Saturday, 13 February 2010

David's Visit

Three more Paris restaurants, one of which is a keeper

My brother David had business in Europe and made a short trip to Paris between meetings. Unfortunately, I could not control the weather because it was snowy and freezing everyday, but that did not stop us from dining at three disparate-level restaurants. The first is a favorite that was highly recommended by my dentist and the second were mediocre at best.

Le Bistrot de L'Alycastre was by far the best choice. I have already written about this place. The welcome is warm and the crowded restaurant is cosy. I started with simply grilled razor clams that were topped with a spicy tomato-lemon garnish and David had a carpaccio of bass that was quite delicious. Both of us had fish for our main courses. I had a dramatically presented flambée of St. Pierre subtly flavored with orange that was surprisingly delicious, and David had flaked cod served over roughly mashed potatoes with truffle oil. Both were superb. The wines by the glass were excellent as were the desserts: a fantastic dark chocolate soup (served at room temperature)garnished with whipped cream, and a lovely apricot-pistachio tart.

From there, it was downhill all the way. Our second dinner was at the much hyped highly successful Les Itineraires. I have been to this restaurant five times and have never really enjoyed my meal. You ask, why did I go back yet again? That is a good question. Everyone raves about it so much, I continue to want to give it a chance but after the recent fiasco, I will never go back. No need to write about the overly precious ultra creative dishes that we had from a quite unappealing list of choices (risotto of oysters and passion fruit??). Suffice it to say that this restaurant is wholeheartedly not recommended.

For our third dinner, we went to the Jacques Cagna La Rotisserie d'en Face. We started with delicious mache salads. I had a wonderfully-prepared grilled salmon topped with a variety of peppercorns that added zing, and David had roast chicken with mashed potatoes. The food was very good, but nothing that you could not make at home in 30 minutes. It seemed a shame to spend all that money on grandma's cuisine. Service was excellent and the atmosphere was relaxing. Next time I will be more adventuresome in my choices at this place. The desserts are wonderful.

Amici Miei

Excellent Italian restaurant just around (my) corner

It is quite amazing that I had not been to this restaurant before, as it is literally two minutes from my house and has been recommended by friends. Pizza, Pasta, Salads, Mains are all beautifully prepared and delicious. In fact, I have been twice in two weeks and am going back for dinner. The overall cuisine harkens from Sardinia with its characteristic flavorful red sauces. The pizzas remind me of the thin cracker-crusted pizzas of Rome and come with a variety of delicious toppings. I had an authentic Sardinian dish: tiny balls of semolina tossed in a seafood tomato sauce with succulent langoustines and plump sauteed mushrooms. The service is efficient and friendly. To top it off, prices are quite reasonable. This is going to be a hangout of mine from now on.