Thursday, March 27, 2008

Clos des Gourmets

As the boy and I begin to countdown our remaining weeks left in the city of light (four for those of you who are curious), we're also making a point to go to those restaurants we want to try.

One which I had previously heard raves about was Le Clos des Gourmets. So, in light of our German friends staying near the area, we decided to go for dinner on Good Friday.

I made the reservation on Tuesday. I point this out because on the phone, I emphasized that we would have a little 2yr old guest with us. However, when we got there, just a few minutes shy of our 8pm reservation, they seated us in a corner table, smack up against a hot radiator, having filled up the banquet seats earlier. This irritated me because I have worked in restaurants before (my Dad owned one.... yes, I am one of those people who grew up in a Chinese restaurant... how very cliche) and we always put children in banquet seats for convenience for the parents and the children. I would understand if we didn't reserve in advance or failed to mention it but there is a reason for reservations. It allows the staff to arrange optimal seating. Instead our friends were obliged to carry the little one on their laps the whole time. Don't get me wrong, they didn't complain about it at all, in fact they expected as much. I, on the other hand was annoyed that they gave us an inconvenient table when we had given them prior warning.

There is much I would forgive for fabulous food. Sadly, nothing they made really perked me up.

I started with their entree of the day of chicken and escargot. This consisted of 5 nuggets of chicken with escargot, covered in a cream foam sauce dotted with pesto. I found the chicken nuggets a little heavy as an entree and the escargots horribly over salted. Surprisingly, the sauce was the star of the dish, tasting light and fresh for a cream sauce.

I continued on with chicken for my main. Again, it was the special of the day, a roasted Gers chicken with black truffles. It required a supplement of 7.5euros. When it arrived, it smelled wonderful. Rich, earthy and chicken-y. It came in little Staub pot with two pieces of chicken (dark meat, thigh and drumstick), a handful of potatoes and thin slices of truffle. Of course, I didn't expect for the price to have mounds of the fragrant fungi so it was fine. It was beautifully scented but the flavor didn't translate to the chicken. But the chicken itself was very nicely cooked. I was a little surprised to see no other vegetables served with it at all.

Here I go on another tiny rant so feel free to skip this paragraph. The waiter kindly asked if he should put together a plate of vegetables for our little guest and when we said yes, he announced that they don't do very many vegetables but that he would see what he could do. While we sat there a little puzzled since he suggested it, he walked off to the kitchen. He brought out a small plate for the toddler while we were having our entrees and it consisted of small pieces of boiled carrot and potato. It looked like barely half a potato and perhaps a third of a carrot. And for this luxury? We paid 8 euro. Yes, I am outraged. For that tiny amount, they really should have comped it or at least charged considerably less. Perhaps that is just me. Any thoughts?

I finished with the crystallized fennel with soft spices and lemon sorbet topped with fresh basil. Umami raved about this dish last time. Perhaps they have changed chefs or lost their touch as I felt that the fennel tasted of nothing but sugar although the lemon sorbet was nice. That may have been only me though as one of our guests said it was the best of all of his three dishes. Although that may speak more about the other dishes. Our other guest had a vegetable risotto, which, when it came, looked like fresh pea soup but accordingly to her, tasted very nice, although the portion was disappointingly small.

I'm not sure what has happened to this seemingly good restaurant. When we met up with Umami and her husband earlier this week, they both agreed that the standards had slipped and they have not returned to the restaurant in a while.

Menu of three courses ran at 35 euros.

Le Clos des Gourmets
16 avenue Rapp
75007 PARIS
Metro: Alma-Marceau or Ecole Militaire
tel : 01 45 51 75 61
fax :01 47 05 74 20


Anonymous said...

8 euros for a tiny vege dish does sound pricey, they should charge less considered the little girl is so cute :)
Enjoy your time in Paris!

Merry said...

Overcharged us (one of us at the table)and would not budge on the price. I didn't understand waiter's argument. Lemon dessert was good but that was about it. My only "snooty French encounter." But I love Paris, anyway.