Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
This week, I was invited to Paname, a French restaurant located Midtown East that I visited few years ago, in another blogger dinner. The place did not change, dominated by its Art Nouveau paintings and mirrors, that give a certain feel to the place.
I chatted a bit with Chef Bernard Ros, who is still the same: focussed and passionate about the food he is cooking, making sure that his patrons have a good time.
His menu has few classic dishes like the pate, as well as twist on classic dishes, like the escargots de Bourgogne that are stuffed in baby potatoes. I should mention that he is proposing a $43 prix-fixe dinner with amuse-bouche and 3-courses, that is a good price these days, especially as you can chose within a large number of dishes and not just a couple. Here is what I tried:
I started off with a cocktail and went for the French 75, the number referencing the department number assigned to Paris, Paname meaning Paris in slang. The cocktail is made with gin, champagne, sugar and lemon juice.
They then served us some amuse-bouche:
Sushi grade tuna with caviar:
Smoked eel with wasabi sauce:
The amuse were a great way to start: notice how all of them are with fish. My favorite was the tuna and caviar that was not only decadent, but really good, the caviar adding a nice saltiness and texture, that complemented well the tuna. Also, the eel was a great idea: you rarely see eel on restaurants menu, at the exception of Japanese restaurants I would say, but certainly rarely on French restaurant menus.
Then came the appetizers. The first one was a classic Pate maison aux cornichons (tasting size), that was very good.
At that point, I went for a glass of Cote du Rhone, La Griveliere 2015.
It was followed by baby octopus with haricots blancs, a fantastic dish if you like octopus (perfectly cooked). I loved the little kick of the sauce.
The last appetizer was a chicken liver and mushroom mousse that was beautifully plated. Quite light and airy, it was delicious on a piece of bread, to add some texture, or even without bread.
Next were the entrees. We started off with the bouillabaisse, a fish soup from Marseille, where I was born and that you can see plated by Chef Ros on one of the photos above. He makes his bouillabaisse with shrimp, cod, mussels, clams and calamari. The soup was served with pieces of bread that had rouille sauce spread on them: you cannot have bouillabaisse or any fish soup without rouille, a delicious sauce made with olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and cayenne pepper. I thought it was a good version of bouillabaisse, although a bit salty for my taste.
After that, we got the boeuf bourguignon, a traditional French dish, made with beef that is braised in red wine, rendering the meat quite soft, smothered in a thick sauce with a robust flavor. Vegetables like mushrooms and carrots are added towards the end of the cooking. At Paname, Chef Ros, gives his own twist, by plating the meat in sauce on top of the vegetables, like a deconstructed dish. I liked it: the meat was delicious and that that sauce very tasty. I think it was my favorite dish. I should mention that you will not find that dish on the menu, but it is available as a special.
The last entree was the duck, oven-roasted, served with barley and a mango coulis. The duck was quite good: the skin was crispy and deliciously fatty, counterbalancing the dryness of the meat. I liked the fact that there was the right amount of coulis there, a coulis that had a nice sweetness.
I admit that after all of this I was full and anyway had to go, missing desserts that I would have loved to try. Well, dessert is a good reason to go back!
Enjoy (I did)!
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Paname - 1068 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022