When I arrived in Paris, my hostess mentioned to me that there was a place very close by that was quite lovely, low key, not expensive, and run by a celebrity chef. I tucked this information away in the back of my mind, and one night when I decided that I wanted to eat dinner that wasn’t just baguette, meats/cheeses and a whole bottle of wine to myself, I headed over there. After a brief wait, they settled me into a table – where it seemed like everyone was like “une personne? oui?” with incredulity and shock. Maybe a little judgment. But eh, so what – I can’t be bothered with people who want to question why an American girl would be dining alone in Paris.
Plus it was like 5 EU and eh.
I started off with a plate of charcuterie, figuring it would be a nice little nibble to start – 15 EU – so when it came, I was pretty surprised at how huge it was. Two different types of terrine/pate, three types of sliced meats, pickled items, and bread. I was also surprised to not receive mustard or anything of the sort, but didn’t feel much inclined to bug the server as it was (who was really dismissive of my attempts to speak French to him). Everything was super tasty – I particularly enjoyed the sausages – but there was no way I could finish it all. Given my dislike of waste, and knowing that I’d likely have another meal or two at home with baguette and wine, I asked to take it to go… which REALLY shocked my server and threw him in a judgy tizzy. I knew the word in French for it – “emporter” is take out/to go – but he just seemed completely confused that I’d want it to go. After discussion with a manager, they decided to wrap it in plastic wrap and handed me the lump to sit on my table while I enjoyed the rest of my meal.
Unfortunately, this is the only photo I took of my main course: skate, ‘raie’ en francais. A fish that I’ve enjoyed in the past, but not loved… this was hands down, without any doubt, the best skate I’ve ever had. It was thicker (which is hard to see in the photo) than any I’d had before, and as a result, much meatier and still so tender. The flesh striations are the long way, as opposed to most fish, which leads to elongated pieces that you can pluck from the fish… and just wonderful, amazing flavor. I’ve recently been obsessed with cooking with olives, and the tomato puree underneath was almost puttanesca-like; tomato flecked with olives and onions… it was delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed every last bit – though I will note that there was a long fin-bone still within the fish, this may be a cultural thing (that doesn’t fly here in the US, but it may just be acceptable there, and that’s fine – I didn’t choke on it or otherwise hurt myself.
Though I was fairly full by this point, I decided to peek at the dessert menu and for whatever reason, a chocolate dessert spoke to me. Those who know me will know this is unusual, but I went with it.
Sometimes you just gotta go with it.
A simple chocolate mousse that I believe was listed as the house specialty… it was airy, light, but deeply chocolatey and just wonderful. I scraped that little cup completely clean, and was sorely tempted to stick my tongue in it to get the last of it out. Oh my word… great choice.
The entire meal cost me 50 EU, which I thought was alright, until I met a Parisian the next day who told me I’d way overpaid at this tourist/celebrity chef lover trap. Boo. It doesn’t matter, though – I thoroughly enjoyed my meal, and would certainly happily recommend it to anyone. It was a great meal, and, as it turned out, the only time I went out for dinner in Paris.
53 boulevard de Grenelle