What do you do for dinner in Paris when you’ve grabbed a quick nap after staying up all night on an airplane? Well, you head to one of the hot new restaurants in the now-fashionable 11th Arrondisement. Unless, of course, you’re staying in the not yet fashionable 2d and you’ve already walked 11 mies that day. You normally would stumble over to one of the places by the Gare de Lyon and have the sort of disappointing meal you would find within walking distance of a hotel near a US airport.
Friend, your life is about to be changed. A ten-minute stroll away from the Gare de Lyon, a great dinner — a great experience — awaits you at L’Ebauchoir. It’s a small place with a casual, neighborhood sort of feel. There’s a whimsical painting on one wall
(the tilt is me, not the painting), and a lovely tile floor.
Service was friendly, and the owner stopped by the table for a chat after we’d finished. Le’Ebauchoir is a pleasant setting for a meal. And the food goes well beyond pleasant.
We started again with an amuse bouche of olives and some good bread.
In a reversal of roles, Nancy ordered the house Iberico ham chorizo with cornichons to start,
while I ordered grilled white asparagus with radishes and hazelnuts in a sherry-walnut vinaigrette, and a very nice glass of rosé.
Both were very good, but Nancy’s was better. (I, of course, assisted Nancy with the chorizo to the limit of her limitless patience.) All of the ingredients at L’Ebauchoir are from France — all of the meats and vegetables — and you can taste the freshness in every bite. As I mentioned, the chorizo was house-made (and very well seasoned) and I suspect from the complex flavor that the cornichons may have been as well.
Nancy ordered the vegetarian main course option:
Isn’t it pretty? The dish was a medley of very fresh, very local vegetables over barley in a lovely carrot broth. Nancy let me have my way with the broth-infused barley with the odd pea, and it was delicious. When have I seen a better vegetarian dish! Not that I’ve seen that many, Southern vegetables tending to be non-vegetarian, but this was flat good! Nancy loved it.
I ordered merlu with white asparagus and new potatoes, and with the freshest yellow squash and zucchini sliced lengthwise in very, very thin strips, obviously on a mandoline, and just dropped into the broth at the last minute.
Whoa! I was stunned by the broth with my fish. What flavor! What a surprise! The owner told me that the broth was infused with basil, rosemary, and sage. The sage was what really knocked it out of the park. The fish itself was very good, a nice piece of fresh fish cooked just right, but, oh!, the broth! No butter, no cream, just delicious! How do they do it?
We didn’t need dessert. What a great meal after a long day! We walked back to the hotel for some long-overdue sleep, well contented with the state of the world.
L’ Ebauchoir has mastered the art of light, flavorful sauces, and they use excellent ingredients. Go there. You’re welcome.