A few weeks in Paris
The unexpected treat in Paris is how many people are here that we know. We actually went for dinner in the 11th and bumped into a variety of people who we are seeing later in the week and others who were just randomly there. The world is small.
Our first night here we had dinner at Yard with a friend from London who scheduled a few meetings around us. Always a treat seeing him. He is a serious wine person so the natural only wine menu was not the best spot for him. The place is absolutely adorable with a wine bar next door. Large black paned windows that open to the street in intimate surroundings. The ultimate bistro. The food isn’t something to write home about but the vibe is wonderful. Grilled hake with mushrooms, tomatoes and a little vinaigrette.
Next day we got up and saw the semi-finals at the French Open. This is our second time going. A very well run event. We saw Federer vs Nadal. Nadal owns this court. He took Federer out in 3 sets.
We had drinks with Jessica’s friend who lives here before having dinner at La Condesa. The space is quaint with only 24 seats and a kitchen that fits barely 4. The young chef 32 year old chef, Indra Carrillo, won a Michelin star for his spot in 2019. His creative menu spans from his background starting with Mexico to London, Denmark, India, Italy Spain and France. The dishes sang Mexican meets Asian yet fully French. And the sommelier, she is incredibly knowledgable.
We opted for the wine pairing. Half-glasses. There were 3 starters. A corn chip topped with whipped goat cheese. Tasted a bit like a light Frito. A nice beginning that paired Mexico with France.
Zucchini tempura with chili flakes in a tiny forest.
This was served with the top on the cup. You take the top off and scrape into the cup small crunchy bits of Parmesan into a cucumber soup. A cool cream of cucumber soup with a dollop of cucumber sorbet that cools the soup. There is also a pickled cucumber slice that brings in a completely different flavor profile. I am not sure I have ever had a better palette cleanser. Brilliant dish.
Simple roasted radishes served in a thin green vegetable soup.
There were so many flavors happening in this dish from many countries but insanely subtle. Delicately wrapped agnolotti stuffed with veal served over a sauteed spinach. They pour a light chicken broth over this that has been infused with curry. It is really out of this world.
Grilled white fish with an elderflower brown butter sitting on top of a puree of white asparagus whipped with Parmesean and two thin slices of grilled asparagus on top. Simple and perfectly executed.
Pork so perfectly cooked that you don’t even need a knife to cut through it. Paired with a rich Israeli couscous made with a rich veal broth and a small piece of artichoke.
Dessert was as good as the main courses. Sweet strawberries served in a whipped yogurt and tiny pieces of melt in your mouth meringue. All of this is topped with roasted red pepper flakes that has this smoky flavoring. Wow.
Chocolate cream and ginger cream served with a ginger and sesame biscuit. We licked the plate.
Last but definitely not least the come out with a small jewel box. Inside reveals a mushroom that is essentially Paris Brest, a classic French dessert.
Every country came to the meal with France being the back drop. The menu is price-fixed. During the week you can choose from 3 to 4 courses but on the weekends it is 6 courses. We went on Friday and if there was an option we would have chosen less but I am so glad we didn’t have a choice.
We walked home raving about the meal. So nice to be back in Paris.
Yup, some traditional wine people look at natural wine with disdain. check this article citing a story where someone brought a $2000 bottle to Frenchette and they wouldn’t let him open it because it wasn’t natural. https://www.ft.com/content/…We have been to La Condesa. He’s the youngest french chef to receive a michelin star apparently. (we weren’t overwhelmed though)The fastest 1 star this year was Ne/So (5 months). Pilgrim is another new one to try in the 15th (from same owners as Neige d’Ete).
As a wine veteran in the natural wine world, I find Frenchette my least favorite place though their list is deep.I’m pretty much alone in this disdain I realize though the trade doesn’t go there on their nights off that i notice or after work, and that is always a telling sign.I have a bias though as honestly loved the place Cirque Rouge that was there prior as that was my hangout when I lived around the corner on White Street.Curious how you define traditional wine against natural wine?
I love White Street
the people that prefer traditional wine and don’t like natural wine or speak of it like as the wrong thing. i’m sure you’ve encountered those types of reactions, here and there.i don’t totally accept that you can’t have great food and great natural wine together in the same place. it’s harder to find, but they are there. It doesn’t mean i won’t go to a wine bar that has “Ok” food but a great wine list.
Wine like food is subjective. I can taste blind and tell you with clarity whether a wine is well made but that has nothing to do with whether it is a great bottle. Or whether I like it. There is no objective scale, it is all subjective. It just depends.Re: Natural wine. I am curious as you use the word what it means for you.You made the comparison between natural and traditional so you must have a definition and a taste profile.I spent six years of my blogging life arguing with the Traditional Wine pundits about Natural and called the game over in 2012 in this post. See some of the true jerks of the UK wine establishment go nuclear in the comments.Natural Wine…an idea in tune with the times http://arnoldwaldstein.com/…I was simply right it seems;) Just had to wait six years for the market to catch up.My point–simply know what it means to you is all. And enjoy!
I’m not as pedantic as you are about this topic, and I agree with your old post’s characterizations, but in the past 3 years (thanks to you), we have been tasting, discovering and researching a few hundred natural wines all over the world (special focus on Europe of course), and although we don’t have your depth of expertise and experience, I think that we may be more representative of the general population of natural wine lovers, albeit probably on the higher end, based on addiction level, passion, breadth of access to variety, and knowledge/curiousity level.I don’t care that a wine is well made that much, as I’m not a critic, although I can appreciate that it’s well made, but I do like to be pleased by it. Definitely agree on the subjectivity aspect of wine, and the mood aspect enters in the picture, but I think quality of food, although subjective to a degree, is a lot easier to rank on the quality levels.If you gave me the choice between a wine bar with 30 varieties, vs. a restaurant with 3 good choices of natural wines (3 minimum), I would take the latter, just because I will go to the wine bar on the next day after the restaurant 🙂
If you have fun, that is the it of it.Glad to hear you are enjoying it.To me the community is the best part and has made my life more full.
Interesting about Frenchette which of course I know nothing about.1) The ‘$2000 won’t uncork’ story is great publicity for that restaurant. People and the press fall all over that type of slight and the upside far outweighs the downside (think of how many people know about the soup guy and Seinfeld). It’s like the restaurant that doesn’t answer the phone and you need the secret knock to get a reservation.2) The link (if anyone else is reading that tried) is a paywall. But if you google “Why is natural wine so divisive” you get a link that allow you to read the FT article.
Agreed. and yes, that’s how I read it via some other url.
I’m a big fan of Yard, just feels so neighborhood and local and so so much fun.I usually go with my Paris friends who run natural wine tour business and are wine writers, and they treat us like royalty.
Maybe an off night but the vibe is fantastic.
Maybe…I’m a wine first, food after person but honestly, to me eating out is about joy and joviality and satiation.I am tolerant of a lot if the fun and feeling is genuine.Enjoy Paris!