Monday, May 24, 2010

Things I Ate in Paris: Day Two

Dinner at Josephine Chez Dumonet.

This is the place to go for your classic French bistro experience, to eat traditional French dishes. The house specialty is the duck confit and the main reason why we were here. Last year, I had eaten the best duck I've ever tasted here and was now back for more. Luckily we were able to get a reservation; they are not open on weekends. There's also a list of hot desserts that you must order at the time that you order dinner. They are pricey but they are entree-sized and require sharing. But if you can muster enough appetite, I'd highly recommend it. Had I allowed my eyes to be bigger than my stomach, we surely would've also ended up with one of several desserts we saw appear on other tables.

We shall work our way up.

Dinner began with a complimentary soup starter. Maybe red pepper? Maybe potatoes? We were unable to identify it and this is not the type of restaurant where dishes are set before you with an introduction. The waiters here, though friendly, speak limited English and are constantly busy. But it was wonderful nonetheless.

The Beef Bourguignon dish had an option for a half portion (as do several of the dishes on the menu) and though we tried to order half, we got the full version. No matter, the beef was hearty and melted in your mouth. It arrived with a bowl of tagliatelle smothered in butter.

Now for the star of the evening — the duck confit.

The front side

The back side

It is impossible to truly convey just how good this duck is. You really need to just go there and try it for yourself. The blanket of skin is brittly crisp and when you discover the moist, dark meat underneath it seems like a contradiction. Perhaps it's the layer of fat just beneath the skin that helps to seal in the flavor and the tenderness. The portion size is perfect. We had two at the table, you won't want to share more than a bite. One dining companion said as she ate her duck: "I don't want you to leave me!" Just before it gets to the point where you think the richness is about to overcome you, you shuttle the last bite into your mouth and savor it. You need no more, no less. The french fries are just as crispy as the duck skin and wonderfully addictive. The salad is for show, adding a pretense of healthiness to make you feel less guilty, but with its vinegary dressing, you won't likely finish it. This is a dish to remember.

And now you can move on to dessert. For us, the Grand Marnier souffle.

This was a real souffle. I have discovered that in the United States, souffle has been Americanized and too many French restaurants list it on their dessert menus only to send out some form of hot chocolate lava cake. Souffles are tough to make and take time, but the real thing is superior.

Although this was quite a grand souffle, it's light and easy on already full stomachs. The fluffy eggy insides were steaming hot, the exterior had a nice spongey firmness and the bits stuck to the bowl were a little crunchy. Deep down in the middle, you could really taste the alcohol. We scraped the bowl clean. A fine job, Chez Dumonet. We left happy diners.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! But what about Day One?!