Le Parisien opened in April 2012 on Denman Street in the West End of downtown Vancouver. The younger sister to Bistro Pastis in Kitsilano, voted the Best Bistro at the Vancouver Magazine Awards. With this media dinner at Le Parisien, I am sure that Le Parisien will be winning many awards soon. Both restaurants are owned by French Chevalier de l’Ordre du Merite, John Blakeley.
The occasion for this dinner was to present us with a sampling of their refined menu, along with their Petits Plats, and upcoming “The Nasty Bits” in November.
What are Petits Plats?
New on the menu are Petits Plats – small plates that can be quickly ordered to accompany a glass of wine or cocktail as you peruse the rest of the menu. Priced at a very reasonable $3.50, diners will be hard pressed to choose between Pork Rillettes (Dijon Mustard), Baked Mussels (tomato and garlic), Oyster Rockefeller (bacon and Pernod), Crispy Calamari (saffron mayonnaise), Smoked Herring (warm potato salad) and Squash Croquette (goat cheese and apple chutney). Of course, you don’t have to choose, you could make an entire meal out of ordering several Petits Plats.
This evening we tried the Smoked Herring with potato salad, a side of Belgian Endive Au Gratin, and Main courses of Crab Stuffed Petrale Sole and Choucroute Garnie, and Raspberry / Strawberry crepe dessert and was also served to us. To these dishes I enjoyed a delightful rose wine, l’Orangerie, Pays d’Oc, 2011, France. It went well with every dish. I was quite impressed.
The Smoked herring with potato salad was delightful. The herring was soft and lightly smoked. A sweet & citrus dressing made the dish bright.
The Belgian endive au gratin is a braised endive wrapped in ham and cooked with a Bechamel sauce. The endive still had some crunch to it. The ham played a supporting role and the Bechamel sauce the creamy component to bind the endive and ham.
The Crab Stuffed Petrale Sole is panfried in butter, then a sauce is added consisting of cream, white wine, and shallots, seasoned with tarragon. The whole dish is then baked uncovered for 10 minutes before reaching our plates. Sole is a very soft, delicate fish. I enjoyed this dish, but the tarragon was a bit overpowering.
I really like Alsatian style food, so was delighted with the Choucroute Garnie, house smoked pork chop, sausage, bacon potatoes and wine braised sauerkraut. This dish is a must with Dijon mustard. We were told that the sausages and the sauerkraut were made at the restaurant. That is fantastic. The restaurant is really putting it’s mark on their dishes.
Our dessert was a light Raspberry/Strawberry souffle crepe. The souffle being composed of egg whites, cream, raspberry and strawberry puree, folded into a quarter and then baked in the oven for 10 minutes, and finally topped with a chocolate sauce. The filling was light and delightful, not too sweet, but you could definitely taste the fruit. The only thing that could make this dessert any better would be a small glass of Sauternes!
What are “The Nasty Bits”?
The Nasty Bits are all the parts of fowl or animal that most people shy away from, such as pig’s ear, duck heart, and pigs trotter. But these are used in traditional French cooking. This evening the Nasty Bits we enjoyed were the Stuffed Pigs Trotter and the Smoked Beef Tongue.
The Stuffed pigs trotter is a dish requiring many steps, as demonstrated by Executive Chef Tobias Grignon. The pigs trotter (the pig’s foot) is first skinned, then the skin is simmered in vegetable broth for 2 hours. This softened skin is then stuffed with shredded pork hock, parsley and pork mousse, then the trotter is wrapped in foil and oven baked at a low temperature. Finally the trotter is sliced into rounds, breaded then panfried. This trotter round was placed on a bed of cooked lentils, then topped with a light salad of frisee and I think celeraic. I really enjoyed this dish (I’d rate it as my favourite dish). You get the earthiness of the lentils, the smokiness from the pork hock, the crunch from the panfried crust, and the gelatinous feel from the softened pigs trotter skin. (Here is my youtube video showing Chef Grignon cooking the stuffed pigs trotter.)
The other Nasty Bit this evening was the Smoked beef tongue with romaine hearts, and mustard vinaigrette. The tongue was soft textured and mild flavoured. The creamy sauce had a nice citrus bite to it, plus there were capers mixed in to add an additional salty /sour component. Very easy to enjoy a few of these nasty bits with a glass of rose.
If you find yourself in the West End, or having some fun along the seawall in Stanley Park, if you need a nibble, drop by the Le Parisien, order some Petits Plats and a glass or two of wine. And if you are in the mood for more for dinner, there is a main course for you, whether you prefer seafood, poultry, beef, pork, or Nasty Bits. Enjoy!