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Sunday, July 19, 2015

L'Apibo - Underrated on Tiquetonne

I don't know why, but I love street names like Tiquetonne.  It would be cool to live on that street, just to be able to tell people that I live on Tiquetonne.  Like I said, I don't know why.  Well, one reason I would like to live on rue Tiquetonne, a casual 5-10 min. walk from the Forum LeHalle, is that I'd get to go to L'Apibo more regularly.  As it is, Co. and I made our second visit to said venue this past Friday night, nearly a full two years from our initial excursion.  We liked it then and we like it a lot more now.

L'Apibo chef Anthony Boucher
Again, I don't know why, but L'Apibo doesn't seem to rate the well-known gastronomic review channels.  Not in Le Fooding - a big surprise.  Way back - especially in culinary timespace - in 2012, Le Figaro didn't exactly pan the restaurant, but dissed it with the following comments (translated from original):  "... young staff strives to make a copy out of the ordinary, unfortunately spoiled by too much haste. Nothing catastrophic, but that feeling of a school setting, hardworking, middle class.."  Ouch.  However true that may have been at the restaurant's debut, if at all, those comments ring hollow today.  Headed by chef Anthony Boucher, L'Apibo is all grown up, professional, yet laid back.  Nothing apparently hasty in the food's preparation and the service was right on.

I've now eaten at L'Apibo twice and never made it inside, both times opting for the small (8 tables?) and narrow terrace on the indubitably animated Tiquetonne - I've copied an image of the interior for your viewing pleasure anyway.  As for the carte, for dinner you basically have two options: (1) a menu carte - entree, plat, dessert for 35€ or (b) the more extravagent carte blanche au chef - 5 servings at 55€.  We did (1).

The meal started off with a summer-appropriate, mise en bouche of watermelon gazpacho - fresh and ephemeral - ephemeral because although I am 100% positive I snapped a photo, it has apparently evaporated into the heat of mid-summer Paris night.  Try this, imagine a small glass bowl filled with  semi-thick watermelon juice - there, that's what you're missing.  I did better with the other courses, as you will see below.

 The formal menu got underway with two excellent entrees.  I went with Le Thon Rouge - half cooked, with sweet red onions, soy sauce, chick peas, and some assorted vegetables.  Perfectly cooked and I was impressed, given that slightly cooked tuna Germon is a dish I experiment with regularly in my very own kitchen.  Co. opted for something more Mediterranean, mozarella wrapped in zucchini in a tomato broth.

Le Thon Rouge


Something very fishy about the main plates - we both ordered fish.  Co. got there first to the one I would have taken if she hadn't got there first - deep down, yes, I am a true gentleman - Le Bar - cooked on a bed of salt and black rice, tandoori, and caviar d'aubergine.  I didn't suffer too much - my choice turned out to be pretty good, although coming in second to the bar - La Lotte - roasted, with potatoes, celery, and enveloped in a fish soup, all in the direction of a bouillabaisse.

Le Bar - no, you are imagining Co. playing with her phone in the presence of such a grand fish

La Lotte

The greatest disparity came at dessert.  I hit the jackpot with Le Chocolate (don't you just love these original names L'Apibo came up with for the dishes?) - mousse onctueuse, ganache chocolat, tuile grue, cacao - all I can say is go there now and get this.  Co., however, was very disappointed with her more fruity choice - La Framboise.

Le Chocolate - epic, trust me
Le Chocolate again, excavation underway

La Framboise - Co. was underwhelmed

Add a couple chocolates with the cafe, and that's a wrap.

Speaks for itself

All of this washed down with a fine Chinon, reasonably priced at 29€, one of 6 or 7 featured bottles.  Grand total for two, 102€.

Once again, I'm not sure why L'Apibo isn't up there with the other usual subjects.  Creatively, of course, it doesn't compare with say, Les Deserteurs - the current bees' knees in the capital (for good reason) or Louis - but you could do much, much worse.  I'd say L'Apibo ranks at the top of some of my other underrated favorites, like Lilane, Fabrique 4, and Vilia.  Mainly because their street names aren't nearly as fun to say as 'Tiquetonne.'

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