarich white, which I liked, and a red which I didn't like much, but was happy to have with the duck.

My final meal of the trip was at Maison Sota. I was happy to have chosen a fabulous outfit for the evening, as the space is gorgeous! Gorgeous, but a little odd - what's that huge first floor for? There's a big sofa in the middle of the room and a stack of cardboard boxes against the wall. The space was totally empty all evening. Are they going to do something with it eventually? Anyway....the upstairs is beautiful, as were the kitchen and the other diners. I was seated at the counter, by choice, right in front of the final prep station, so I was uniquely positioned to see almost every dish that went out (more on that later). I chose the larger menu, and was glad I did, as it included some very special dishes. The food is very well prepared, and using top notch ingredients, and generally delicious. To me, though, it was a little stodgy. So many foams! That oyster with a granite that every restaurant in Paris was doing more than 5 years ago. And, of course, the pigeon pie, which I'm sure chef is unable to escape at this point. I had read that chef spent a lot of time traveling and developing the menu, so I was a bit surprised that so many elements were throwbacks. I'm not really complaining as, again, the food was delicious. Just surprised. I am complaining a bit about inconsistencies in the service and prep. Several servers had no idea how to describe the dishes they delivered and had to check my menu - this was not a language thing, either, one of the worst offenders was American. When I finished my piece of bread, they removed the bread plate, which was fine, but left the rather large butter plate and knife for the rest of the meal. A few other things like that, little mistakes. Worst, though, was that the dishes I saw go out were very inconsistent. The turbot, in particular, was usually just kissed with smoke on the bintochan, and delivered still glistening white. My plate, and maybe one other round, were so charred as to look like pizza on the skin side, which resulted in overcooked fish as well as the wrong skin texture - wrong based on the fact that most plates were not like that. There were also huge swings in portions: for example, some plates of the uni and cabbage dish had a ton of uni, while others had only one or two tongues. Given the attention to detail in so many other aspects, I found these issues jarring. Perhaps they are growing pains? I liked the food, and found it well priced enough, that I will certainly go back to check things out.

I have to say I was astonished to see that the natural wine juggernaut is not improving at all in Paris. Rather it is getting worse and worse. I haven't been since 2018, and even since then it seems the number of places - restaurants, bars and stores - offering only natural wine, has grown. I honestly don't understand such extreme prejudice. It seems like fashion taken to a level that is no longer fun or even in anyone's best interest. Having a list like at Le Saint Sebastien seems like a much better idea - no customers will be alienated if you include some non-natural wines! Limiting selections to a philosophy rather than choosing great wines at a variety of price points just seems dumb. So many times, I wished for a Riesling....
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#298 Post by Robert Dentice » February 26th, 2020, 6:54 am

Excellent write up and in line with my thinking on all.

Sorry about Mokunuts I have never been but heard good things.

AND boy do I know the wishing for Riesling feeling! I am going to the Restaurant A.T x Atomix collab tonight and even though both are two of my favorite Chef's in the world I am most excited to be able to drink Riesling with Atsushi's food!
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#299 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » February 26th, 2020, 7:06 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 6:54 am
Excellent write up and in line with my thinking on all.

Sorry about Mokunuts I have never been but heard good things.

AND boy do I know the wishing for Riesling feeling! I am going to the Restaurant A.T x Atomix collab tonight and even though both are two of my favorite Chef's in the world I am most excited to be able to drink Riesling with Atsushi's food!
I'm jealous! I love Atsushi's food, but haven't gone back to A.T. as the list was seemingly impossible for us when we first went. I'm sure I'll try again.

I will be curious to hear what you think of Mokonuts when you make it there. I'm aware my experience probably wasn't typical, and put a bad spin on the food. But I honesty don't think the food was good enough to make me want to go back, with so many other options in Paris. If it were a local place here in Philly, we'd probably go often - right about that level, you know?
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Paris

#300 Post by Michel Abood » February 26th, 2020, 7:32 am

Glad to see you had a great time Sarah.

Sorry to hear about Mokonuts, I've only heard good things but have never been. I am jealous you made it to Saint Sebastien as that was on my list of places to visit and I never made it (same with Rigmarole but just as I landed they got their Michelin star so there was almost no way I was going to get in at the last minute). And I agree with you about Cheval D'Or, very good, with a dash of brightness on some dishes it would shine even more (also agree about the brains, I usually don't like them but here they were magical).

As for natural wines, I can tell you there are a lot of people following philosophy at the expense of taste (here in the US as well I might add), which is something that I detest. There's also a lot of chasing similar names which also drives me nuts. Especially as we import a fair amount of natural wines, but having been trained on the classics, I want our wines to taste like what they're supposed to, or at least good. And we've gotten castigated for it (my favorite was a buyer at a natural wine bar in Brooklyn telling me our natural wines were too clean [snort.gif] ). That said, telling the somm what you're looking for, as you did, should help them steer you away from the funk.
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