Monday, June 30, 2014

French Eats: Je Thé Me

Je Thé Me, it's a play on words meant to sound like "Je T'aime" (I love you). It's also a delicious restaurant that is a must-go if you're ever in Paris. This was another Anthony Bourdain recommendation and it was another big winner. I definitely appreciated his foodie advice since this was our last dinner; our final hurrah, if you will.
Je Thé Me is a cute little place in the 15th. You can make reservations from La Fourchette (The Fork in French). I made a reservation, except I accidentally made it for the wrong day so we were seated in the little upstairs area. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to have a bit more interaction with the chef and owner, but we got to talk a bit with his wife, who was the kindest lady ever.

We hopped on the Metro and got off at the Vaugirard station. Just around the corner, we saw this green awning and practically ran inside.

The vibe of the restaurant is cozy, comfortable, and sweet.
The menu changes all the time, so there were no printed menus. We were presented this little board. It's a prix-fixe deal where you get a starter, main course, and dessert for €38; quite a deal, if you ask me. There might also be a few other specials of the day, so brush up on your French and listen for those.
Our lovely server (the owner's wife) jotted down our order on a little slip and went back downstairs to put it in the kitchen.
For an amuse bouche, we were given this fresh seafood salad. We hungrily shoveled it into our mouths before breaking out into huge, food-in-teeth smiles. It was so delicious! I don't know what exactly went into this, but it was lemony, seafoody, and fresh.
For one of our starters, we got the house terrine (special) which was delicious. The livers were puréed into a creamy smooth spread and the seasonings that were used were just on point. It was just slightly salty, savory, and not at all gamey. The little mound of lightly dressed salad also helped to offset the heaviness of the paté.
For our second starter, we got the tartare de boeuf. It was unlike any tartare I've ever had. The meat was minced in slightly larger pieces than I was used to but it worked in this case. The crunchy bits (radishes and sprouts) added a much needed freshness and texture, otherwise, the dish might have been too heavy. There was definitely a bit of mustard mixed into the tartare which I loved; I'm a big fan of mustard.
We also got some wine to go with our meal. Our server asked us what we liked and I said white; she said they had a good selection so she grabbed us the wine list and showed us which wines were available by the glass. We ended up picking a rosé (Château de la Prégentière, Provence) and a crisp and sweet white (Ballet d'Octobre). The rosé was citrusy and fresh and the white was like juice! It was so super sweet. We were definitely pleased with our choices.
For one main course, we got the duck breast à l'orange. Oh my goodness, was this delicious. The orange flavor was subtle, adding just a hint of citrus and sweetness to the outside of the duck. The duck itself was perfectly tender and cooked to an ideal rare. The potatoes au gratin that came with the duck was also amazing. There wasn't any cheese; instead, the chef had used lemon zest, which made the potatoes incredibly fragrant.
For our second main course, we got a white fish called lotte (or burbot in English) which was served with fresh peas, olives, and capers. Now, I'm not a fan of olives but it made this dish. It added a lovely salty, pickled flavor. The fresh peas were also friggin' delicious. I'm so excited for the peas in my garden to hurry up and grow so I can try and recreate this dish. The fish was really meaty. It was tender but also kind of chewy - like a well cooked tender lobster - and it actually had flavor. It tasted like the sea.
For dessert, we got a rhubarb tart, which was a special of the day. The crust was crisp and buttery and the rhubarb was sweet and tender. It didn't look like much but it was delicious.
Our second dessert was the chocolate moelleux (soft cake) with a quenelle of ice cream. The cake was hot and rich and the ice cream was sweet and creamy.
So, do I recommend this restaurant? I think my praise of the food speaks for itself. If you're looking for a down home, comfort food experience you'll find it here.
We paid our bill downstairs with the owner, who gave us change from his own wallet. While we were there, I took a quick snap of the prep kitchen.
After that, we hopped back on the Metro and headed back to our hotel.
So, that'll be it for 'French Eats' posts. If you're still craving France-related stuff, you can head over to my travel blog, because I've still got a bunch of posts coming. Thanks for reading.

xoxo.

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