Friday, March 28, 2008

Paris, Part 2: the food!

Le Suffren, 73 Avenue de Suffren 75007

Le Suffren is an old school brasserie in a very traditional neighborhood. It's Master P's dad's favorite place to go in Paris and it was just what we needed on our first night. What blew us away at Le Suffren was the steak tartare. I've eaten this quite a bit and this was the best we ever had. I attributed it to the super strong French mustard. Master P couldn't say. We both agreed it was phenomenal.

Les Pipos, 2 rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique 75005
Les Pipos is a very tiny, very rowdy restaurant. It also happens to be around the corner from where we used to live. Our friend, Alexis, a very big, very rowdy Norman, introduced us to this place back in 2002. I always knew I wanted to go back and I was thrilled that we did. They serve simple, traditional food. I think the menu was exactly the same as I remember it. Les Pipos is also the place where I first ate oysters and I had them again this time. French oysters are huge and briny and fantastic!

Bistro du Peintre, 116, Avenue Ledru Rollin 75011
I adore this restaurant. My good friend Lindsay (who was my roommate when I was a student in Paris) took Master P here in 2002. He took me and our two friends back when they visited us later that year and it always delivers.
This is a very traditional French bistro, but in an up and coming neighborhood, run by cute young guys wearing t-shirts and jeans. If it existed in NYC, I would say it would be in the LES.
We had the most enormous trenches of bone marrow. Again, I've had my fair share of bone marrow in NYC, but never like this. I felt like Fred Flintstone! But it was so good!

Pierre Herme, 72 rue Bonaparte 75006
I could not leave Paris without a visit to this extraodinary bakery. The owner used to work for Fauchon and left in the 1990's to open his own business. We got a box of macaron, in flavors ranging from chocolate to rose, and we devoured them!

La Cigale, 4 rue Récamier 75007
So I don't have a picture from La Cigale, but you're going to have to trust me. This is the most refined experience you'll have in Paris for under $200. They specialize in souffles and you should definitely order one, or two. For a starter a main or dessert. I had oysters (again) to start, a souffle for my main and Master P and I shared a dessert souffle.
La Cigale was the first time all week that we encountered Americans in a restaurant, but don't let this deter you. The clientele here is very sophisticated - mostly journalists and media types. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Le Rubis, 10, rue Marché St-Honore 75001

I had a long list of places that wanted to go to that were recommended by blogger and cookbook writer David Lebovitz. This was the only one we made it to, but it was fantastic. Le Rubis is a old school wine bar that serves sandwiches and small plates of cheese and charcouterie.
We stopped in here and shared a bottle of wine and some (more) delicious pork products. The place was packed with locals and some tourists, but was lively and fun. It's in a very chic neighborhood, but is very affordable. It's definitely worth a stop for a very French experience.

Les Cocottes, 135, rue Saint-Dominique 75001
Our last dinner in Paris was at Les Cocottes, which I had read about in Metropolitan Home Magazine. I was a little concerned that it would be a total scene and filled with tourists, but it was, by far, the best dinner of the entire trip.
A cocotte is a type of little cast iron pot that is traditionally used for cooking in the south of France. Master P and I thought that this place was a little "New York", but that was a good thing. It was a new space that didn't have traditional tables. We sat at a counter and our server waited on us from behind it. Though the feeling was casual, the service was outstanding. We never had to ask for a single thing - our water was always re-filled, etc. I contributed this to the fact that our waiter was "trapped" behind the counter, but the result was a fantastic experience.
And the food? The food was sheer bliss. Following with the homey nature of the cocottes, the food was rustic, but (and this was the thing that made me feel like this was a "New York-style" restaurant) elevated. I had a perfect braised lamb shoulder. Master P had confit potatoes stuffed with shredded pig's feet and a little frisee salad. Everything was served in a little cocotte, so when the salad was added to Master P's dish, it wilted a little bit and the mustard-y, vinegar-y salad cut through the fat from the potatoes and pork. Perfect.

Ah, so that was our trip to Paris. A little bit about the shopping, but mostly about the food. I hope that my recommendations help you when you take your next (first!) trip to Paris!


Veronique said...

Wow, you really did your homework before going out! *drool*
Hey, my cousin lives on avenue Ledru Rollin :)

laxcdg said...

Rebecca, you are a great travel essayist. Quit your day job and hit the road!

madame artsy said...

mmmm macaroons from a post-fauchonian! Jealous you were just there.