Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chez Paul et mes cousins

I think I’m hungover. But I don’t know if it’s from the food or the wine.

My cousins Jeff and Anna are in town for a few nights and wanted an authentic Parisian meal. We were going to go to Chartier, but a couple colleagues steered me away, acknowledging that the interior is exquisite and the experience, fun, but better food could be had elsewhere. So we went to Chez Paul in the 11th.

Two bottles, three courses and four hours later, I was wishing Jeff and Anna came to town more often. It was so nice to have dinner companions who enjoy lingering over the dinner table as much as eating what’s placed on it. It definitely didn’t feel like four hours—a testament to great company as well as laissez-faire Parisian service.

The restaurant was fun—classic, indeed. Boisterous waitresses, mismatched plates, a mix of locals and tourists, and a menu studded with rabbit, lamb and all kinds of offal. Like many of my meals here, the dishes were solid but not to die for.

I played it safe. I started with leeks in vinaigrette, followed by roasted salmon, finished off with an enormous slice of tarte tatin. I had every intention of sharing my dessert and leaving a good portion of it on the plate. But once I got started, I couldn’t stop. Besides, I needed something to soak up the wine.

This morning, I woke up with puffy eyes, a sated belly and dreams of more apple tatin.

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