Thursday, April 24, 2008

Urbane Kitchen

Urbane- A restaurant in the 10th

When mom comes to town eating is always high on the agenda. Of course we all know Paris is full of great food options, but finding that unique, stand out, and off the beaten path dining experience is always a delight, in whatever city you may be visiting. I skimmed through the new stash of articles she brought over from US magazines about Paris, but it was the recent Bon Appetite article about Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate + Zucchini fame who recommended a handful of right bank food stops that grabbed the most attention. Included in this was Urbane, a smallish restaurant owned by a French-Irish couple, and located near the border of the 10th + 11th arrondissements, on a quiet street just off of Avenue Parmentier. As we arrived a bit before 8:00pm we were the first or second people in the space but by the time we left after 10:00 it was packed, which is a pretty good sign for a neighborhood place on Wednesday night. The vibe is casual, table cloths are white paper with printed black abstract imagery. There are about 25-30 tables and the artwork changes monthly, usually with a small opening for the local artist who is showing. It’s clear you have settled on something special the moment you are greeted, seated and soon brought an amuse-bouche, in this case a salmon won-ton type morsel that melts in your mouth.

For entrées we ordered a Tain de crabe that was crab, avocado and herbs mixed and molded into a nice stack, topped with sliced, skin off, tomatoes and surrounded, you will think oddly, with a homemade tomato ketchup, but it worked because the tomatoes were fresh and the flavors all came together. The other entree was sliced foie gras de canard topped with a light onion-poppy seed type cracker and dabs of raspberry syrup on the side. Bread, always a real indicator of an establishment regardless of the anti-carbohydrate phase we are in, was fresh and delicious- white country and whole wheat with seeds. Moving into plats: On one side we had Noix de Veau that was perfectly cooked and seasoned and surrounded by a circle of cantaloupe-a perfect accompaniment along with the morsels of parsley filled homemade gnocchi. On the other side we had filets de St. Pierre, a flaky white fish that was set next to an “ecrase des petit pois,” or flattened bed of spring peas. The wine selection was diverse, well priced and not too lengthy nor too short, with more reds then whites.
Onto dessert where we shared chupa chups (yes like the trendy lollipops), of moist fig surrounded by a light flaky crust. It just melted in your mouth. On the side of this was a refreshing green apple sorbet which was perfectly and lightly sweetened, probably only naturally. The other dessert was a rhubarb cheesecake that was a circle of soft fromage blanc on a bed of graham cracker like crust and surrounded by lightly cooked and spiced rhubarb slices. It was hard to stop eating it. Finally, with the bill they bring a few chocolate chip cookies-that recall those of childhood days. The prices are very reasonable. For dinner the menu with entrée, plat, + dessert was 30 Euros (I think), and entrée + plat or plat + dessert was around 24-25 Euros (I guess you can tell that mom paid).

Please note that this is by memory so my non-professional food reporting should not be held to intense scrutiny—rather go and experience for yourself. Friday + Saturday nights there is a DJ and reservations are recommended. Urbane, 12, rue Arthur Groussier.

1 comment:

Jonnifer said...

This resto sounds great and it's right in our neighborhood! I looked for on pages jaunes, however, and I can't find it... Do you have the phone number? Merci!