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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Second Helpings

Almost a month since my last installment, so a lot of catching up to do. I'll begin with some repeat visits, three to be exact. Two mainstays (Au Petit Margery and Le Marsangy) and one 'not sure' (Urbane). You'll find expanded reviews, albeit earlier ones, by following the links on the right. But without further adieu, I begin with my second visit to Urbane, this time with Co. in tow. Urbane has notoriously mixed reviews online, with one relatively consistent theme - the food doesn't always work, but when it does it's pretty interesting. That was basically my reaction during my initial visit, that time running solo. One reviewer I came across made an interesting comment about Urbane's gastronomical efforts: 'Maybe if you drink enough, the food will begin to make sense.' Right there in a nutshell could be the reason why my initial review of Urbane was on the right side of positive. Let's just say that I had more than enough to drink that evening, much more than enough, and by the time dessert arrived, the room was dancing while I was trying real hard not to pass out. To this very day, I have no idea whether I ate what I remember to be a rather tasty looking dessert. At any rate, the second, far more sober visit, left me with a decidedly different impression. Everything was pretty good, but rather uninspiring, and I needed no mind-altering substances to figure out the food, although it may have helped me understand the rather distant comportment of the Irish lass owner. Both Co. and I agreed that we could have stayed home and cooked up something at least as satisfying. Of course, at Urbane, you don't have to wash the dishes.

Next up was Au Petit Marguery, which I've reviewed a couple times now. APM is pretty much a Parisian institution, where you're likely to drag visiting family or friends and rest assured they will leave satisfied. But this time Co. & my visit coincided with hunting season and the carte was heavily laden with a rigorous assortment of wild game and birds, many with 10€ supplements added to the 35€ cost of a 3-course menu. I selected what, for me, were pretty out of the ordinary dishes, consisting of an entree of Purée de Grouse et toasts and a plat of perdreau roti avec pommes de terre sautées et sauce aux champignons sauvages. Please believe me when I say I have nothing against the grouse, although like snowflakes, I've never seen two pictures of a grouse that look alike (top image). But I can tell you, pureed grouse is definitely not my cup of tea - chopped liver, very strong chopped liver, if you get my drift. And the toasts consisted of toasted white bread, which if served consistently enough to aforementioned grouse, I am afraid the poor bugger would die of malnourishment. I fared better with the perdreau, although the very tasty mixture of sauteed potatoes and wild mushrooms overwhelmed my interest in wild bird no. 2 (right image). Very disappointing, and for my money, over-priced.

Finally, the Moose and I headed over for libation and grub one late-ish, rainy Wednesday evening to Le Marsangy in the 11th. It's a shame that Marsangy boasts one of the ugliest restaurant facades in Paris, because inside everything is warm and welcoming. The food is far from spectacular, but quite satisfying (I especially appreciated the millefeuille with langoustines and avocado), and it's always impressive to see the complete wine list written by hand on the chalkboard running the length of the restaurant's back wall. The owner looked far less like Lyle Lovett this time, but his down-home attitude was nonetheless appreciated.

URBANE (see above)

9, Boulevard de Port Royal
75013 Paris
tel. 01 43 31 58 59
website: http://petitmarguery.com/fr/index.html

73 ave Parmentier
75011 Paris
tel: 47 00 94 25
no website!

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