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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Distrito Frances - Getting There


You have to hand it to the folks behind this small Mexican venue in Paris 10 on rue Faubourg Saint Marin, just around the corner from the Strasbourg Saint-Denis metro -  they didn't opt for the expected Mexican name to dub their establishment.  Which is probably why I keep forgetting the name until I pull out their card.  At any rate, this is a decent, low-key spot to grab a pretty good Mexican lunch.  I wish I could say more, but no, Distrito Frances does not fully succeed at reinventing the Mexican restaurant in Paris or the traditional taco, as claimed at Paris Bouge.  More original than any other Mexican venue I've eaten at in Paris - which isn't saying much, granted - it fails to satisfy that gaping hole in the Parisian landscape that beckons for a truly great Mexican dining experience - spicy salsas, variety, something like El Atoradero in the Bronx.  Need I say it, Paris ain't the Bronx, so we take what we can get.  And one thing we get at Distrito Frances is a terrific dish called Pollo Popodop (6.50€), which consists of two chicken brochettes - yawn, I know, but wait - these are really good. The chicken is marinated in spiced sugar and coated with a popcorn,cornflakes, fresh mint and coriander mixture, served with a forgettable sauce (I forget what it was) that was not really needed anyway.  Here's my photo - if any camera can make this dish look bad, it is the one I was using:

Pollo Popodop - a lot tastier than they look in this photo.

I followed up this brochette entry with a trio of crusty quinoa vegetarian tacos - the so-called Jose 'Crispy' Smooth dish (10€ for 3; 12€ for 4) - stuffed with avocado, green peppers (where jalapenos were called for), onions, and pickled cabbage - messy, but pretty good, and only messy because I kept slavering on heavy doses of a hardly spicy at all red sauce and limes presented in  small bowls.  Look, I know the French aren't very partial to spicy foods, but the option should be available.  One of the helpful, amiable servers informed me when I was paying that if I was looking for something more authentic, I should try the Bang Bang! pork tacos, cooked in a banana leaf with Yucantan sauce, something you might want to give a shot.  Minus the tortilla chips and drink (I went with wine), this photo from the Paris Bouge site basically shows - in much greater clarity - my lunch:

Try to grab one of the few tables in the cosier back room, with view of the kitchen.  There's also a counter with stools in the front - go alone or with friends for a quick, inexpensive lunch, but also opened for dinner.

Distrito Frances interior

DISTRITO FRANCES  ('Mexican soul food X French touch')

10 rue du Faubourg Sain Martin                                                                                                                75010 Paris                                                                                                                                              Tel: 01 40 37 51 80    Web: http://distritofrances.fr

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