My Parisian Restaurant Map

Monday, November 26, 2012

Au RDV des Camionneurs

Every once in a while, my teaching day job finally pays off.

For example, the day that I learned that my new student was Chef Patrice Hardy, owner and chef of both La Truffe Noire in Neuilly and Au Rendez-vous des Camionneurs on Ile de la Cite, was a particularly delightful one.

Little did he know that when he extended me the probably now routine invitation to come to one of his restaurants one day and give him a call beforehand that I would actually be taking him up on his offer much sooner rather than later. (I had of course kept my restaraunt reviewer extraordinaire secret identity, well...secret).

So off we went to the beautiful Ile de la Cite, a scenic yet not necessarily 'happening' place to put Hardy's fledgling bistro experiment that was to follow the already well established Truffe Noire.

The bistro itself is nestled at the edge of the Parisian island, tucked away in a forgotten street corner...

...and the decor is cozy-chic. I don't know if that even exists, but if it does, I'm certain it's a Parisian who invented it.

 The menu itself is rather interesting. I had heard that it boasts some rather plentiful piggy platters, but I was surprised to discover that my favorite dish on the menu was a seared tuna steak with 'asian spices'. I'll admit it's not the most obvious choice on the menu of a French bistro, which is why I myself didn't order it, however I was by far the most jealous to have not done so once I got a bite of it from one of my co-conspirators.

Equally surprising was the croque monsieur with haddock, goats cheese and and smoked herring eggs.

 On to the main dishes, I thought it a great twist to have a risotto with sot l'y laisse (remember my post on that a few years back?). Then there was the absolutely stunning blanquette de joue de veau which is apparently the same recipe as at the Truffe Noire and honestly, by far the creamiest, tastiest, tenderest one that I've ever eaten. And I've eaten a lot of them, trust me.

My main dish was by far the most beautifully presented, yet somehow the most dissapointing. Don't get me wrong, it was a delicious compilation of scallops on a bed of leeks, presented in the actual shell that was shut by a roll of pastry dough to create a sort of sea food vacuum pack effect. The scallops were cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection, but it lacked seasoning, which couldn't even be corrected by the very light curry sauce served with it.

The chocolate tartlet for dessert was like a chocolate moelleux, but with a flaky homemade pie crust. The pistachio creme was good, but not as earth shattering as the tartlet.

The best part of this bistro is that for the digestif, they just put the entire bottle of calvados on your table and let you serve yourself. I'm not sure if that was because I was getting special treatment (which I doubt) or because they really are passionate about making people's bellies feel happy.

As for the cost, we went all out, ordering 3 courses à la carte, plus loads of scrumptious Bourgorgne wine (very reasonably priced), plus digestifs, so it was pretty pricey- around 70 euros per person. But if you are a little less gluttonous than me, you can have the 36 euro menu for 3 courses.

Au RDV des Camionneurs
72 Quai des Orfevres, 75001
Tél : 01 43 29 78 81

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Le Chardenoux

I recently went for a languid Sunday lunch to Chardenoux, Cyril Lignac's bistro in the 11th arrondisement.

If you didn't know any better, you would mistake it for one of the usual Parisian corner bistros, which is the image that it is desperately trying to convey. One look at the menu though and the prices will quickly tip you off to it's more privileged status.

Now I do not own a TV so I do not watch French cooking programs, which means that I don't bear the same hatred for Lignac as most Parisians seem to. I guess this made me slightly more objective when I was stuffing delicious morsels of plume Iberique in my mouth.

Firstly, the bistro itself is beautiful. Its art deco interior, golden mouldings and painted ceilings are somewhat reminiscent of Le Train Bleu, and has the capacity to transport the diners back to the 1920's. The food is scrumptious: typical bistro fare like cote de boeuf or ris de veau figure on the menu, but their preparation and presentation is far beyond what you expect to get at any local resto. The dishes are creative twists on the usual classics, and a quick glance into the kitchen revealed a staggering array of copper pots and pans, which is always a good sign in my book. Even the service is delightful. The wine list is long, but definitely not the most impressive part of the experience. Better to stick with one of the cheaper bottles (starting at around 28 euros), than splurge on one of the more expensive yet not necessarily better vintages.

All in all, Chardenoux was a lovely surprise. A family bistro (notably full of old people, also always a good sign) preparing the classics while taking them to a completely new level of refinement, the decor is beautiful but the prices are on the high side if you order a la carte. I would definitely recommend going for lunch during the week where they have a good prix fixe menu for around 30 euros for 3 courses. And do be sure to reserve well ahead.

Le Chardenoux
1 Rue Jules Valles, 75011 Paris
Metro: Faidherbe-Chaligny (line 8)
01 43 71 49 52

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Parisian Restaurant Map

You'll notice a new feature that I've added to the top of the page: my Parisian restaurant map.

The little pinpoints are restaurants that I love or am hoping to go to very soon. This way, the next time you're looking for a restaurant in Paris, you can search for one based on where you are or where you're going to be.