This blogging phenomenon has flung open the doors to the world and connected me with people all over the planet. This particular evening I was having dinner with a woman from Los Angeles who, like me a few years ago, wants to make a change in her life and being a Francophile at heart, is naturally drawn to Paris. She stumbled on my little web site, felt a kindred spirit, et voila, two months later she lands in Paris!
We met at Le Pré Verre, a bistro du vin (wine bar) in the 5th arrondisement. It is on the corner of rue Thenard and rue Sommerard, 1 block south of blvd St Germain and 1 block east of rue St Jacques. My friend Antoinette enlightened me to this local gem that I never would have stumbled upon. Chef Delacourcelle lived in Asia so he works with ingredients such as a cassia (cinnamon), bard and tamarind and he also trained with the late Bernard Loiseu and mastered French pastry at Fauchon. Needless to say, we were in for a memorable meal.
I had the exact same plat (main course) and dessert I had the week before as it was so superb I couldn't stop thinking about it. I opted for a different entrée (appetizer) as the petite pois et fois gras (baby peas and duck liver) terrine was too tempting. Last visit I started with the velouté de cresson (watercress soup) topped with chorizo sausage flavored foam and chopped peanuts. The melding of flavors and textures was a wonderful surprise and simply delicious. This time, in honor of spring blooming around me, I opted for the petite pois et fois gras terrine. Once again a subtle combination of flavors and textures and combine perfectly. The lettuce on the bottom was unnecessary and distracting but the lovely radish disks and slightly spicy vinaigrette added a wonderful crunch and spice to this already perfect dish.
For my plat (main course), I selected the morue avec purée fumée (Cod with Smoked Mashed Potatoes). The cod was seared in cassia (cinnamon) which not knowing this when I ordered it (on my first visit) made my first bite a brilliant surprise. The cod simply melted in my mouth and the unctuous cinnamon cream sauce enhanced the caramelized spice. The puréed potatoes were other-worldly. They were smoked first so they had that earthy, smokey, hickory taste and puréed perfectly smooth. When scooped with a bit of the cinnamon cream sauce, I didn't want to stop eating them...ever.
Dessert, the crescendo, was simple yet spectacular. The descriptor, fraises mariné au persil (strawberries marinated in parsley), doesn't begin to do it justice. The strawberries were quartered and marinated in cointreau and chopped parsley. The mound of berries were then topped with finely chopped nuts and a large quenelle (football shaped scoop) of glacé du persil! Parsley ice cream!!! Who'd a thought? Pas moi (not me) that's for sure! A very refreshing and visually beautiful end to an amazing meal. Cue cymbals!
35 euros each with a glass of wine (a Chinon from Bordeau, i think?)...worth every centime and then some!
Le Pré Verre
8 rue Thenard
+33 (0)1 43 54 59 47
Metro: Maubert Mutualite (#10)