The sixth is the center of our Parisian universe.  Though we take up just a tiny sliver of its 0.8 square mile (about 300 square feet to be exact), we have spent a large chunk of our dining hours within its boundaries, everywhere from hole-in-the-wall joints to nicer sit-down restaurants to the well-frequented Monoprix supermarket for a meal back at home.  There remain many known and unknown gems to be sampled but we have no doubt that we will get through most of them, or fail trying.  After all, we love eating as much as we love living where we live.
 
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Baguettes_3
   
Alcazar
62, rue Mazarine
01.53.10.19.99
M° Odéon

 
Euro - 25 or more
In the general part of Saint-Germain-des-Prés we refer to among ourselves as the “Buci area” – anchored by rue de Buci, of course – situates a restaurant that seems every bit different and très chic compared to the uniformly old-world charm of the rest of the others.  Straight lines, contemporary colors, and formidable door handles spelling the letters A and Z either enchant the would-be diners or send them scurrying down the street for something more—convincing.  We arrived here on a slightly different path:  Riot had been here once before about five years ago (on account of a “you must try this restaurant” tip from a hipster, high-rolling acquaintance) and had wanted to share the experience (of which he remembered next to nothing and certainly nothing about the food) with Nez.

We arrived at lunch time on a national holiday in France (Fête de la Victoire 1945) to a quarter-full dining room, a rather large one that took up the entire interior courtyard of the street-side buildings, the kind you never see from the outside and are always astonished to stumble into.  Yet, under the brilliant midday sun, the poor thing looked a bit like the unfortunate sight of last night’s partygoers stumbling home at day break; the daytime atmosphere was all wrong for something dripping of trendiness.  (While not being a part of the in-crowd, we had that distinct sense that perhaps this place had slipped a few places in the scene.)  All the same because our objective was food, and only food, this time.
 
 
 
 
 
  Some very fresh salmon:  The tataki de saumon au sel fumé et gingembre.
 
 

 
 
 
Both of us went with the entrée-plat-boisson-café menu at 26€, which seemed quite reasonable for a place like this.  For Nez, it was the pâté en croûte maison au foie gras et pistaches to start followed by the very-English fish & chips.  Riot selected the tataki de saumon au sel fumé et gingembre and rognons de veau poêlés à la graine de moutarde.  The meal began well with our capable starters, Nez’s was definitely a cut above the kind we typically purchase at the local supermarket.  Riot’s tataki was some of the freshest salmon he had had in Paris and it was much closer to sashimi than its namesake.  Even the ginger accompaniment was surprisingly tasty.  Unfortunately, the main dishes could not carry the banner.  Nez’s fish and chips was fine enough, and it was certainly nice to eat something different for a change, but overall the dish was a bit pedestrian.  Riot’s platter of calf kidneys was anything but commonplace but he could not quite claim any credit for being adventurous having mistaken the French term rognons (tr. kidneys) for a cut of veau (tr. calf).  This was the most kidney he had ever eaten in one go and though he did not mind it, the slightly-more-tender-than-squid texture of the dish quickly became dull.  Only if the interesting mustard-based sauce had done more for the rognons.  On the up side, the side pot of mashed potatoes was excellent and the service was super attentive without feeling at all overbearing.
 
 
 
 
 
  Not your typical paté in a crust:  The pâté en croûte maison au foie gras et pistaches.
 
 

 
 
 
It was a lot of food, especially with all that bread and butter (a rarity), so neither of us finished.  More tellingly, neither of us had that desire to finish or even to take just another bite.  In the end, we both agreed that it was good that we came (and came back) but what we had was hardly something we would rave about long after the plates had been cleared away.
 
 
 
 
 
 
  The same old dish:  The rather pedestrian fish & chips, though admittedly a nice change in cuisine.
 
 
 
 
 
  Kidneys by any other name:  The rognons de veau poêlés à la graine de moutarde.
 
 
 
 
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