From your Parisian

Sharing my newest discoveries as I float through the streets of Paris. Restaurants, bars, events, all reviewed for you with love, from your Parisian.


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Restaurant Review: BALLS

This hip restaurant has only been open for a little over a year but it sure has made a name for itself in Paris…and that name is BALLS!  As the name states, it specializes in various types of meatballs (obviously that’s what first came to my mind… ;)) and it is very popular with the trendy Parisian crowd!

balls_paris_meatballs and sides

The restaurant itself is very pleasant with light wood tables (adorned with freshly cut white roses) and otherwise minimal decor, giving it a very natural and fresh feel.

balls_paris_tables

balls_paris_interior

The idea is simple: choose your balls (5 per dish), that come with either a herb and yogurt or tomato sauce (for 10 Euros), and add one of their side dishes (6 Euros) to accompany them. I sat down with my friend K on a Tuesday night and after a few minutes of giggling at the cocktails (9, 50 Euros), named white balls, black balls and Rosemary’s balls (ummm??), we carefully studied the food menu. One of the friendly owners, Jérémie, informed us that they were out of lamb balls and I was a little disappointed, as in my mind I had already chosen them. Luckily I found a suitable alternative in the pork, ricotta and spinach balls with their yogurt sauce and a side of creamy chard risotto. K took the beef, parsley and onion balls with tomato sauce and a lentil salad.

balls_paris_beef balls

balls_paris_lentil salad

I LOVED the pork balls, which were extra moist and flavorful, and found the beef balls to be very good as well. I won’t describe them in any more detail; otherwise this will sound like a reading from the infamous SNL comedy sketch “Schweddy Balls”!  The risotto was delicious and the lentil salad had a great mix of textures with the lentils, feta, grilled zucchinis, pomegranate seeds and walnuts combining harmoniously. A glass of wine (5 Euros) and a beer (6,50 Euros) completed the meal nicely. Just so you know, there are also some veggie balls made from chickpeas and eggplant on the menu for those of you who don’t eat meat!

balls_paris_pork balls

balls_paris_menu

I especially enjoyed the music selection, a mix of chill hip-hop and electro pop. I sat there licking the last bit of yogurt sauce off of my fork while Gorillaz – Meloncholy Hill played cheerfully in the background. Even though we were pretty full, we decided to share a dessert: poached pears with almond cream and sprinkled with something that looked and tasted like crushed spéculoos cookies (5 Euros). It was light and refreshing and was savored to the song Disclosure – You & Me.

balls_paris_dessert

At one moment a girl arrived at the table next to us that was occupied by two British guys and one of them blurted out “you’ve arrived just in time, our balls are on the table!” Clearly, I am not the only one who finds the name of this place super amusing! You should know that writing this review without including constant dirty jokes was kind of a challenge for me…but I think I controlled myself pretty well.

balls_paris_menus

All jokes aside, the food here is really good and definitely lives up to the hype. You can equally come here for lunch where a portion of balls, a side dish and a soft drink is just 13, 50 Euros, and they even do take-out! So come on down to Rue Saint-Maur and give their balls a try!

balls_paris_exterior

 

Details:

47 Rue Saint-Maur, 75011 Paris

+33 (0)9 51 38 74 89

http://www.ballsrestaurant.com

My Rating:

5 juicy balls out of 5!

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Restaurant Review: Le Bistro des Halles

Happy New Year Everyone! Yes it’s a little late, but with all that’s been going on in Paris I haven’t had a night to really sit down and write until now. As is common in winter, it has been cold and rainy here, and when it’s like this I crave comfort foods and homemade bistro cooking! So, for my first post of 2015 here is a review of Le Bistro des Halles, a very authentic French bistro located between Les Halles and Rue de Rivoli where you will find carefully chosen wines, amazing meat and cheese plates and ridiculously good meals!

bistro des halles_paris_périgourdine salad

When my boyfriend worked in this area of town he would talk about this place all the time, telling me how great their sandwiches were. They were basic, filled with various meats, but they were so tasty that all of the locals came here for lunch. He equally raved about a dinner he had here one time. So when C, my awesome ex-coworker, said he was coming to town to have dinner with equally awesome V and myself I thought it was the perfect occasion to give it a try!

bistro des halles_paris_bar

Before I go on, I should fill you in on some basic info about this place. This is an “old-school” French bistro. If you walk in on a weeknight and will probably see a bunch of working class guys (that look like they come here often and are the farthest thing from trendy) milling around the bar and chatting with the staff. The décor is very modest with checkered table cloths, dried flowers and bunches of garlic hanging about as well as chalkboards displaying the menu on the wall. Our waiter was a no-nonsense French guy who takes wine very seriously (quelle surprise!). When C asked for a coke, he shot him a look of disapproval (that reminded me of the time I asked for ketchup with my croque-monsieur in another traditional Parisian bistro and I thought the waiter was literally going to spit on me in disgust)! We all spoke French so I am not sure if the waiters speak English here (I didn’t hear any English around me) or if they would want to make much of an effort with non-French speakers. But I might be mistaken, please give it a try and let me know. Anyways! If I haven’t scared you off already, I will get to the good part. The food!

bistro des halles_paris_interior2

bistro des halles_paris_menu_carte

Apparently the lady in the kitchen is called Isabel and she sure knows what she’s doing! C and I both ordered the confit de canard (or confit duck; 17 euros). You should know that I am a huge fan of this dish, and when I see it on a menu I always have the strongest urge to order it! I have had some really good and some really average/disappointing duck over the past 4 years in Paris, and I have to say that this is one of the best I have ever had! The skin was crispy (as it should be) and the meat was soft, tender and oh so juicy! It came balanced on top of a generous pile of sautéed (I’m guessing in duck fat and garlic) potatoes and pleurotes (oyster mushrooms) and sprinkled with chives. Together with a glass of red wine (I chose the “wine of the day” which was Corbières Abbaye de Fontfroide; 4.40 Euros), my tummy was beyond happy! C also ordered a glass of wine with his meal, redeeming himself in the eyes of our waiter.

bistro des halles_paris_confit de canard

V ordered a salad named “La Périgourdine” (15 Euros), which from the name you have no idea what it is, but it was definitely not a “diet” salad (none of their salads are), and consisted of lettuce, tomatoes, fresh green beans drizzled in a vinaigrette and topped with smoked magret duck, walnuts and, oh yeah, a nice thick slice of their homemade foie gras! During dinner, V wanted to order another glass of wine before having finished her current glass and the waiter calmly said that he was surveying the room and would come by when he saw that her glass was empty (umm…okay). We found this strange at first but he did keep to his word, after only the briefest delay.

bistro des halles_paris_creme brulée

bistro des halles_paris_fromage blanc

We were pretty full by this time but when the waiter asked us if we wanted a dessert, we found it too hard to say no. V and I shared the perfect crème brulée (6 Euros) and C had a fromage blanc topped with honey and hazelnuts (also 6 Euros). Simple but totally satisfying…just like our entire experience at Le Bistro des Halles that evening. Check it out if you’re in the area and want to eat some good quality food in a laid-back, no-fuss environment. Just take my advice and do not ask for ketchup!

 

Details:

15 Rue des Halles, 75001 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 36 91 69

My Rating:

4 serious French waiters out of 5!