Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"La Romantica" - Clichy

Paris is full of surprises. I was recently treatd to one of the best meals I had this year. At the end of the most dreaded subway line 13,  in a prestine location in the heart of Clichy, lies an Italian restaurant full of charm. Who knew they had fancy restaurants there?

We left early to get to the restaurant because taking the awful line 13 in the subway can be quite an adventure....especially during rush hours. It is the only line in Paris where people are paid to stand on the platform all day to help push people in the packed trains before the doors close on them (just like in Japan). It also usually breaks down at least once between two stations where the air conditioning stops working for a few minutes and the the temperature rises quickly. You will most likely be touched inappropriately, you will have to hold on to everything you slightly care about (like your wallet, cell phone, Ipad), and you might not even  be able to get out the train at your preferred stop if the train is packed with douchebags. But the ride was well worth it that night.

Needless to say, if you can avoid taking this line to get to the restaurant, I would highly recommend taking a cab. Then again, if you can afford this restaurant you can probably afford the cab ride there. Note: They even have valet parking is you decide to drive.

Once we reached our destination we stopped by my sister's place to enjoy a perfectly rolled spliff before meeting the rest of our group at the Restaurant. A much needed break after the subway nightmare.

The restaurant is located inside the courtyard of a residential building. There is an outdoor patio that is covered in the unlikely event of a downpour from the sky and the staff makes you feel like a thousand bucks the minute you walk in (probably because you're about to spend that much in the restaurant). The staff was fairly young, the waiters all sounded Italian, and the atmosphere was upscale. After we sat down and ordered our drinks the waiter managed to tell us what the specials were for the evening. When he was done listing the mouth watering items, he looked at our confused faces and asked us politely if he had talked too fast. I simply answered that it wasn't his fault and that we were probably thinking too slow. Our uptight waiter looked at me and my sister, stared at our eyes, and realized what we had done a few minutes earlier.....all of a sudden he turned from overly polite to very casual, even telling jokes and goofing around.

The friend who was treating us ordered the pasta tasting for the entire table which included an appetizer, four plates of pasta, and a dessert. He also ordered a delicious wine: Gregoletto Rosso. Since it was a blind tasting I couldn't write down the items and the waiter would tell us what he was bringing every time but I was too busy eating to listen to his shenanigans. However I did manage to take a few pictures.

Mango Purée with Asparagus Cream

Caprese Salad with Tapenade

Ravioli  dello scrittoe all' astice europeo

Tagliolini with Zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic

Rigatoni with eggplant, fresh tomatoes, smoked cheese, pine nuts

The last pasta dish was the main reason we went to this restaurant. Their specialty dish is the Leggera di taglioni "Romantica" (pasta with sage cream flambéed in a wheel of parmesan). Many people had ordered it before us around our table and we had had the chance to witness the ritual a few times before this dish reached our table. We got to know a little more about our waiter as he mixed the fresh pasta around in the melting cheese and even though it tasted a little bit like "fettuccine Alfredo" it was a great way to end the pasta tasting. 

But it wasn't over yet.

Fruit salad, Strawberries soaked in balsamic, Raspberry sherbet and chocolate mousse

Coffee and sweet treats

After almost four hours at the table, we were the last guests to leave the restaurant with a full stomach and great memories.

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