Thursday, January 24, 2013

La Rallonge - A Montmartre Restaurant Opening

What Foodie hasn't dreamed of being part of a restaurant opening? Claire takes us to the opening night feast of La Rallonge, one of Montmartre's hottest new eateries. Who says so? We do!

La Rallonge - French gastropub opening - by Claire Thomas

I’d never been to a restaurant opening soirée before – especially not in Paris, food capital of the world - and had no idea what to expect. The words swanky, fancy, delicious come to mind. And terror, a little bit (what if I eat something in the wrong way?). But when Yetunde passed on her invitation to the opening at La Rallonge on Saturday night, I knew it was time to leave that trepidation at home.


La Rallonge is just a 5-minutes’ walk from my house and is nestled next to La Table d’Eugene, another restaurant by the same chef. Having already been moved to tears by the perfection of my meal months earlier at La Table d’Eugene, my mouth had high hopes for La Rallonge.

I arrived around 7:30pm, clinging to my better French half; we were both sliding on the snow that had been steadily building up on the sidewalks. I suddenly had an intense vision of walking into the restaurant and immediately doing a cartoon-worthy slip-n-slide. “There’s Yetunde’s friend!” the other, more worldly patrons would exclaim, “American, surely…” They would shake their heads and laugh to hide their horror.

Thankfully I stayed upright, and was put at ease when we were warmly greeted by the staff. I literally blushed when the chef smiled and thanked us for representing Yetunde and Eric (both in London for a food show). Two glasses of a flavorful Languedoc red appeared on the bar in front of us, along with a plate of fresh bruschetta-like toasts. We were instructed with a wink to help ourselves to anything at the bar, “stealing from your neighbors if you must”. I was charmed.


We moved to one of the high, round, aged-cheese-equipped tables next to the bar. I was too giddy to sit. The cheese plate was impressive and was accompanied by a basket of bread as well as a bowl of carrot chips (original!). We hardly had a chance to taste the selection when new plates were passed around: oysters.

I’d never eaten oysters. I didn’t even know how; do you stick the whole shell into your mouth? Wasn’t there supposed to be Tabasco sauce? Do you chew it, or sort of just let it… slide on down? I surreptitiously tried to watch the other patrons to see how they did it. After a few seconds I realized I was being creepy, so I walked up to the bar, scooted next to a nice looking Frenchwoman, and after saying hello asked her if she would advise me. Scoop a bit of shallot vinaigrette, detach with fork, eat, repeat. I was an oyster eating machine (well, I had four; let’s not get carried away here).


Then came the joue de boeuf, in miniature white ramekins. The beef was slow-cooked to perfection, the kind you can cut with a fork – nay, a spork. This was my favorite, and I greedily snatched a second ramekin when they were brought out again later in the night. We spotted some croquettes de jambon at the bar and delighted in the creamy interior and crunchy exterior of the bite-sized nuggets. After this, another favorite made its way to our table: tiny glass bowls of pasta risotto with truffles and cepes, which quite literally warmed my soul. My soul.



We had a jazz concert to go to after our time at La Rallonge, so we left a little before 9:00pm (and when I say ‘left’, I do not mean ‘left willingly’). I was heartbroken to go, since I had the feeling the night was only just getting started. Thankfully I live just a stones’ throw away, and I am already planning to visit again this week.  

If you liked this post, be sure to also check out Yetunde's impressions of La Rallonge

 

La Rallonge
16 rue Eugène Sue
Paris 75018
Tel: 01 42 59 43 24
Metro: Jules Joffrin (line 12)
Open: Tuesday to Saturday 7pm to 2 am



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 A Chicago native, Claire moved to Paris in 2009 to finish her university studies. When the semester had finished, she decided to make the city her new home. She now happily works for .Sight Seeker's Delight and beyond overseeing the company's operations, she also helps build new tours, research general Paris happenings, and aid in the administrative labyrinth.

2 comments:

  1. I am seriously craving for a croquettes de jambon right now. I actually plan to make one with a low-calorie sweetener. I just wish it wouldn't taste half as good.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Gina. Those croquettes were amazing. If you are ever in Paris you should stop by there.

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