A lively atmosphere and quality tapas.
I had never tested the tapas and pintxos (Basque tapas) restaurant Max y Jeremy in the third arrondissement, so when a new branch, the Cantine Max y Jeremy, opened in the 10th, I took the opportunity to try it with three friends on a Saturday night.
Our waitress, charming, friendly and solicitous (she was so concerned about our welfare that I assumed she was the manager), suggested that we order two or three tapas per person, reminding us that we didn’t have to order everything at once. We should have taken her advice. Planning to share everything, we ordered two tapas each to begin with, and they were all served at more or less the same time, overwhelming us and overcrowding the table, which was already a bit cramped. We were sitting in a booth, by the way, which is always fun, but it would have been nice if it had been a bit roomier.
The next time I go there, I will suggest to my companions that we order one tapas each to start with, then add more as desired. I would also suggest sticking to the tapas; one of my
friends ordered the platter of charcuterie and cheese, which was fine, especially the chorizo, but not particularly exciting.
The star of that first wave of dishes was indisputably the deep-fried prawns with
chorizo, wrapped in crispy filo dough and served piping hot with homemade mayonnaise. They were so good that we ordered more. The calamari rings (“pompoms de chipirons” on
the menu) cooked in pastis were also very tasty, as was the pan con tomates (Spanish
version of bruschetta), which came with some lovely Serrano ham on the side. The marinated salmon was fine but not very thrilling, although
it came on a nice bed of cooked fennel. We also liked the croquettes, txistorras (spicy little
Basque sausages) and especially the accras with a tomato sauce flavored with Espelette
pepper. The “panna mozzarella” – panna cotta
of mozzarella and basil with tomatoes and pesto, was a pleasing experiment.
For those who don’t want tapas, a Charolais-
beef entrecôte for two (at €28 per person) is available. At lunch time, diners can choose either tapas or such dishes as a bacon cheeseburger, fish and chips, a steak, risotto with seasonal vegetables or a beef tartare.
For dessert, we tried the soft-centered chocolate cake and a café gourmand with its crème brûlée, fruit salad and turrón (honey cake). They were okay, but were far
outshone by the fantastically light and delicious cheesecake, the cream of the crop.
This is not about haute cuisine in elegant surroundings but about enjoying tasty food in a lively, convivial atmosphere. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, the Cantine Max y Jeremy is just the ticket.