Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Le Petit Pontoise
The Left Bank of the Seine in the Latin Quarter is housed the charming restaurant Le Petites Pontoisse. Nestled off of Blvd. St. Germain (the main thoroughfare) this Bistro is a place of food transcendence. We had high expectations, at the start of our meal we overheard the table next to us state that when they visited Paris in 2006 they ate there every night for a week, and we weren’t disappointed. The greatness of their food, proudly displayed on multiple blackboards all over the restaurant’s wall, is found in its simplicity.
We started the evening with a selection from the Les Vins de Boerdeaux chalkboard (the wines of Bordeaux). Our choice: the cheapest on the menu at 20 €, was the 2009 Chateau de Bordes – Quancard; the color: deep purple and garnet; and the taste: soft silky sublimeness. This was countered with the bread (the best I had in France) a perfect amount of doughy yeast flavorings and crustiness.
We decided to begin with a choice off Les Entrees (appetizers for you and me) blackboard. We chose the Tatin d’Artichaut Parmegiano (Artichoke Tatin with Parmesan Cheese for 13 €) best described as an artichoke and eggplant pie it was an ideal balance of buttery flaky crust with robust fleshy vegetables. My sister and I both thought dish was going to be heavier until we realized that Parmesan cheese was actually sitting on top of the green salad served as an accompaniment.
Kelly and I are huge fans of choosing two main dishes and sharing (the “Thomas sisters love to share”) and neither dish was a disappointment. Noix de Saint Jaques a la Provencale (Scallops Saint Jacques Provincial style for 25 €) was the lighter of the two. Lighter being a loose term as the entire dish of Scallops, Green Beans, Julienne Zucchini, Carrots, and Tomatoes were sautéed in buttery garlic goodness. The scallops were cooked perfectly (nothing pisses me off more than overdone scallops) firm on the outside but tender in the middle.
The other dish was the phenom of the evening. Paramentier de Canard et Fois Gras Polle (the French version of Shepherd’s Pie …if Shepherd’s Pie was made with luscious duck and fried Fois Gras 22.5 €). The dish, compromised of Duck Confit and Mashed Potatoes, was referred to by my sister as “Thanksgiving dinner on steroids.” The mashed potatoes were perfectly smooth creaminess; this was due to the fact that when the French make mashed potatoes they skip the milk for only butter and potatoes.
We finished this meal with Amadeus au Choclate (your classic chocolate volcano cake 10 €) decorated with caramel and raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream. We also sampled the Crème Brulee aux Specialous (this one is self explanatory 9 €) which was lovely, but differed from its American sister dish by having a graham cracker crust. My sister found delight in cracking the top just like in Amelie.
After we finished my sister noted it was probably one of the best meals she has ever had. Truthfully we first discovered it as a recommendation in Lonely Planet and considering 90% of the dinner guests were American we weren’t the only ones. But does that really matter? The meal was superb at every moment. Top notch and unpretentious: my ultimate kill zone.