Sunday, April 25, 2010

El Catador (Paris, France)

We had bookings for a flight out of Paris to leave for Bangkok the next day. But After visiting the Qatar Airways office at L'Opera; we did not have any good news. They had no idea when the airport was going to open or not. They told us to leave our mobile on 24 hours and keep checking their web-site because they regularly up date it about the situation.

Around 18:00 in the evening; we thought we were stuck in Paris for a couple more days. We had reservations at a very good bistro in the 15th arrondissement for dinner. Around 18:30; we checked the Qatar web-site and it said that our flight was confirmed to leave Paris early next morning. Yeepee!

We decided to cancell our dinner reservation and to eat at a new & very nice looking Spanish restaurant near our place instead of driving across the city since we had to still pack our suitcases.

We were walking in our neighborhood the other day and El Catador caught our eyes because they serve around 20 different wines by the glass. That is a very rare thing to find in Paris. The menu also looked interesting. So, we were eager to try it. It actually just opened, I think five weeks ago.

The decor is modern and everthing is very new. The main colours are red, black and white. Very nice black & white photographes hanging on the walls. I would call the atmosphere; simply stylish. We were seated in the back and there was only one other table occupied.

The amuse bouche was cream of cucumber. I had to eat both because my friend is allergic to cucumber. The cream of cucumber taste was intense and the texture was creamy. It was good but nothing special.

The first tapas was chipirones. We read the description in the menu that this dish consisted of small and fried squid (the baby kind), but instead we got these large calamars. We thought the waiter got our order wrong so we asked. He said no that is what we ordered. We said we do not think so and asked for the menu. He realised that the description of this dish was wrong in the menu and agreed with us and that he would bring this issue to the boss and change the mistake. We ate the dish anyway. The squid was very tender and tasted very nice.

The second tapas was tortilla de papas. We asked which tapas he recommended and he said the tortilla was very good and that the chef makes it very soft and runny. We were convinced and ordered one. To our disappointment, the tortilla was over cooked and very dry. It was difficult to even swallow it. We told the waiter and he immediately took the tortilla and took it back to the kitchen. The boss came to our table to apologise and offered us a glass of wine for their mistake which I thought was a very nice gesture. The new tortilla arrived and it was perfect. Soft, tender and runny. It tasted very nice.

The first main dish was daurade a la espalada. One of the reason we ordered this dish was that the fish accompanied with rice steamed with tea. We thought that would be interesting as well. The daurade was tender & juicy. It had a good texture and was cooked just right.

The rice steamed in tea was horrible. The rice had no essence of tea at, it actually had no taste. The rice was sticking together into big clumps. Either it was bad quality rice, not cooked properly or they have no clue how to cook rice. Which is disappointing since the Spanish make lovely rice dishes. Disappointing.

The second main was rabo de toro 7 horas (bulls tail cooked for 7 hours). The rabo de toro was absolutely delicious. The dish was cooked for 7 hours and the meat was so tender. The rich & thick sauce was so good that we had to use bread to wipe the remaining sauce off the place because it would be a shame to leave it. At least one of our main dishes turned out 100% delicious. Oh; and the french fries that accompanied this dish was totally outstanding. We wanted to ask for more but we did not want the waiter to think we were pigs.

After the dinner; we were offered different types of grapas. This was very kind of them. They offered us four different bottle so grapas and as much as we wanted to drink (I should have controlled myself; but I did not and I payed for it the next morning. I was not feeling well all the way to the airport).

The glass floor that over looks the wine cave.

Overall; we could tell that El Catador just opened. It was still rough around the edges. The bread was stale and old, the service was friendly but not genuine, the menu's description of food was misleading and the food was good but some adjustments are needed. El Catador has a stunning see through floor that over looks their wine cave; but the glass is so dirty and disgusting. Not even one person from the staff to the boss noticed. However; the wine by the glass concept is absolutley fantastic; in terms of value and selection.

We are planning to return to El Catador in a couple of months and we will see if they ironed out their problems. I truly hope so for them and of course for us as well so that we can keep returning to the place.

31 rue Guillaume Tell
75017 Paris
01 43 80 04 73

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