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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Le Galopin - Looks Can Deceive, In a Good Way

Le Galopin - not much to look at ...
Situated rather inauspiciously on a corner of the Place Saint-Marthe in the 10th, Le Galopin has been churning out positive reviews since its inception four years ago.  Yet you wouldn't have guessed that just by passing by.  The look on Co.'s face as we approached Le Galopin for a Friday evening dinner said it all: 'what kind of a dump are you taking me to tonight?'  That question was quickly rebutted by two small warm-up dishes that perfectly fit the chilly, mid-Winter evening.  With each ensuing dish, the food just kept getting better.  Co.'s visage quickly changed to: 'Why haven't we been here before?'

...but the view on the square outside is typically Paris (whatever that is)

Unadorned walls, traditional wood chairs and tables, and a laid-back clientele left me feeling overdressed in my dashing sportscoat and button-down sweater ensemble, but I can live with that.

The online interior image ...

...and my more artsy take on the interior

Since Day 1, brothers Romain and Maxime Tischenko have gone with a simple concept - one ever-changing fixed menu consisting of seven plates:  2 amuse-bouches, 1 entree, 2 plats, and 2 desserts, now priced at 54 euros.  Let me tell you, this is a great deal, and the affordable and varied wine selection won't break your wallet either.  Here's what the carte looked like (exactly, because I brought it home) on the night of our visit:

Click to read without having to use a microscope

And here are some blurry photos of the food, sorry, but you will hopefully get the idea:

Amuse bouche 1 - our only gripe here was that there wasn't more of it, until we remembered that it was only an amuse bouche.  Left on each plate were three mussel shells, but the plate consisted of closer to twice that number.  Those are squares of dried seaweed beside the moules.

Amuse bouche 2 - if I remember correctly, the bouillon de fane was radish-based.  The salmon eggs are lying on the bottom, so you can't see them, but I ate them and they were really good.

Entree - it's too bad this is blurry, because this simple dish of soft tofu, raw mushrooms, and cedrat was very nice.  That's okay, I didn't know what cedrat (a citrus fruit) was either.  The highlight for me was the rectangle of fried bread, an almost crunchy counterpoint to the rest of the dish.

This first main dish (cabillaud) may have been the highlight of the evening.  Excellent.

This second main dish (canard) may have the highlight of the evening.  Wait, did I already say that?  Heliantis, by the way, is a sunflower plant, something else I learned at Le Galopin.

Dessert 1 - I admit, I wasn't looking forward to this one, and anytime I see grapefruit listed as my dessert, I'm disappointed.  But, wow, this dish proved me wrong in a big way.  A very refreshing transition leading up to the chocolate.

Dessert 2 - Blurred again.  I was looking forward to this one and was not disappointed.

To sum: 7 for 7 - you can't do much better than that (except to maybe add some little cakes with the coffee, but you can't have everything).  Not a dud on the table.  I, of course, can't guarantee you'll be as lucky as we were during our recent Le Galopin dinner, but I quickly added the restaurant to my 'go-to Paris bistrots' category.  One of my counterparts, John Talbott, summed up Le Galopin this way:  “out of this tiny kitchen . . .  come dishes of such complexity, creativity and contrasting ingredients it kind of takes your breath away…”  I wasn't exactly breathless, but that was a damn good meal to start off the new year.

Les frères Tischenko

34 rue Sainte-Marthe
75010 Paris

On the way back home from Le Galopin

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