Le Pré Verre, Paris

| April 26, 2005 | 1 Comment
  • 1 Comment

This blogging phenomenon has flung open the doors to the world and connected me with people all over the planet. This particular evening I was having dinner with a woman from Los Angeles who, like me a few years ago, wants to make a change in her life and being a Francophile at heart, is naturally drawn to Paris. She stumbled on my little web site, felt a kindred spirit, et voila, two months later she lands in Paris!

We met at Le Pré Verre, a bistro du vin (wine bar) in the 5th arrondisement. It is on the corner of rue Thenard and rue Sommerard, 1 block south of blvd St Germain and 1 block east of rue St Jacques. My friend Antoinette enlightened me to this local gem that I never would have stumbled upon. Chef Delacourcelle lived in Asia so he works with ingredients such as a cassia (cinnamon), bard and tamarind and he also trained with the late Bernard Loiseu and mastered French pastry at Fauchon. Needless to say, we were in for a memorable meal.

I had the exact same plat (main course) and dessert I had the week before as it was so superb I couldn't stop thinking about it. I opted for a different entrée (appetizer) as the petite pois et fois gras (baby peas and duck liver) terrine was too tempting. Last visit I started with the velouté de cresson (watercress soup) topped with chorizo sausage flavored foam and chopped peanuts. The melding of flavors and textures was a wonderful surprise and simply delicious. This time, in honor of spring blooming around me, I opted for the petite pois et fois gras terrine. Once again a subtle combination of flavors and textures and combine perfectly. The lettuce on the bottom was unnecessary and distracting but the lovely radish disks and slightly spicy vinaigrette added a wonderful crunch and spice to this already perfect dish.

For my plat (main course), I selected the morue avec purée fumée (Cod with Smoked Mashed Potatoes). The cod was seared in cassia (cinnamon) which not knowing this when I ordered it (on my first visit) made my first bite a brilliant surprise. The cod simply melted in my mouth and the unctuous cinnamon cream sauce enhanced the caramelized spice. The puréed potatoes were other-worldly. They were smoked first so they had that earthy, smokey, hickory taste and puréed perfectly smooth. When scooped with a bit of the cinnamon cream sauce, I didn't want to stop eating them…ever.

Dessert, the crescendo, was simple yet spectacular. The descriptor, fraises mariné au persil (strawberries marinated in parsley), doesn't begin to do it justice. The strawberries were quartered and marinated in cointreau and chopped parsley. The mound of berries were then topped with finely chopped nuts and a large quenelle (football shaped scoop) of glacé du persil! Parsley ice cream!!! Who'd a thought? Pas moi (not me) that's for sure! A very refreshing and visually beautiful end to an amazing meal. Cue cymbals!

35 euros each with a glass of wine (a Chinon from Bordeau, i think?)…worth every centime and then some!

Le Pré Verre
Chef Delacourcelle
8 rue Thenard
75005 Paris
+33 (0)1 43 54 59 47
Metro: Maubert Mutualite (#10)

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About the Author ()

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world's most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse). After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin's PBS cooking show, "Fast Food, My Way", Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie. In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. "More Fast Food, My Way" should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall. Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!
  • molly

    You’re killing me! Must. Travel. To. Paris.