Friday, April 2, 2010
Pramil - Achtung! Let's Fall in Love?
Latest excursion to Paris 3, not far from Republique and a short stroll from the Temple metro stop. Highly anticipated, Pramil was on some 'go to' lists and given this endorsement by Fooding 2010: 'charming decor, serious wine, sincere cooking...We say: "Let's do it, let's fall in love..." If that wasn't enough to pique my taste buds, here's another rave from an online forum (http://www.eat-out.net): We dined at pramil on our last night in paris, the atmosphere very intimate, service perfect, presentation perfect, farm fresh produce excellent, good wine list and menu variety well balanced, loved it !!
Now, let me be honest - honest Mort is what they used to call me on the streets of Baltimore - I don't necessarily disagree with these assessments, but unlike aforementioned citations, I did not fall in love with Pramil and ended up the evening with an indecisive yet decidedly south of positive reaction of 'eh'. Or as Co. phrased it, 'it was good but nothing to rave (sic) home about.'
Is sincerity enough anymore? Not in my book. If I'm going to spend 100 euros and up for a meal, I expect more than sincerity - I expect something pretty damn special, with a mise en bouche and some little patisseries thrown in with the cafe to boot. None of which were forthcoming from Pramil. The evening began with me and Co. being overtaken on Vertbois by a verbose contingent of Germans who, lo and behold, were headed to the same destination. They were already through the door and admitting they had not reserved when we made our grand entrance, me trying to project an expression that 'no way am I with them.' As they disappointingly filed back out through the door, the leader of the pack mentioned to the hostess, 'well, tomorrow night then', whereupon the hostess threw back that sort of expression that reeked of, 'don't count on it.' Let me understand - you visit a restaurant on a Friday night only to be told that it is filled. So you expect a different outcome on Saturday night? Wouldn't you at least ask if it were possible to book a table for tomorrow night? But then, what do I know, as I sometimes ask myself. Who can account for the affairs of men and state and, oh lord, unthinking tourists.
We were seated in the little room in the back - way back - with sun roof through which no sun was evident - this is Paris afterall. Pleasant hostess takes our order but wimped out when it came to recommendations. When I say I am hesitating between (a)Cake aux choux fleur avec confiture de piment and (b) salade de lentilles et calamars and wanted to know which was the more creative dish, I was basically informed that one's taste is personal. So French, so I opted for the one I didn't know (a). Co., also opting for the 30 euro formule, chose the asparagus soup with creme of fois gras. My cakes were probably difficult to make, but nothing spectacular. Nonetheless, the small dollop accompaniment of piment jelly really elevated this dish from the hohum. Too bad that dollop was so small. In discussing with the chef (M. Alain Pramil?) later, I was informed that 'it is so spicy, a little bit goes a long way,' not aware that yours truly drinks bottles of tabasco sauce for breakfast. In true love, who wants to settle for only one nice little bite? Co. seemed to have enjoyed her cream of asparagus, to the point that I was afraid she was going to lick the bowl, but in retrospect she dubbed it merely as 'good, no more.'
Moving on to the main dishes, I quickly downed the eight coquilles saint-jacques in a garlic cream sauce while Co. slowly worked her way through a plat du jour, a lamb salee, with fenouil and feve (green beans not unlike Japanese endamame). My sauce was quite good as the go-with the scallops and Co. described her lamb thusly: 'tender, tasty, and perfumed' (or TTP in restaurant blogging circles). Her myrtille (bilberry) and my homemade nougat glace desserts provided a solid but non-spectacular finish to a solid but non-spectacular meal. Co. preferred something light for drinking purposes, so I went with the Irancy Benoit Cantin 2006 super legere Bourgogne at 28 euros. Nice selection of wines, well thought-out choices with some unexpected surprises.
What can I say - this all probably sounds pretty good on paper and I would have to agree that it was all pretty good on paper (in fact the bill remained south of the century mark (91 euros for two 3-course meals and wine). Just nothing to rave home about. When it comes to love, who wants to settle for 'eh'?
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