I slowly nibbled my fresh bread from its basket at the one and a half year old entirely gluten free restaurant Des Si et Des Mets Wednesday night and…psh yeah right! I inhaled that yeasty wonderment bread like oxygen, it was so delicious! A hint of buckwheat, slightly sweet, light with air pockets and whole grains inside that popped open with a burst of nutty flavor when chewed; this bread located tableside at 63 rue Lepic 75018 was as my french peer group would say, c’était ENORME!
Lavender walls with an ambient orange and rose colored air enveloped Katy, Lauren and myself underneath the largest lampshades I’ve ever seen in my life covering but one 60 watt bulb. Very inviting for those ready to unashamedly spend a leisurely night with a couple of glasses of a ritzy red accompanied by gourmet gluten free fare.
For 26 euros one receives an appetizer, main course, dessert and coffee or tea with a small cookie for the finish. First course for myself? Accras de légumes à l’orange sanguine, miniature vegetable beignets with an aioli bath in which to dip the steaming hot, crisp shelled pillows into. I actually almost cried when my white plate was placed before me, a real french made meal without having to be scared, without having to ask a thousand questions and without still wondering if I would get wheated anyways. Oh it was magic.
The Main course took about 1/3 of a second to pick, the time it took me to read it: Bouillabaisse de poissons de marché, a provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille. Yes, that very same place Edmond Dantès lived in Monsieur Duma’s imagination. I bet he ate a lot of bouillabaisse. What made this dish really come alive was the melee of fresh herbs sprinkled on top. One bite it was mint, the next it was chives, the next was tarragon, oh each herb created a new flavor sensation with the different types of seafood in the earthy and warming stew.
The anticipation mounted nearing dessert: tarte au citron meringuée, perfectly balanced in acidity and sweetness with a crust I could live on, a cross between shortbread and graham crackers. It was the best lemon tart, simple with lightly sweetened soft meringue on top.
The crème brûlée pommes cannelle came to the table blazing to order, mad with fire caramelizing the sugar on top of a cinnamon apple slice in front of our very eyes. Presentation points plus ten!
We were the last customers to leave, and I had the chance to chat in French with the beautiful owner and her friendly head chef Laurent. He told me he began his career working in the kitchen at the age of 16 in Nice, then practiced his art in Paris working under whom he described as a “Grand Chef!” That kitchen was sparkling too, by the way. Way to be L, way to be.
What a wonderful experience. Le Sigh.