Perfect Paris (L'Entredgeu -- Paris, France)
While I know you are all waiting for El Bulli and L'Astrance, the 4.2 seconds of free time that I have right now do not allow posts of that magnitude. I have a few nights off next week, though, and I give you permission to personally flog me should I not post about one of the two prior to next Thursday, K?
In the meantime, lemme tell you about a little sexy bitch called L'Entredgeu. When Pim told me that this was the bistro in Paris that I *must* visit, I made sure I was listening. So, once we arrived in Paris after our flight had been delayed for THREE FUCKING HOURS (Thanks, for that, Easyjet), we sidled up to the concierge desk at our hotel and asked them to call for a reservation. The advantage of taking out a second mortgage to stay at a nice hotel in Paris? The concierge can get you in anywhere you like on very short notice. Additionally, he was nothing short of impressed that we knew about L'Entredgeu to begin with.
After strolling through the dog shit ridden streets of Paris, we found our spot. L'Entredgeu is tiny. Like if-I-was-any-closer-to-the-table-next-to-me-I-might-catch-an-STD tiny. No matter. This actually enabled us to become buddies with our table neighbors, an American ex-pat living in Paris and a Belgian who owns a home in one of our most favorite spots on earth, Chiang Mai.
L'Entredgeu works like just about every other Paris bistro: first you have aperitifs, then you order your entree, plat and dessert and a bottle of wine all at once.
Let's all just get down on our hands and knees for a moment here and praise Mlle. Cole, my very first French teacher. Had I not been able to pull my once fluent, now proficient French out of my ass, we would have been completely lost at L'Entredgeu. All French, all the time. Jon just sat and looked cute and let me order for him.
I started with Champagne, Jon with Absinthe. We then moved onto a bottle of Syrah that came highly recommended by both the server and our table neighbors. A note about the service -- they could not have been friendlier. I felt this way the whole time I was in Paris. Maybe it was because I could speak French, maybe it was because we knew how to order or maybe it was just because when you don't act like a stupid fucking entitled American, you get treated with respect. In any case, everyone at L'Entredgeu, from the bartender to the owner, was positively charmant.
What's that you say? Get to the food already, bitch! OK, here goes...Jon started with a mackeral done in a ceviche style (not completely raw, but not cooked) with a sweet ass fennel salad on top. This was incredibly delicious and Jon still names it as his favorite dish of the night. Good thing, too, because it kept him out of my cream of lentil soup with lardons. This was my favorite. I could have eaten about 450 bowls of it (but then, of course, I would weigh 450 pounds and then wouldn't fit in their table configuration).
For our main dishes, Jon had a braised beef with an haute mac-n-cheese. The beef was perfectly tender and juicy and Jon was bouncing in his seat over the mac and cheese. Me? I had the tuna with ratatouille style veggies (as did both people at the table next to ours). The tuna was cooked impeccably and the veggies provided a nice complement to the dish.
When we got to dessert, we were full. Too bad, so sad, because we had already ordered dessert and it was coming whether we liked it or not. Might I take this moment to mention that we were still recovering from the previous evening's meal at El Bulli?
Jon had a creme brulee, because if anyone was going to make a good one, it was going to be here. I had a bavaraise of chocolate mousse and coconut pudding. Both were divine, but the real standout were the warm madeleines that Jon got with his choice. I could only finish about half of my dessert and was poked and prodded by the servers who were wondering what was wrong. I honestly have no idea how the Europeans eat so much and stay so thin. Bastards.
And you know what? The whole meal, with wine was under 100 Euro. Without wine, we would have been at around 60 Euro. How fucking rad is that?
The whole meal was beyond exceptional, and I would return in a heartbeat (or a whorebeat, whichever you prefer). In fact, the only meals we ate in all of Europe that topped it were El Bulli and L'Astrance (and perhaps De Kas in Amsterdam). L'Entredgeu, in short, kicked a lot of ass.
Plus, it's given me a great reason not to turn into a total lard ass -- I need to be able to squeeze into those tiny tables. Time to hit the gym.
"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld