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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Luz Verde - Seduce and Destroy


Now that I have your attention . . . where the hell have I been?  You may wonder, or not.  I could say I have been in restaurant reviewing purgatory after that little episode last June in Le Servan when I knocked a half litre bottle of water to the floor, whereupon it shattered into a thousand pieces, leaving a piercing sound in my ears to this day.  Don't blame me.  I can't help it if the Moose dragged me to the Vodka Lab around the corner on rue St. Maur where we found ourselves at the mercy of a benevolent entrepreneur who for some reason deemed us test subjects for tasting trials of every unknown variety of Russian vodka on the planet.  Or it may have been that faux pas I repeatedly commit when I wander into Paris cafes during my photo treks demanding a glass of red wine without first asking what they have to offer by the glass.  I could go on.  But I won't.

At any rate, I am back to seduce and destroy.  Actually, that sounds good, but my mission here is not so much to destroy the typical template for Paris restaurant reviews which, however accurate, are BORING, but to guide, admire, discover, and recommend in as casual a manner as whatever my relative state of sobriety allows.  I digress.

I've been doing a lot of eating in the months since my Clown Bar review.  (Was that really in 2017?).  I hope you were sitting down when you read that.  To precise (as we French are fond of saying), eating in restaurants.  But lately I've been getting into the lunch circuit and have much to relate.  I begin by Luz Verde, a small taqueria on quiet rue Henry Monnier, a couple blocks walk from the not-so-quiet center of Pigalle.  At Luz Verde you will find the BEST GUACAMOLE IN PARIS.  Would I joke about something as momentous as that?  I know what you're thinking.  Best guacamole in Paris - ben, that ain't saying much.  That is true.  The bar for good guacamole in Paris is low.  Very low.  Typically, what you will find in French Mexican restaurants is a cup of tasteless, creamy avocado accompanied by a small basket of stale nacho chips.  Let me tell you something about nacho chips in Paris restaurants.  They are ALWAYS stale.  I can't for the life of me explain why that is the case, but trust me on that.  Which is one reason the guacamole at Luz Verde is worth the visit.  On the two occasions I tried the dish, a full basket was brought to the table bearing nacho chips that were relatively fresh.  Not only that, the guacamole was somewhat chunky, very tasty, and arrived in a large bowl accompanied by refried red beans, large coriander leaves (the closest thing to cilantro you will find in a Paris restaurant), tomato, red pepper, onion, and lime.  Certainly in the same ballpark as the many dishes of genuine guacamole I sampled during my various visits to Monterrey, Mexico.  Have a look.

Luz Verde's guacamole: a meal in itself, and the dish is yours for €9

Luz Verde also has received strong positive reviews for its tacos and I can't disagree there.  During my first visit I opted for the tacos de poulet duo (€7) pictured below.  The second visit, I gave the tacos de gambas a shot (€9).  Fresh and tasty, with one big gripe.  You cannot pick these babies up.  Believe me, I tried.  The first time, I got the message and quickly shoved them into my half eaten bowl of guacamole.  This was a mess - the 'destroy' part of the title (see photo), and probably a good thing that there were few in the restaurant at that point in the afternoon to observe my uncouth eating behavior.  Things were worse with the gambas - don't get me wrong, the gambas were large and seductive, so much so that I quickly tried to bring the taco to my mouth and half of its contents quickly fell onto the table.  I quickly scooped everything up and shoved what I could salvage into the guacamole bowl.  I'm telling you, once I obtained a small cup of hot sauce from the waiter and threw that in with the rest of the slop, the meal was excellent.  Etiquette begone.

Chicken tacos before I tried to eat them.

One of the aforementioned chicken tacos several minutes after I tried to pick it up to eat.

One drawback to Luz Verde at lunch is the limited carte, lacking some of the more intriguing items available at night, such as guindillas, poulpe, and couteaux al ajilla.  Maybe I just got there too late in the afternoon, but one advantage to that is this (see below).

And this:

Because if you go at night - no reservations taken - you can expect this:

Because Luz Verde is a popular night spot for the denizens of Pigalle, with a nice list of cocktails to slake one's thirst:

I slummed it with glasses of serviceable Tramonte at €5 a pop during my two lunch visits.

Voila.  Finally a decent Mexican restaurant in Paris.

I'll tell you more about some good Paris lunches and lament some bad ones in a subsequent post.  Unless I suffer a return trip to restaurant reviewing purgatory.  But I will be back.

Luz Verde kitchen - seduce & destroy
24 rue Henry Monnier
75009 Paris
tel: 01 70 23 69 60
website:  www.luzzverde.fr

Cost of lunches described above: €21 (one glass of wine, chicken tacos) and €28 (two wines, gambas tacos).

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