Chambre Séparée, Ghent, 4/24/19

exterior
exterior

Chambre Séparée is a u-shaped counter for 16 around a large open kitchen dominated by wood fired grills, which do all the cooking.   There is a comfortable space out front where you wait for your seat at the counter.  They invite you to come early to enjoy the space and a cocktail.  Our reservation ran a little late so they started with the snacks out there.  I don’t know if this was usual or not. Two seatings fill the spaces for this surprise tasting menu.  Wine pairings are available but we chose our own bottles of wine to accompany dinner.  Vintage rock records are played on a turntable, smoke fills the air ( which will also permeate your clothes by the time you leave) and lighting is pretty dim at the counter.  They have been in this location for two and a half years and hope to move the restaurant to the country in another year and a half when it would be time to remodel the building.  It is a several hour meal with good pacing, no lags, and great portion control.  At the end of the evening they have a written copy of the menu for you as well as a parting gift of housemade bread and butter.  Kobe Desramaults is the chef and he and the other chefs presented the food and described it well.  They were all very friendly, spoke good English and didn’t mind questions. Continue reading

La table d’Aki, Paris, 4/13/19

buidling
building

We last visited La table d’Aki in February 2013, before I started this blog.  It’s a tiny place with about 8 tables for 2.  They do 2 seatings each night.  Classical music plays in the background and the small tables are very closely placed.  They are set with white tableclothes and nice sized cloth napkins.   The end of the room is the small kitchen where chef prepares all the food and cleans up too.  Each table has its own little light on it.  Near where the wall hit the floor was a piece of wood to prevent chairs from backing up too far and dinging the wall behind them. Chef is very particular and you can see him re-arrange things to his liking.  No tweezer action here but the food is precise yet simple.  It is good food but not earth shattering.  It is honest, clean tasting without dots, smears or 15 ingredients on one plate. It is only seafood and there are no amuse bouche or final treats.  The room has little ambiance and the staff spoke fairly poor English.  Everyone in the restaurant has the same tasting menu.  Pacing is rapid and portions size is on the small end of the scale. Continue reading

Restaurant Alliance (update), Paris, 4/12/19

building
building (you can see chef through the window)

It’s been 2 years since we visited Restaurant Alliance, a small one star Michelin restaurant with Chef Toshitaka Omiya at the helm – someone who seriously knows how to cook.  If you have the opportunity to get there, do.  I give it solid thumbs way up.   The food is wonderful combinations of really flavorful ingredients that will leave you wanting more and then they’ll bring the next course that is just as good or better.  They offer 2 tasting menus, one a 7 course surprise menu selected by the chef or a Harmony Menu of set courses.  They do offer a smaller tasting menu at lunch but go at dinner if you can because you don’t want to miss any of the dishes this chef turns out.  Pacing is good, no lags and portion control great.  There are only around 7 tables in between the windows to the street and the large window looking into the kitchen.  Shades of gray and cream along with lower lighting provide a peaceful, cozy ambiance along with some cool circular overhead light fixtures.  Service is stellar, with welcoming and helpful staff that all spoke great English.  We were warmly greeted by  the chef and manager Shawn Joyeux, who is great at finding you a fun wine at your chosen price point. Continue reading

La Condesa (update), Paris, 4/12/19

building
building

It’s been just over a year since we visited La Condesa and this trip we tried lunch instead of dinner.  It is a really small one star Michelin restaurant that has been open about a year and a half.  There are about 8 closely set small bare wood tables.  The use of mirrors helps make the place seem bigger but it has a cozy atmosphere.  Music is in the background and the chef Indra Carrillo is in the kitchen but makes frequent trips to the dining room to bring food and check on diners.  The menu offers tastings of 3, 4, or 6 courses and wine pairings are available.  We chose the 6 course menu and ordered our own wine.  Portion control and pacing are both good and the staff is all super friendly, helpful and speak great English.   Continue reading

Le Clarence (update), Paris, 4/11/19

entrnace
entrance

We were at Le Clarence last fall for lunch and so this spring we tried their dinner service.  The physical location had not changed but it did feel different without the sunlight streaming in the windows.  The same menus cost more at dinner but they offer the same great and friendly service at both times.  Of the 3 tasting menus we chose the Menu Inspiration.  The meal was presented with groupings of different plates, sometimes presented together and others in succession.  It made for fun combinations.  We ended up at the exact same table, but that was fine because I think it is the prettiest of the rooms.  However with the large, well spaced tables, all the rooms offer a lovely atmosphere for dining.  Chef Christophe Pelé was in house and stopped by to say hello to Frankie, as did restaurant manager Cédric Servain.  Chef’s creativity and flavor intensity make this a place a must when you are next eating in Paris.  It is pure, relaxed elegance. I did take photos of a number of the old photographs in the menu and will place them throughout this post. Continue reading

Restaurant H, Paris, 4/11/19

building
building

Retaurant H is a small place of about 8 well spaced tables.  Soft music plays in the background, one wall has windows to the un-busy street and the back wall has a window into the kitchen.  The bare topped tables are set with lovely large napkins.  The modern room has wallpaper on some walls and others are decorated with arty photographs.  Decorations are minimal.  The menu is tiles in a box where you can pick how many courses you want.  They offer tastings of 3, 5 or 7 courses with wine pairings available.  We chose the 5 course omnivore menu and ordered our wine.  Service was exceptionally friendly and servers spoke great English and were helpful. The chef, Hubert Duchenne came out to visit with diners.  The restaurant currently has a one Michelin star rating. Continue reading

Cézembre Restaurant, Paris, 4/10/19

exterior
exterior

Cézembre is a small restaurant of about 10 tables that serves only a 5 course set menu at dinner.  For lunch they serve a 3 course menu.   There is no a la carte menu.  The small varnished wood tables are set closely and with paper napkins.  Painted beams in the ceiling, lowered lighting and pop music in the background set the tone.  Mirrored walls make it feel larger than it is.  The staff was super friendly  and spoke good English.   This is a very nice place with good food in a cozy setting in the heart of the tourist district. Continue reading