Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Paname, that means
in slang, is a French restaurant located Midtown East, opened a year ago by Chef Bernard Ros, a veteran of the New York food scene, known not only for his cuisine, but also his mentorship in the industry, helping people get jobs or training them, solely for the love of food. The adventure started in 1967, when Chef Ros came to Montreal for the World's Fair. He then decided to go visit New York...and never went back to France, working in many restaurants, before opening Meli Melo and then Paname.
Chef Bernard Ros with the "Marilyn Monroe's legs"
I spoke at length with him during my dinner at Paname and truly felt that he was more interested in making his customers pleased with the experience at the restaurant, serving them classic bistro dishes, reinvented, at low prices, creating a loyal clientele, instead of one time diners.
Chef Ros goes everyday to the market to pick ingredients, putting an emphasis on the quality of the meat and seafood he will serve. If you go to Paname, you will definitely see him (he is there 7/7) going from table to table, to ensure everything is fine.
Menu wise, you will find classics, but as I mentioned before, reinvented. For instance, there are escargots (snails), but not cooked the usual way, with garlic and butter. Also, everything is homemade, including the desserts, that can be a challenge for a Chef, but not for Bernard Ros, as you will see in this post.
We started our meal with an amuse bouche that was made with gorgonzola and a tomato coulis, a perfect combination.
Then, I tried few appetizers:
Tomato and mozzarella:
Grilled portobello mushrooms with mozzarella:
Homemade pâté with cornichons:
Escargots de Bourgogne with Russet potatoes:
The first thing I noticed was the presentation and then, the originality of the escargot dish: it was definitely a different way of preparing escargot, like a twist to stuffed vegetables, a French classic, where the snails replaced the ground meat. On the plate were stuffed potatoes and zucchini.
Also, the pâté had this rustic taste, full of authenticity.
For entrees, I tried:
The paella Valenciana:
You are right, it is a Spanish dish, but it seems that customers love this special, so it is often proposed. It was prepared with seafood (a lot, such as calamari, clams, shrimp and mussels), as well as chorizo and chicken. Delicious dish, very appetizing with all these vivid colors.
The sautéed cod fish à la niçoise with a tomato fondant:
I really liked it: the fish, sitting on top of smooth mashed potatoes, was perfectly cooked and topped with a sort of stew made with roasted tomatoes, peppers and a black olives (the
à la niçoise
part of the dish) that was sublime, giving another dimension to the dish.
Last was the bouillabaisse, a fish stew that comes from the city of Marseille in the South of France, where I was born!
When the dish came to the table, it had this wonderful aroma and I could not wait to taste the broth that was delicious and very flavorful, perfectly seasoned. It was composed of mussels, clams, baby scallops, shrimp and cod, accompanied with a garlic aioli (on two pieces of toasted bread, as well as on a spoon, to mix with the broth)..
That was very good and very comforting, definitely a dish I would recommend, even in Summer time.
Then, it was time for dessert. At Paname, they have classic ones, such as crème brûlée, tarte tatin or mousse au chocolat. I did not eat the latter, but Bernard Ros, showed me how they served it and it was amazing: not served in the usual bowl, it was truly artistic.
I tried the flourless chocolate cake that was probably one of the best I had so far. Prepared with some Valhrona bittersweet chocolate, it was dense and very chocolatey.
Last were the homemade crêpes, made with Grand Marnier and served with almonds.
The crêpes were thicker than what I am used to, making them a bit heavier. However, I truly appreciated that they put the right amount of alcohol and the added texture of the toasted almonds.
Last were cookies:
I should mention that I drank a glass (or two) of Côtes du Rhône with my meal.
The short walk after we left was welcome...Paname is a nice place to go to, simple and unpretentious, where the passion of its Chef and owner really reflects into the dishes. And with a $35 prix-fixe with an appetizer, entree and dessert, you cannot go wrong!
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!