so, I made a reservation yesterday to have a nice lunch — my first meal out in Paris. The place, Le Reminet, is much lauded on message boards for the hopelessly food-obsessed at not only a sublime restaurant, but a ridiculously good deal for lunch. And, oh my god, was it ever.
The cute waiter who took my reservation yesterday seated me immediately upon arrival in the tiny dining room – in fine weather, when the place expands out onto the narrow sidewalk, it increases the seating capacity by nearly half.
Le Reminet is simultaneously cozily inviting and elegant, with velvet banquettes, a myriad of gilded mirrors adorning the walls and visually expanding the space, and fresh roses in mismatched vases and drinking glasses scattered among the tables.
‘Les cartes’ – both the prix fixe menu of the day and the selection of individual appetizers and main dishes, along with the featured wines, are written on little “ardoises” (chalkboards) and displayed above the bar, where a small pass-through window allows one to watch the chefs at work.
There are two choices for each course of the prix fixe menu, so I chose:
the artichoke tart, a hot pastry crust lined with some sweet, curried fruit jam that I couldn’t quite identify (let’s hope it wasn’t mango, though I’ll certainly know that by tomorrow), wide but thin slices of feta and tomato, capers, and slightly cool marinated artichoke hearts, finished with a sprinkle of mixed greens.
Next, a thick fillet of a fish called lieu jaune, fresh from the fish market that morning, which I’d never heard of before but is apparently, according to Google, pollack. (Here, for your amusement, is an excerpt from the Wi’pedia entry, poetically translated from the original French: “Pollack approaches the coast in spring and fall. He particularly likes the money kelp… he can not resist a passing anguillon horizontally. The finest specimens attend wrecks.”)
The fillet was beautifully seared golden brown and crispy on both sides – even I, normally a bit squeamish about fish skin, was digging to snare any errant morsels of the stuff. It was presented on a bed of lightly sauteed vegetables – fennel, eggplant, onion, tomato, and several colors of bell pepper – which were finished with a dash of cream and reminded me pleasantly of a fantastic but labor intensive roasted red pepper soup I started making when I was living in Seattle. The buttery texture of the fish paired perfectly with the oilve oil from the saute and the fatty dash of cream, but all of it was lightened by 1) it not being a heavy fish, and 2) the melange of flavorful, juicy vegetables – mmmm.
Finally, a pineapple tart for dessert, which was basically another pastry shell with several cool slices of perfectly ripe, sweet pineapple, topped with two cold scoops of an apparent hybrid between ice cream and whipped cream, and accompanied by a teensy shot glass of what tasted like a finely pureed rice pudding – I wasn’t sure if I was to eat it on the tart or alone, so I compromised and did both (it was too toothsome to allow it to just fade into the tart’s deliciousness and not savor the flavor alone anyway.)
This prix fixe of fabulousness was FOURTEEN EURO!!!! That works out to just under $20, although I also accompanied it with a glass of Sancerre and a bottle of water (it’s a hot and sunny day here), nudging the total price slightly higher.
Afterwards, I ambled dazedly across the street – here’s that view: