The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2010

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Page 59 of 100

ON THE ROAD Bistro Daze A PARIS DINING UPDATE P by Anthony Dias Blue aris is an eater’s paradise. For foodies, the City of Light belongs in the highest echelon of dining destinations, along with New York, London, Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Everywhere you turn there are restaurants (I counted thirteen of them on one random block), but you have to be careful in your choices; it’s easy to eat badly in Paris. One meaningful criticism that is leveled at Paris is that “it’s a food museum.” Some people who take their cuisine seriously think that Paris offers a view of the classic genres that hasn’t changed in years. From the surface that sometimes appears to be true, but if you look a little more deeply things are constantly chang- ing—and not always for the better. However, the city still offers amazing new fi nds, even for someone who goes there frequently. Here are some of the best experiences from my recent visit: There are a number of places in Paris where you go for just one dish; everything else on the menu is passable, but there is one crowning achievement that elevates the kitchen to stardom. Florimond (19 avenue de La Motte-Picquet, 7th arrondissement, 01-45-55-40-38) is just such a restaurant. The food served in the small dining room, which looks like your grandmother’s if she were French, is decent enough until the stuffed cabbage appears. This Auvergnat dish is magnifi - cent: one huge sphere stuffed with pork, veal, cabbage, onions and chard fl oating in a thick, meaty sauce. Incroyable! If you’re looking for the ultimate wine bar cum bistro the current darling is Bistro Paul Bert (18 rue Paul Bert, 11th arrondissement, 01-43-72-24-01). This could be a bistro stage set with its eclectic art, posters, books and raffi sh ambi- ance. The food can be great with eggs and morels in a cream sauce, rustic terrine and sweetbreads salad to start. There are exquisite stuffed pig’s foot and entrecôte with bone marrow and frites among mains. Save room for dessert, because the exquisite Paris-Brest is one of the most sublime pastries of all time. The wine list is, incidentally, quite terrifi c. Christian Constant is a legendary chef whose various protégés run some of the best places in Paris. The master himself has opened a tiny, whimsically-named place spe- cializing in seafood called Les Fables de La Fontaine (131 rue Saint Dominique, 7th arrondissement, 01-44-18-37-55). The menu changes frequently, but the quality of the prepara- tions is always beautiful, delicious and innovative. This place is the most exciting fi nd I made this year on my annual Paris visit. Finally, there’s Chez Dumonet (117 rue de Cherche-Midi, 6th arrondissement, 01-45-48-52-40) the wonderful bistro that was fi rst recommended to me by the late Johnny Apple, the delightful New York Times writer. Young chef Jean-Christian Dumonet is a star who really knows his way around a stove. His steaks and game birds are great, and don’t miss the herring, foie gras and the best souffl é anywhere. A great restaurant that offers half portions of most main courses.

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