It is crazy to believe that I have been living in Paris for almost 5 weeks now! It all still seems so new and I am still very much in love with this city. I will forever miss the VAT tax and no tipping, as well as fresh French wine that costs next to nothing. I finish my summer program a week from now, and then I will spend 2 more weeks traveling all through France with friends from New York! I’m so excited to take them to all of my favorite spots in Paris and drink wine with them on the Seine. Oh yeah, I’m also going to miss the lack of open container laws.
Now, I’ve got to be real with you all for a second. Paris food is……. comme ci comme ça. It’s just… what can I say–middle of the road? It’s hard to explain. I came over here expecting to have amazing food, the kind of food that you HAVE to shut your eyes after your first bite because the taste is that amazing. The kind of feeling I get when I go to my neighborhood restaurant in Williamsburg and order something fancy. Sadly, I haven’t experienced that in Paris.
That is, until now!!! Last night, I was craving rabbit so I googled, “best rabbit in Paris,” and chose the first option, Chez Janou, a provençal bistro. Their entrees looked wonderful and they had rabbit as one of their mains. My roommate was also in my apartment before I took off, so I invited her along, warning her that the food was a little odd. She was craving a caesar salad but was enchanted by the idea of having a good steak instead. So, off we went!
This place was so cute and fun, and mostly reservation only. Luckily, I dragged us out there early enough so we could snag a table. We ordered their house white wine, as it’s devastatingly hot in Paris right now. Normally I drink red, but the thought of drinking warm red wine in the heat of summer in a country that has never heard of air conditioning is revolting. Trust me. The restaurants here put their own label on their house wines! So cute.
As a tradition in Paris, you must always begin your dinner with an entree. I had moules gratinées à la provençale (mussels au gratin in the provençal style), while Megan had Assiette de ratatouille, anchoïade et tapenade (cold ratatouille with anchovy and olive tapenade spread). Both were absolutely incredible! These mussels are one of the best things I have ever tasted. I fell in love after a single bite. I had that wonderful feeling that I explained earlier, where I shut my eyes and experience the wonderfulness of the flavors. The rich, buttery flavor of the mussels was incredible. Luckily, we were served bread, so I was able to soak up all the leftover juices. Meg had never had mussels, but after my first bite I absolutely insisted she try one. Of course, she loved it.
Here’s a closeup, because they deserve it.
For our main course, I had the Cuisse de lapin confite (rabbit thigh with mashed potatoes), while Meg had the Entrecôte Bistrot (steak and a baked potato with a delicious, but unknown sauce). SO GOOD. People always tell me that rabbit has a game-y taste, but I think it tastes like a softer, fresher chicken. I absolutely adore it! Luckily, they did not ask Meg how she wanted her steak cooked, so they brought it out wonderfully rare. If you ask them for medium rare, they’ll prepare it well done. In France, rare steak is the only way.
Here is a photo of me about to dive in!
Finally, we ordered their famous chocolate mousse for dessert, which came in a humongous pot! It was incredibly rich and delicious. Of course, I had to get a glass of champagne as well. In Paris, you are supposed to end a wonderful meal with champagne!
Aaaaand this is all we could eat of the mousse. Plus the woman next to us took a forkful.
Chez Janou was amazing! I cannot wait to go back and I cannot wait to eat more provençal food when in Nice!