Thursday, July 12, 2012


As much as I complain about other blogs and various publications jumping on this or that hot table bandwagon and slathering undying praise on each scruffy scalawag of a bobo chef that comes along, I'm a big part of the problem. I'm like more and more people nowadays, obsessed with the new, wanting to try something different in the Paris culinary scene. The buzz for Roseval started a few weeks ago by lesser minions blaguing rumors and snippets of info from their more well connected friends, but I could feel this place drawing me to it.

Roseval is located in the supposedly arty neighborhood of Menilmontant, not far from Belleville. Although I didn't see many artists, I did see a lot of beard stroking intellos, a surprising number of people sporting bongo drums, hot young Swedish nannies and grannies with ankle tats. The restaurant is located up the hill off of the rue Menilmontant and in a cute little square dotted with couscous houses and worn down brasseries, overlooked by a magnificent church. The dining room, preceded by an original zinc bar is all red exposed brick and beams, well sourced design lighting and wooden Scandi inspired tables and chairs. The crowd is predictably knowing and bohemian chic, with the accompanying buzz.

The menu, four dishes for a tab over 40€ is created by the chef duo of Michael Greenwold (who, by the way is American born and hasn't a drop of British blood in him- his family hails from Cincinatti, although he did grow up in Oxford) and Simone Tondo, his Italian sidekick. Michael spent his formative cooking years at pre-famous Chateaubriand, when they were still doing lunch and Simone at Rino and Caffe die Cioppi among other assorted places. Coupled with Columbian beauty Ericka (ex sommelier Le Chateaubriand) and Clément (Bistro Paul Bert and Gazzetta) , and you a recipe for the hottest table in town. The food is tonic and pretty, simple and complex from the starter of smoked burratta and smoked puréed eggplant with grilled onions, to the nearly perfect sushi quality bonita with blet and an amazing spider crab mayo to the strawberry "crumble" which was actually grated madeleines, accompanied by the laid ribaut ice cream. A tight little menu, funky well curated natural French and Italian wines, bread from Christophe Vasseur.. Run pretty little foodistas and bobos and soon, international gastro tourists, run to the best little new table in town.

Roseval, 1 rue d'Eupatoria, 75020, Paris
09 53 56 24 14
menus at 35€, or 42€ (with cheese), 60-67€ with wine

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Pinxo, Left Bank letdown

To review or not to review. A difficult choice sometimes. I enthusiastically, sometimes too much so,  cover lots of places I like, and often, when invited to check out a new place that is not up to snuff or an old favorite that has, for whatever reason, morphed into something less desirable, I'll leave it out. Then there are times when I feel that the dining crowd at large and my virtual audience need to be informed.

Last night (pre-Prescription Old Cuban) I happened into Alain Dutournier's new(ish) Left Bank Pinxo. This neighborhood, (although this has been changing recently) is pretty much bereft of good dining establishments late in the evening, so this seemed a perfect spot. For those of you who don't know, pinxo in South Western French dialect means to pinch and describes small dishes shared between friends and family, which is the concept.

The funny thing about this place is that I just can't put my finger on what's wrong. I could mention the decoration , or lack of. I like sleek modern spaces, but this place just had a vibe that said bad design (beware the toilet which has a hand dryer that goes off when you're having a pee and threatens to spray the wall next to you). Then there's the food, which was...fine. Warm oyster starters and royal crab roll (which, strangely enough resembled the Sushi Shop version at twice the price) followed by handcut, foie gras topped beef tartar, wine that was presented to the table as "Chablis". Period. Um, thanks for the info.

I really wanted to like this place. Dutournier is a really nice guy and great chef and his Carré des Feuillants is a wonderful table. But Pinxo seemed a bit of a culinary cock-tease and I got a case of the gastronomic blue balls. And there's one point I'm going to totally leave out, but then again, I guess every restaurant has its scurrying critters.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Chez Aline

Funnily enough, in a country where the jambon beure is a national symbol, decent sandwiches are few and far between in the City of Light. Until recently, when Mrs Inaki Aizpitarte, i.e. Delphine Zampetti took over a chevaline, or horse meat butcher (hence the tongue in chic , Chez Aline) , all yellow tiles and kitchy 70's deco in a more coming than up part of the eleventh. 

The tiny space is divided into the kitchen and four seater counter, where Ms. Zampetti works her magic, slicing up cold cuts, assembling sandwiches to an ever growing queue of local destination foodie hipsters coming for a delicious handful of pristine ingredients. 

The daily changing roster includes roast chicken or veal millanese wrapped in a crusty baguette, round sesame sandwiches filled with egg and fresh herbs, or cold offerings such as St. Jean de Luz tuna escabèche with caponata a Sicilian eggplant salad with capers and a sweet and sour sauce. It's great that Zampetti , who cut her teeth in such various establishments as Le 104 and Verre Volé puts her skills to something sorely needed in town, fresh, good and fast food.

Chez Aline
85 rue de la Roquette, 75011