Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I sat waiting for half an hour with a glass of wine to pass the time - not the worst thing - while I gazed about the warm and comfortable dining room. Only 28 seats or so, exposed stone walls, fabric-covered chairs...I knew I'd like this place.

I've tried to make dinner reservation to L'Epigramme several times, failing to secure a reservation because (a) I would make it last minute or (b) the party was too large for the amount of seats they had left that night or (c) just because. This one I reserved over a week in advance - a table for 4. 

It started with a small dish of some kind of creamy spread with herbs/chives, some smoked duck breast, black radish slices and mini-toasts. Smoked duck breast is so underrated in the U.S. - you rarely see it on menus and when you do, the price of the dish is inevitably sky-high. Here, it was like the little amuse-bouche to tide you over while you perused to chalkboard menu and waited for your food.

I started with a silky veloute de potimarron
which was garnished with a pansy (who knew pansies were edible!), microgreens, little nubs of crispy bacon and two hugh shrimps. I love the word potimarron (pumpkin) kind of like how I love the word pamplemousse (grapefruit). They are both so fun to say and sound somewhat ridiculous to my non-french ears. Anyhow, I have a strange desire to now make pumpkin soup...and also some roasted butternut squash sauteed in browned butter (a reminder of the fantastic butternut squash ravioli I had at Apizz in the LES in NYC in mid-September)  

The caillbaut was really thick and as a result somewhat overdone but the beets accompanying it were sweet and tender, completely forgiving the less-than-perfect cooking of the fish. My friend's lamb wasn't gamey at all (I sometimes shy away from ordering lamb at restaurants for exactly that reason) and my one bite was delicious.
The desserts really hit the spot though - 

An apple poached in a vanilla-based liquid with some caramel, served with a florentine

An intense chocolate-lava cake

A delicate mango panna cotta

A pungent Saint-Marcellin cheese paired perfectly with a blueberry reduction and fresh blueberries

I wish I could have sat a little longer but it was time to go back outside into the rain. Rain rain rain in Paris until next summer is seems.

UPDATE: Apparently potimarron is a Hokkaido squash - a cross between a pumpkin (potiron) and a chestnut (marron)

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