The last residual post…I am back in the US now.
Not wanting a repetition of our earlier dining disappointments in Paris we made sure to have reservations for our last 4 evening meals. We came back to Paris from Italy with dinners already scheduled at fancy places found on a TimeOut list of Parisian favorites. But after 3 days of Parisian favorites we discovered that these kinds of restaurants are probably: A. REALLY expensive, B. Not so much what we wanted to experience food-wise, and C. Probably not so much what we wanted ambiance-wise.
The first 2 nights were good, the restaurants chic but the food seemed to be more or less conceptual rather than toothsome, and the restaurants were really cramped. The penultimate (Oh, God, I actually used that word) night we ate at some fancy place whose name escapes me, just off the quay on the Left Bank. The first course which we shared was a few cubes of raw tuna on a plate smeared with humous, dotted with halved cherry tomatoes, dusted with bacon dust (?!) and sprinkled with shiso leaves. Stop the insanity. Just before we were served le plat (main course) a woman sat down at the table next to us, which is to say practically in my lap, whose coat reeked so badly of mildew that it was hard not to gag. I am not sure what one does at that point. The place was the size of a shoe box, there was no where else to go. Mentally, I wrote Ms Manners and she really had no good suggestions either. The meal was good enough, a pork thing sauced with something red, tubes of pasta filled with cheese on a bed of ground mushrooms, covered with small, wild champignons and dusted with chervil. Actually it was probably parsley but chervil sounds less sane.
The Royal Indian Mounted Food Control Police dined on mold-scented I’m not sure what. But it was conceptual and pretty in a weird way. The dessert, also conceptual and mold-scented, was warm and cold. Cold quenelles of dark chocolate gelato next to room temperature quenelles of milk chocolate fondant. Dotted with mint gelées, sprinkled with chopped roasted peanuts and chocolate crispy things. It tasted good but the warm and cold thing was weird. And the mint jelly deals…sorry, toothpaste. May as well have squirted it with Crest which has been shown to be an effective decay preventive dentifrice.
So the last night we ended up canceling our reservation at the Top 25 place and headed instead to Gallopin, a 150 year old Paris institution. The paté en croute was right straight out of this world. The chicken something-or-other fermier on potato puree was great. The wine with the unlikely name of Chateau le Crock was fabulous. And while it may not make the list of top 25 for Parisians, the place was spacious enough that a moldy lady could have been sitting nearby and we’d never have known.