Rino: 46 Rue Trousseau, 11eme
Went with: Sarah, Jo and Kyoka on a Friday night
Had: What was offered—a four-course, 38-euro menu. Which, that night, included wild mushroom ravioli with squid; a small sliver of fish; duck, served with cheesy polenta and spinach; and two petit desserts which consisted of prune ice cream and a financier. The meal was accompanied by great wine and pain du campagne.
Impressions: The super cute all-Italian team was wonderfully charming and accommodating. We made reservations not realizing that it’s one-shot fixed menu, and there were two vegetarians among us. On the fly, they made veg options, replacing the fish with a big veggie platter and offering risotto instead of the duck. Beyond the cute Italians, I liked the casual vibe. It was friendly and modern in a distinctly European way—almost like being in someone’s (cool) apartment for dinner.
Racines: 8, passage des Panoramas, 2eme
Went with: Michael on a Wednesday night
Had: The 34 euro piece of wild turbot—one of only three plats offered. And the second bottle of wine we ordered as we actually rejected the first bottle. This was a first for me here in Paris, but it seriously tasted rancid.
Impressions: Phooey. I guess it’s our fault—we were late to the game by about a year. The original Racines was helmed by Pierre Jancou and received all kinds of fanfare. With the acclaim ringng in my ears, I was keen to check it out. But the vibe was dead, the menu uninspiring and the food mediocre. Plus, my one plat was more expensive then the divine three-course menu at La Régalade Saint-Honoré.
KGB: 25, rue des Grands Augustins, 6eme
Went with: Cheryl and Ana on a Friday night
Had: Six “zors d’ouevres”, which are surprises from the chef: a veggie-coconut milk soup, veal, rabbit, a spicy chicken meatball, scallop with raspberry sauce and a white fish carpaccio. Ana and Cheryl both had pasta dishes, which were gorgeous and hearty. But my cabillaud, served in a crock with a coconut milk foam and veggies, was amazing.
Impressions: Lovely, lovely, all around! The staff was actually smiley. The crowd was cool but not too-cool-for-school. And the value was outstanding. I would love to go back to sample more dishes. (If there weren’t already a gazillion other places on the list… zut alors…)