My trip to Paris would not be complete if I did not at least have an epic meal. But really, seriously speaking everything I ate while I was there was pretty freakin’ epic, except for the pizza and pasta at the outlet store food court that we had the first night we were there. My aunt’s cool friend and I were walking around La Marais when I realized that Le Chateaubriand (by Chef Iñaki Aizpitarte) was around the corner! So we scoured La Marais and with the help of Google maps and found the restaurant, hoping that I can get myself a reservation for the next evening — even if the website said two-week advance reservations. Alas! I wasn’t lucky enough. The host or waiter said I could go next door to Le Dauphin, their sister restaurant. So I marched over and made reservations.
So the next evening…I was a little early for my reservation. Strange…the only time I’m early are for restaurant reservations. Also, maybe the fact that dinner service in Paris starts at 7:30 PM instead of 5:30 which is the usual for North America. I sat outside a cafe across the street while I waited, hungry but not wanting to ruin my appetite I had a café au lait.
Needless to say, at 7:30 PM, I was at the door of Le Dauphin. I sat at the bar where I asked, while making reservations, to be seated. I think it was pretty obvious that I didn’t understand what was written on the menu. Sure there were a few things that I could make out a “ceviche” of something, “champignons” and something else, “risotto”, “canard”, “bouillon” but I did not really interpret these things as dishes in my head, maybe because it’s in French. I don’t know. So my server came up to me ask me if I had any questions, and I blatantly told her that I didn’t know what to do. HAHA She asked if I have ever been there before and I said no but I knew what a tapas restaurant is. She asked me several more questions like, “Are you picky?, Do you like this and that?” And then asked me if I would like to have whatever the chef wanted me to try. DING! Yes please!!!!
So here is my 4-course tasting menu!
1st Course: First of all, I do not like any kind of fish tartare, sure I had it before — which was why I decided I didn’t like it, but since this is Paris and this a tasting I decided to be more open-minded to this dish. It was surprisingly good. Now, I still do not like fish tartare, BUT, the apple pureé at the bottom of this dish was delicious. I actually liked this dish despite my dislike for fish tartare. And if I hadn’t chosen to #yolo and leave it up to the chef to feed me, I would’ve never ordered this myself.
2nd Course: Have you heard of Ibérico ham? That prized ham from Spain, sliced by hand, you slather the fat onto your lips before putting the slice in your mouth to devour it. This dish is made from the same pig that ham came from. My server told me that this dish is a staple even at the restaurant next door, Le Chateaubriand. While I did not slather fat onto my lips, I was extremely pleased that my first pork tartare is an Ibérico. Now, “Secreto” is a cut of meat, which comes from between the shoulder-blade and the loin of the prized Iberian pigs of Spain. I was a bit sad to put the last bits of this in my mouth. Yum, yum, yum.
3rd Course: I have to be honest, when my server put this bowl in front of me I gulped my wine and asked for another glass. I was scared!!! I remember telling myself to calm down. When she told me what it was, I kind of understood, but still a little apprehensive to taste it. I never liked the squid adobo back home. I like my squid cut in rings, breaded in flour and deep-fried, served with cocktail sauce. But in order to preserve my self-respect for even remotely calling myself a “foodie” or even daring to work in a kitchen for that matter, I had to take a bite. I thought, well…#Yolo. It was squid-y alright, but it was a well-balanced dish. Just the right amount of seasoning to offset the slight fishiness of the reduced squid ink without completely washing it out.
4th Course: My favourite part of the meal…dessert. The plate was so simple. I thought it was a clever take on a classic dessert. It’s avant-garde without the fussiness of nouveau cuisine that is sweeping the culinary world today. Plus, I love lemon-y desserts!!!
I didn’t linger long. I watched Chef Ińaki walk in and out of the restaurant. I admit I had a fan girl moment, where I seriously debated getting my picture taken with him. But he didn’t look in the mood for that, plus I know how annoying it is to have to stop for pictures, when you’re in the middle of a busy service. I made eyes with him like once or twice and he smiled at me. That was enough. I know. I have a problem. HAHA
I had 2 glasses of La Petit Bagneuse, Maury Grenat with my meal, which I very much enjoyed. I did not do a wine pairing simply because I had to go home to Marne-La Valleé after and did not want to be drunk on the train. HAHA
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