Sunday, April 23, 2006

Second Helpings

Alright, so I'm just going to give a quick recap of my second visits to these restaurants.

La Tartine (Read about my first visit here)
Exactly the same. Once again, very spotty service (we started with an unbelievably rude waiter, but eventually the manager - much nicer but equally neglectful - took over). This time we actually tried the tartines, which were excellent. I got a goat cheese and herbed tomato one, which was delicious. The bread was just crunchy enough on the outside, the cheese was perfectly melted, and the herbs gave so much flavor. The other tartine was the roasted eggplant, pepper, and mozzerella one - equally delicious. We also got a big salad - and I mean big - called the "Auvergnate" which had cheese, jambon de bayonne, potatoes, eggs and all sorts of yummy stuff. In spite of the horrible service I will probably go back just because the food is so good for so cheap, and because it's the perfect place to stop by if you're ever in the area since it has nonstop service.

Le Gallopin (Read about my first visit here)
Wayyy better! The first time I went I didn't get to truly appreciate the Gallopin because of all the Valentine's nonsense. Going back allowed me to see their true options, which offer great value. They also have an express menu, for 19,50€, where you have the plate of the day, a choice of a few desserts, wine, and coffee. Wow. This would be the way to go if you like the plate of the day. I got the Gallopin sucré menu (plat + dessert), with one of the daily specials - "fricasée du pêcheur" - which was a delicious seafood medley. There were mussels, shrimp, redsnapper, monkfish, and cod, served over risotto. Other main dishes were the sole meunière, which the waiter skillfully prepared, and another fish plate that escapes me at the moment. For dessert I got the crème brûlée, which was perfection. The cream was so light and perfectly mixed! We also got the crèpes flambées, which were a delight because they made them right in front of us. These were served with a lemon and orange reduction and topped with the zest.

Once again the service was excellent, but this time we had a waiter who went above and beyond the call of duty. He was so nice and friendly. Case in point: only one person at the table had ordered the full menu, beginning with Rockfish soup. This came in a massive serving bowl, with enough for the whole table. The waiter kindly offered to bring out bowls and spoons for the entire group, so that we could all partake! We accepted his offer, and thanks to him I can tell you that the Rockfish soup is another winner.

Also, for those with kids - they *do* have a kids menu. Salmon or steak with french fries for 10€. Not a bad deal for a Parisian restaurant, and the portions were about the same size as the adults!

Senderens (read my about my first visit here)
Well, some things were better, some things were worse, and some things stayed the same. Our group included kids; when I called to make reservations I asked what they could do and they told me that they would make something special for the kids; when I called to confirm I checked about the kids' meals and they assured me that it was marked down and that we wouldn't be disappointed; when we arrived they acted like it was the first time they had ever heard anything about kids. I was mildly upset, to say the least, because I would not have made reservations if they didn't have anything for the kids (Le Cinq has a 3 course kids meal at 20€ - so it is done at fancy places in Paris). I talked to our waiter and the manager and guess what he kindly offered "Well, we do have chicken on the menu." Because it makes sense to order a 30€+ dish for an 8-year-old. They eventually agreed to do half portions (for half the price) of anything on the menu, but I was disappointed because I expected something different based on previous phone conversations. Perhaps I was expecting too much, and the kids were happy, so it turned out fine.

The amuse-bouche wasn't that great this time, either. Last time I had been amazed by the sea urchin risotto served in its shell; this time we were privy to a cold pea and asparagus purée served in a shot glass. Not the high point of our experience. My main dish, however, was awesome. I got the tempura cod, served with tempura celery and leaves. The batter was light, crunchy, and kept the fish nice and moist. Even the celery leaves were yummy when encased in it! Other plates on the table were the Apicious duck, the redsnapper, and the turbot. The kids got the chicken and the scallops (it's what I got last time), no complaints :)

And the real reason to go back to Senderens: The infamous millefeuille, just as good as ever.
Other desserts were the platter of sorbets - you get a whopping SIX different flavors! - which included classics like chocolate and raspberry as well as stranger ones like ginger; and a Madong chocolate napoléon which was a thin, upright square of a thick chocolate cake, coated in dark chocolate and topped with gold leaf. It looked amazing!

Plan on ~75€ for a 3 course meal (drinks NOT included), which is normal for lunch at a 2-starred restaurant but a bargain for dinner.

Whew! That's a lot of eating - I'm restauranted-out for now.



future parisienne said...

Sounds delicious~ My mouth is watering.. ;)

Nina said...

I'll be in Paris in July, and we're aiming to go to Senderens. Thank you for your posts about it -- they give me such a good idea of what to expect. I can't wait for the millefeuille!