Café Trama vibrates with a lively buzz.A reader named Alexandra recently wrote in to complain that Paris Update reviews too many restaurants in the 10th arrondissement, saying, “For us frequent visitors in Paris, other than two train stations, there isn’t much to do there.”
It’s true that Paris Update has a slight bias toward the 10th, partly because we are based here and partly because a lot of new restaurants are opening in this area where the rents are more affordable for young restaurateurs than in the “chic” arrondisse-
I don’t agree, however, about there being nothing to do in this rapidly changing neighborhood. There is the Canal St. Martin to walk along on a beautiful day, and lots of cool shops, bars, cafés and, yes, restaurants (click here to see a list of Paris Update’s favorite restaurants by arrondissement).
But never let it be said that Paris Update doesn’t listen to its readers. Here’s one for you, Alexandra: the Café Trama in the seventh arrondissement.
I liked the lively ambiance as soon as I walked through the door with my friend Tony from San Francisco, but I was a bit nervous about being seated around a corner in the back – out of sight, out of mind…. Since the door next to the table didn’t lead to the toilet, however, I didn’t object. The waitress was slow in bringing our menus, but she took to heart my comment that I thought she had forgotten us, and she was attentive and friendly throughout the rest of the meal.
The menu looked promising, with a number of tempting choices for each course. I objected to one trendy item on the list: a tin of Gondola sardines from Portugal. I am sure that they are delicious, but where is the added value provided by the chef? Anyone can open a tin of expensive sardines at home.
To start, I chose the baby leeks with foie gras and truffle vinaigrette, which sounded right up my alley, but the very thin slice of foie gras was
rather stingy, and, while there was nothing at all objectionable about the dish, I didn’t find it very exciting. Tony enjoyed his velvet-crab
soup flavored with anise and saffron, with a dollop of cream on top.
For the main course, he had the special of the day – pluma (a cut of Ibérico pork) with puréed parsnips, chanterelle mushrooms and roasted
figs – and was delighted with this comforting combination of flavorful pork and autumn fruit and vegetables. I was more than delighted with
my richly satisfying squid-ink risotto topped with tender calamari.
For dessert, we shared a perfect lemon tart,
with exactly the right levels of creaminess and acidity.
The meal was nicely accompanied by a bottle of natural Côtes du Rhône, Le Clos des Grillons 2013.
Alexandra, I heartily recommend that you try Café Trama and promise to deliver more reviews of non-10th-arrondissement restaurants in the future.