Posted by: vlibrizzi | November 27, 2009

Two Restaurant Hits, and a Miss: Cuisine de Bar, Breizh Cafe, and Le Baratin

We’ve been trying to spend more time in Paris this week, and with a friend in town from the U.S., we had the opportunity to try to check some restaurants off of our ever-growing list. Two of the restaurants in Paris that we tried this week, we absolutely loved. And one was a sad disappointment. Here are our thoughts.

 

Cuisine de Bar (8 Rue Cherche-Midi)

After a busy morning exploring the Musee Quai Branly, a museum that opened in 2006 which displays African, American, and Asian art and artifacts (very cool!), we made our way on the metro to the 6th arrondisement to check out this lunchtime jem. We waited outside the door for about fifteen minutes (the place was packed!), and then were politely ushered to a shared wooden table. We each ordered the lunchtime menu which came with a small salad and a tartine (open-faced sandwich) of our choice made on toasted Poliane bread. I had the chevre tartine while C. had a truly delectable prosciutto and cheese tartine. Our friend from the U.S. had a wonderful smoked salmon tartine. The lunch menu also included a glass of wine as well as coffee at the end, so we sipped on our drinks while catching up with our friend. Of course, no meal is complete at Cuisine de Bar without visiting their dessert stand with freshly made cakes and tarts. After a long and hard decision, we decided to share the apricot tart…which didn’t disappoint.

At only 12.50 euros per person for the lunch menu, this place was a definite gem. And, the restaurant serves you relatively quickly so, if need be, you could be out of there in a dash. The speediness of service is a great example of everything that Paris is not (whether you think this is good or bad), but the quality of ingredients is definitely everything that Paris is.

 

Breizh Cafe (109 Rue Vielle de Temples)

Today, I met a friend for lunch at Breizh Cafe in the Marais neighborhood. I highly recommend the walk from the St. Paul metro station to this cafe…the stores and cute houses along the way are not to be missed (an example of how cute and charming Paris can be).

I was in the mood for crepes so we stopped at Breizh Cafe. It’s a tiny restaurant with light wood walls and tables. The crowd and waiters are young and yuppie (what you’d expect in the Marais), and the food is fabulous! I had the Bretonne galette (savory crepe) with mushrooms, cheese, and egg, and creme fraiche, and my friend had the Savoyarde galette with cheese , egg, ham, and lettuce. And, we shared two bolees of bubbly cider.

Usually, I can’t finish a whole galette (they’re so filling), but I just couldn’t stop eating my meal today. Each bite got better and better. And, of course, although we didn’t leave room for dessert, we had to try a sweet crepe. We shared a rolled crepe filled with chocolate mousse and drizzled with salted caramel. Delicous! This place is an absolute must-visit.

 

Le Baratin (3 Rue Jouye-Rouve)

C. joined me in Paris tonight for a Friday night dinner at Le Baratin in the 20th. We’d been looking forward to going to this restaurant for weeks after reading great reviews on Chowhound about it. For us, though, the restaurant left a lot to be desired. Perhaps it served a certain style of food that we’re not used to, but we found all of our dishes to be very bland (everyone in the restaurant was heaping on salt and pepper to give some sort of flavor to their dishes), poorly presented (for example, C. had a octopus appetizer that came out on a plain white plate with a heap of unappetizing-looking octopus roughly thrown on the center), the wine quite bad (we had to send back our first pichet of wine–a Bourgogne–because it tasted like spoiled grape juice), and the food too pricey for what you get. 

I’m not sure why this restaurant is so hyped. Perhaps the chef had tonight off, or perhaps we didn’t have the right expectations, but we were definitely disappointed.

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