Tag Archives: duck breast

Les Chouettes, Paris, France

I wanted to try another newer restaurant, and limited to those open Sunday, I decided on Les Chouettes after seeing it on John Talbott’s top restaurant of 2014 list. The restaurant is a lot fancier and larger than I expected: the interior belongs in a high-end hotel, and there are 3 floors: the ground floor is main dining area, while the top 2 floors (I dined on the second) have small 2-3 tops. I must say, the restaurant looked pretty pretentious superficially. But food doesn’t lie, and I was very pleasantly surprised to see that they serve classic French food at reasonable prices.
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Since I was going traditional French, I decided to get the terrine of rabbit with assortment of confit fruits. The terrine was incredibly good: seasoning was just right, with intricate flavors. I forgot all the fruit/vegetables but there was a good variety such that it was almost enough to eat the terrine with fruits without any bread. For the main, of course I had to get the duck breast again. I wish they gave me a serrated knife, as it was just a little hard to cut the meat (which was pinkish red). Also I realized that the filet de canette is not the same as magret de canard as the skin is thinner so the cook is inherently different. While I still wish for that crispy skin and red flesh of a magret, this was a good dish. There were some not-quite baby yellow turnips, which had that bitterness I’m not a fan of. But the dates, chestnut and pistachios provided a good pairing with the duck, which was seasoned right. For dessert I had to get the Paris Brest since it’s a classic and I never had it before. Very good, with a surprise of chocolate in the middle of the cream.

Best classic French food I’ve had in Paris at a very reasonable price. You get to dine in a really refined environment as a surprise plus. This is a no-brainer for Sunday dinner.

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Juveniles, Paris, France

Made a dinner reservation for a table at Juveniles by email a few days in advance to get some classic French food (taking a break from the modern French scene).

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There were a few classic dishes I had yet to try on my trip this time so I ordered this: starter of œuf mollet (soft boiled egg) with caramelized onion, French beans and beet purée followed by my favorite meat: duck breast with pumpkin puree, sliced almonds, Brussels sprouts. I also got a 4€ glass of red wine, which was okay but nothing special compared to the wines I previously had. This is indeed a nice casual spot for classic dishes at an affordable price. Unfortunately I must say I was not impressed by the dishes. The egg was cold, onion too salty, beans and beet purée were fine. The more expensive mushrooms with poached egg looked like a much better option. I would have preferred the duck breast cooked rarer; the skin was however nice and crispy, but it could have been seasoned more. There needed to be some more sweetness and acidity to pair with the duck. The pumpkin purée was good but a little salty, as were the Brussels sprouts. The sliced almonds added a really nice touch when eaten with the duck. Not quite the high I associate with magret de canard (I think I can cook a better one myself). I’ve been feeling fat so I skipped cheese and dessert (none of the cheeses interested me). My tastes are probably quite biased — it seems I strongly prefer the modern French cooking in neo-bistros to the classic fare?