Friday, June 27, 2014

French Eats: Les Cocottes

Our dinner at Les Cocottes was probably the cutest dining experience of my life. I found out about Les Cocottes through the show No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. As the show title implies, Les Cocottes does not accept reservations (though I know that Tony has been to restaurants that do accept reservations but that's for him to discuss, not me).
It's just a short jaunt from the Eiffel Tower so you can go have a tourist moment before and/or after dinner.

Check me out!
Okay, so Les Cocottes. I suggest getting here before 7PM to avoid having to wait for a seat. If you're coming from the Eiffel Tower area, you'll also pass Café Constant, which is more of a bar scene and it will probably be pretty jam packed. Don't get confused and worried. Walk a little farther down the road and look for this cute little "les cocottes Christian Constant" sign.
The menu changes every so often and there are specials of the day, which are called "cocottes of the day."
The decor is modern, sleek, and clean but homey and cozy at the same time. It's quite casual, with most of the seating at the bar. There are a handful of high tables for parties of 3 or 4 but I don't think this would be the best place for larger groups. By the way, a 'cocotte' is a shallow baking dish, sized for an individual, and usually has handles. And you'll soon see that theme in action when you scroll down.
We started with a shellfish bisque. It was rich, creamy, and delicious with a fresh seafood flavor. It was a great dish for dipping bread into. And if you didn't notice, here it is, served in a cocotte.
Our second starter was the arugula salad with crispy lardons and a poached egg. The salad was dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette and loaded with crunchy bacon pieces. The egg was perfectly poached; the whites were nice and soft and the yolk was deliciously runny. Again, the salad is served in a cocotte. You see? There's a lot of dedication to that theme.
Our first main course was the clam fricasée which was served with shell shaped pasta (how appropriate). There were several varieties of clams in this dish - the regular kind, razor, giant - and the whole thing was gently tossed in a buttery, herby sauce. It was so good.
Our other main dish was a cocotte of the day. It was a slow roasted pork with rice. This was the most delicious preparation of pork I've ever had. The pork was seasoned with a mustardy rub and it was fall-apart-tender. The rice was lovely and fluffy and a perfect neutral vessel for supplementing the meat.
For dessert, we got the vanilla egg flan, which was creamy, smooth, and had a distinct eggy flavor, but in a good way. It was silky soft and full of vanilla bean.
Our second dessert was a half portion of the waffle with chantilly cream and salted caramel sauce. This was phenomenal! The waffle had an amazingly crisp exterior, the chantilly cream was so rich and creamy and full of vanilla specks, and the salted caramel was a delicious accompaniment.
This was one of the most delicious meals ever. So many simple and clean flavors in creative preparations. Do I recommend this place? For sure! Like I said, since there are no reservations, you should get there at a reasonable hour, unless you don't mind waiting. There is a small bar that's meant for people who are waiting for a table and you can grab a drink and sit down, if there's space, so waiting is not the worst thing in the world. And it would be worth the wait anyway. Next time you're in Paris, just check it out. You won't be sorry.
xoxo.

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