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Saturday, August 21, 2010

La Dinée – Rentrée Reprise

Exactly a year ago I raved about a late August dinner at La Dinée, which sits in the impossible to park except during late August, 15th arrondissement. In an effort to repeat history, Co. and I returned last (Friday) night. Once again, the crowd was sparse - and here I expected that this blog would have had hordes of eager diners lining up at the door. Well, if this blog has had any effect on La Dinée's under the radar success on the Paris restaurant scene, it wasn't apparent during our visit, as only one other table was occupied, unfortunately, by a persistently yapping foursome who seemed unduly obsessed by Montreal. To be fair, these were the first days back from the conges annuel, so the sparse crowd was understandable.

To make a long story short, overall I'd have to say that you still can expect to have an above average meal at Dinée, though perhaps not nearly as transcendent as I suggested a year ago. And it's going to cost you more. Maybe this blog has had an impact after all, though not quite what I had in mind. What once was a rather steep 41€ 3-course menu has risen to an even steeper 47€, with no apparent rise in kitchen creativity, and still no amuse-bouche. Compare than with La Gagne's terrific 5-course menu degustation priced at 42€, or Les Magnolias' far more original 3-course 57€ menu, and you have to wonder what justifies Dinée's pricing policy (there is a less expensive 2-plate alternative at 39€). And to top things off, our 35€ Bourgeuil's (2007) worthiness was only distinguished by its unworthiness. A disappointing, from my standpoint, Brochette de caille aux épices des Indes, taboulé de maïs entree was offset by Co's very good, lemony Poêlée de chipirons aux citrons et tomates confites, salade d'herbettes au parmesan. I accidentally got some of my caille into some of Co's lemon (guilty!), and guess what? It improved.

No complaints regarding the main plates: for me, Suprême de pintade, tombée de chou frisé aux lardons et escargots (nice idea, adding the escargot to the moist poultry); for Co., Daurade royale à la peau croustillante, risotto aux haricts de soja vert (whose success was enhanced by an interesting orange-based sauce). My highlight came at dessert, Tarte fondante au chocolat, sorbet cacao - everything you could ever ask from chocolate and 'more!'; Co's Soupe de fraises, glace au fromage blanc et spéculos - refreshing for a warm summer night, but not much more.
In short, my thumbs are still up for La Dinée, but there are better deals to be had in town.

85, rue Leblanc
75015 Paris
tel: 01 45 54 20 49
website: www.restaurant-ladinee.com

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