After drinks at Cafe Flore, we took our friends to one of our favourite restaurant in Paris. We eat here at least once while we are in Paris.
The restaurant is called L'Ami Jean and they specialise in basque cuisine. You need to reserve at table several weeks ahead because this is not only our favourite restaurant but it seems many many many other people consider it their favourite as well.
The atmosphere is always lively, noisy and crowded. The restaurant is small and the tables are right next to one another. You will always hear your neighbors conversations and you will always see what they are eating. But that is the fun aspect of this restaurant. Since you are sitting so closely to your neighbors, this always strikes conversations about the food. Either they recommened something to you if you just sat down or you recommend something to someone who just sat down.
The chef has a special menu called 'carte blanche'. You can only have it if the chef is in the mood to make it. If you decide to go for this menu, you better be hungry and be ready for amazing surprises, because you do not know what the chef is going to make for you.
The first dish was a creamy mushroom soup. A bowl arrives in front of you with only bits of bacon and herbs. Then the waiter arrives with the hot steaming soup and pours it over the bacon and herb bits. The outcome is the most amazing tasting mushroom soup. Creamy & smooth soup with constrasting textures of the tiny bits of mushroom, bacon and herbs. Full of mushroom flavour, this is an incredible tasting soup.
The second dish was a mix of mushrooms with a pea foam. Mushrooms were so fresh and full of earthy flavours. The pea foam added a contrast in colour and taste.
The third dish was crayfish. The crayfish was cooked perfectly; still a bit raw in the middle. Lots of flavours from the sauce which added accidity and the crispy bacon on top for added saltiness.
The fourth dish was sweetbread (the pancreas - hear or stomach sweatbread - especially of the cald & lamb) . A dish that is not liked by many people. It is not a favourite of mine but the chef really knows how to cook it. The sweetbread had a soft & milky consistency. The crispy bacon added the saltiness and the sauce added the needed flavour and acidity to the dish.
The final dish was grouse (a bird that is slowly disappearing in the western Europe due to loss of habitat). A very rare dish and is only seasonal. Not many people like this dish because of the gamey taste of the grousse. However, when done right, this is an exceptional & unique dish. The chef really understand this bird in terms of how to cook the bird and the sauce that would accompany a very gamey bird like grouse.
The grouse slowly cooked in a clay pot with mushroom, bacon and herbs.
The finale of any dinner at L'Ami Jean is the house specialty for dessert. The uber high cholesterol, bad for your heart and waist line but is irresistible and cannot stop eating rice pudding. Everyone knows how deadly this dessert is and always promise each other that we will only have a spoonful just for a taste, but we always end up eating the whole damn thing. You will not get rice pudding like this anywhere; guaranteed pleasure.
Tiny desserts to go with the coffee.
Our friends really liked the restaurant (thank goodness). We are never disappointed when we go to L'Ami Jean. Its our place for comfort food and an amazing atmosphere. We already have a reservation for December 18. CANNOT WAIT.
Address : 27 rue Malar
Zip code : 75007
City : Paris - France
Website : www.amijean.eu
Opening hours : Tues-Sat: noon-2pm and 7pm-midnight
Prices : à la Carte from 35 to 45 euros - Menu at 29 euros.
Phone : +33 (0)1 47 05 86 89
Metro/Bus : Invalides, Tour Maubourg, Alma, Ecole Militaire