Thursday, April 16, 2009

Le Baratin (Paris)

Reservation is highly recommended at this lovely old-Paris style bistro. The small, seasonal menu (written on a chalk board that is placed on your table) is of French-Basque style of food with a choice of traditional meat and fish dishes which change daily. An excellent selection of wines are also available.

We reserved a table for eight people. We were worried that they would be angry because it is a small bistro and we were going to take such a big space. But they were friendly about it.

The first wine for the evening was a Anjou Blanc Mosse 2007. A lovely gold colour. Nose of apple and pear, generous portions of cinnamon and clove spice and some musk. Full-bodied, while it fills up your mouth with ripeness of the apple, pear and apricot fruit. The acidity was not well balanced, not weak but something lacking. On the whole, a touch short on the finish.

The menu is a good mix of meat and fish dishes. The dining room is rustic: decked-out entirely in heavy un-treated wood and the atmosphere is very easy going, a very neighborhood feel and people who have mutual appreciation for great food and the spirit of joie de vivre.

Found on a tiny street near the top of the rue Belleville, Le Baratin is by no means fancy but with emphasis heavily placed on quality, it is for me, one of Paris’ great bistros.

We tried to give directions to our taxi driver because we thought he would not have a clue how to find the bistro. Once we were in front of the bistro, he told us; 'Why did you not just tell me it was Le Baratin, we all know Le Baratin."

The first entrée was carpaccio daurade. It looks like a simple dish, and it was. Just lovely thin slices of daurade with olive oil. Very tasty and fresh.

The second entrée was a chunk of pata negra. I never had this dish before and it was unique. A very nice piece of pata negra, but it was a bit on the raw side for me. However, it did taste very nice.

The third entrée was lotte. This fish is very surprising. Does not look like much; but boy does it have taste and texture. A very firm fish but amazingly tender. A great starter.

The second wine was Domain Gramenon 2006. A wow factor here. A fantastic wine from the Cotes du Rhone, La Sagesse. 100% Grenache, half aged in old oak, and with no sulfur additions. Smooth, open sweet elegant nose is very pure. The palate is smooth with silky tannins. Lovely purity, elegance and spicy structure

The first main dish was a cut of pork with chick peas. An unbelievable cut of pork. So tender and tasted what pork should taste like. You really do not find this quality anymore. Just lovely.

The second main dish was rognon. My friend adores this dish. When its cooked good, this dish is excellent and we were not disappointed. What can I say about this dish; rustic in appearance and tasty with every bite.

The third main dish was xxx

The next wine was a Morgon 2005. An amazing find. Bright red. Intensely perfumed bouquet of raspberry, cherry compote and floral notes shows excellent purity. Lush, silky and packed with fresh red berry flavors supported by gentle tannins and good acidity. Finishing very long.

After the dinner; some of my friends wanted cheese. At first the waiter said that they were out of cheese. A friend put on his charms and kept insisting. The waiter finally said that all they have left is goat cheese. We agreed to have it. It turned out to be one of the finest goat cheeses we every tried. Amazing. Now, we understood why they were hiding the cheese, they wanted it for themselves.

The first dessert was a apple crumble. Who knew the french made fantastic apple crumble. A friend wanted to try it and we were glad that we did. The apples were cooked nicely but they were not mushy (I hate that), it was not too sweet and the crumble had a lovely crunch and taste to it.

The second dessert was fromage blanc with raspberry sauce. We at first ordered this dish because the waiter at first told us that there was no more cheese. We were so in the mood for dish that we oredered the next best thing. When the waiter finally told us that there was cheese, we decided to keep the dessert anyway. This was my least favourite dish; but it was not the fault of the dessert. For me this was 'just' fromage blanc, nothing exciting, even the fresh raspberry sauce could not sweep me away.

However; the second dessert of chocolate mousse was stunning. A lovely rich and velvety texture. The deep chocolate flavour was a dream and it was not overly sweet. Just hit the right spot.

I am always surprised how such small kitchens can make such outstanding food.

Le Baratin | Restaurants (French/Basque)
3 rue Jouye Rouve | Belleville/Nation (area map) | +33143493970
Tue - Sat 12:00 - 14:30 & 20:00 - 23:30

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