Monday, October 15, 2007

The Good News And The Bad News

I'll start with the bad news, which these pictures illustrate.

A and I were walking around the Marais and we spied a Pinkberry wanna-be in Paris. Yes, it's true. It's called myberry and it is a fairly precise copy of Pinkberry. How do I know? Because I peered in the window and saw all the same toppings of fruit and read the sign.
Anyway, there were SOME people in Myberry's, but not crowds lining up, so perhaps the Parisians object to blatant bootlegging.
The Good News? A lovely dinner with colleagues of H's at a very good, little restaurant off of George V called Les Bouchons de François Clerc. Bouchon means wine cork, and the restaurant is known for its reasonably priced excellent selection of wines.

The setting is a somewhat more formal than a normal bistro, but there are some quite exciting things on the menu. I started with a Remoulade de Papaye Verte, Anguille Fumée et Écume de Lait de Concombre à la Mente. Huh?! Smoked eel served with a salad of green papaya in a cucumber milk foam with mint. The salty eel was in little tranches over the papaya and filling out the bowl was a fresh tasting foamy sauce. The richness and saltiness of the eel was nicely balanced by the light fresh fruit and sauce. Very good.

Of course, I shouldn't have gone for two smoked fish in the same meal, but, luckily, the day of the shocked Maitre D' is over, and I did anyway. I had a wonderful smoked cod in a very rich reduction of dried tomatoes. I particularly liked the sharp counterpoint of the crystallised lemon. (Épais de Cabillaud à la Fumée, Tajine de Tomates Sechées à Citron Confit.)

Thank goodness, there were other people at dinner. H never orders dessert. He wants to keep his boyish figure.

There were a few Creme Brulées at the table. They looked beautiful, but they were across the table, and these were business folks, so I didn't feel I could grab a bite from 4 feet away.

However, I ordered something extraordinary. First of all, I always liked the name of this: Omelette Norvégienne. Why Omelette Norvégienne is translated as Baked Alaska or vice versa, I don't know, but it sounds fluffy and Nordic.

This version was definitely taken up a notch. Our waiter poured what looked like a PINT of alcohol, I think it was Calvados, around the Omelette and then lit it on fire. There was so much liquor that the flame wouldn't go out and it just kept burning and burning.

It was a rather astounding spectacle and the meringue was actually getting a little scorched. Luckily, one the guys at the table helped me extinguish the flames or I might have been left with only burned crumbs.

Interestingly, instead of cake at the base, there was a mound of crushed pineapple, covered by a ball of vanilla ice cream. Actually, I'm not swearing it was vanilla, my attention was entirely on the meringue. It was extraordinary. It was so silky and creamy and gooey that the other components receded into the background.

To me it wasn't JUST dessert, it was an experience as heady and exciting as riding a roller coaster is for other people. Give me flaming meringue anytime. It was a striking end to a superb meal. Ça, c'est Paris...

Les Bouchons de François Clerc - 7, rue du Boccador, Paris 75008 - is one of François Clerc's eight Parisian restaurants, all of which are known for their reasonable fine wine lists.


Emilie said...

I love that "omelette" translates to Baked Alaska! I've never eaten anything like baked Alaska.
The meringue sounds delicious. I would be really mad if the Calvados flames melted my expensive dessert.

My dad and I opted for the creme brulee when we went last year. I also ordered Limoncello at a restaurant, drank the whole glass, and had trouble getting up and walking around.

Thanks for posting this. I'm looking at these picture like porn, seriously. That's how much I love Paris!

Sue said...

Hi Em,

The flames DID get a bit out of hand, but it was thrilling. In the States, they would have had a fire extinquisher at the ready. Or, actually, they would never have served it to the customer still flaming. They'd be afraid of a law suit.

Creme brulee is my all time favorite, but I'm glad I branched out this time.

I agree...there is no more beautiful place than Paris. Add the food and you've got paradise.