Last year I passed by the Pré Verre almost every week, but never actually ventured to go there. I had heard great things about its inventive cuisine, supported by its frequent mention in guides and reviews, so when a group of friends were staying not to far from it I decided to take the plunge and make reservations. I hate to say it, but I was disappointed. My friends weren't - I didn't tell them, and they had a whirlwind weekend in Paris and I'm sure even a disappointing Pré Verre can't compare to what they would have back home - but I expected better.
The menu (please excuse the glare, click to enlarge)So maybe it's just me, but already none of the appetizers look really that appetizing. Pea guacamole? I'll pass. The "oeuf olsen" was just soup with an egg cracked in it; the crab soup was decent; and the asparagus was disgusting. Sorry. This is what I got and it was just plain gross. After being in France for this long I am no longer picky; I choose my meals carefully and if I have no choice I suck it up (I ate a tongue terrine on Monday!). But there is no getting past the letdown that was the "blanc mange de fromage" with asparagus - cold, sliced asparagus coated with poppy (this made me gag) and topped with a round of a fromage blanc-mix. I love fromage blanc; I love asparagus; but this was just plain bleh.
So let's move on to the main courses, which were actually fine. I got the lamb, which was good - tender and plentiful, accompanied with a lemony-curry mix. The two fish plates were on the table, and they were also great - one friend especially appreciated the presence of quinoa as a side. Another friend got the suckling pig, which he was happy with *except* for the slight derivation from the menu, which described the accompanying cabbage as crunchy but was actually quite mushy.
Now to the desserts (click to enlarge): We got all four so I can provide you with a recap of each. The definite winner is the "truffade de chocolat" which is like a thick fudgy chocolate cake, served with ice cream. The losers? All the wierd sorbets - beet and parsley, no thanks! When I initially read about these I was intrigued; I will never forget the strawberry & red bell pepper dessert I had at sketch, which was not only unusual but darn good. The parsley sorbet with strawberries and the pineapples with beet sorbet were unusual, but unfortunately for us, not yummy. The last dessert on the table was the rhubarb-sauce (like applesauce, but made with rhubarb - it looks like red celery) with white chocolate, which was fine.
Other elements of my disappointment were the sparse wine selection (only 2 red wines to choose from?!) and the mix up when we got the bill. First mistake: the 35€ coffee. Right. They took it off, and then we realized that they had added an additional entrée and main dish. Oops! It was really wierd - we had to go through everything with the manager, but it finally got taken off. Even though I'm not in the US, I would think that after something like that they would at least comp the coffee, or do something little to say sorry. I understand that everyone makes mistakes - but twice?! And mistakes that totaled 50€+? Not a great ending. I will not be going back, nor would I recommend this restaurant. There aren't that many choices on the menu or for wine, the appetizers suck, and the desserts aren't too hot either. If you just want to tell people that you tried beet ice cream - go for it. Otherwise, go elsewhere for a better meal for the same price.
Le Pré Verre
8, rue Thénard
01 43 54 59 47