lundi 20 avril 2009

From one end of the city to the other

I admit that we’re pretty spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants in the neighborhood. That’s why whenever there is an opportunity to step out of our comfort zone, we don’t hesitate to grab it. Two recent occasions required us to find restaurants in the 15th and the 17th arrondissements and it was a great chance to test some new restaurants that we wouldn’t otherwise necessarily get the chance to try.

Afaria in the 15th is located just between Convention and Porte de Versailles. It’s a handy address to keep in mind if you were to find yourself hungry at the end of a visit at any of the on going fairs and exhibitions at the Porte de Versailles exhibition halls. After stints at Le Carré des Feuillants and Drouant Chef Julien Duboué finally decided to set up his own place with a bold emphasis on Southwestern cuisine; a fact which was greatly celebrated by numerous food critics. The decor is simple with warm earth tones and wooden tables. The clientele from what I could see and deduce seemed like people from the neighborhood. Despite the neighborhood feel of the place, service was a bit on the snooty side though I think this just depends on which person waits on you. The person who took our orders was more on the snooty side while her colleague was a bit friendlier. The menu is divided into 5 themes---Les Sudistes for food from the South, Retour du Voyage for cuisine inspired by other parts of the world, Petite Appetit, if you were watching what you eat, A Partager, for sharing and Produits Nobles. Each theme has its own entrée, plat and dessert but fortunately you’re free to mix and match as you please. Oh and before I forget there is a separate tapas bar menu which looks extremely promising too but isn’t served at the regular tables. Given that we were there at lunch, we tried to be reasonable and go for the plat du jour which in our case was a hearty Southern style casserole of meat and vegetables slow cooked till the meat was falling of the bone tender. It was rich and flavorful though it was not by any means light! The other choice was a pan fried veal chops served on its bed of potatoes which was as well quite tasty though again on the heavy side. Nonetheless, the veal was cooked just right without being too or under done. Dessert was a beautiful chocolate soufflé served with a side of apple sauce. Delicious to say that least and we staggered out of the restaurant with our bellies quite full.

We had barely recovered from our lunch when it was time for dinner. This time our destination was L’Accolade. The restaurant is headed by Chef Sebastian Altazin who trained at the Guy Savoy and Michel Rostang. Given such prestigious training and an area that is renowned as being rather pricey, we were happily surprised to find that the restaurant proposes a complete menu comprising of entrée, plat and dessert for 32 euros. The décor is tasteful and the ambiance cozy. You can easily have a romantic dinner here or a nice dinner with friends or family. And remarkably enough the staff was nothing but nice and the service was faultless. Even without having had a bite to eat yet, I already liked the place! The menu is tailored to reflect the season although there are some staples like the Oreilles de cochon croustillant (or crunchy pig ears---less elegant when translated) and the tartare de thon rouge for the starters. Both starters proved to be a hit. For those who prefer a lighter starter, there is also a vegetable millefeuille interspersed with mozzarella. Not the most innovative but fresh and light. For our plat, we went for the risotto with scallops and it was just wonderful. The risotto had just the right amount of consistency, neither too wet nor too dry, and with just enough parmesan to complement and round off the juicy scallops. Other dishes we tried that night was the beef filled pie and the rognon de veau which judging from our friends satisfied expressions were quite good. As for dessert, I was trying to walk the path of the straight and narrow but succumbed to the temptation. My only concession to my figure was to share the dessert and to choose the crumble aux poire (a pear pie) served with a side of caramel ice cream rather than the fondant au chocolat. I realize that this isn’t much of an effort but I have no regrets. The pie was absolutely yummy and I could’ve devoured the whole thing myself! Definitely an address worth going back to!

Practical Details

15 rue Desnouettes

75015 Paris

Tel : 01 48 56 15 36

Metro: Convention

17, rue Guillaume Tell

75017 Paris

01 42 67 12 67

Metro: Perreire

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