UPDATE, JUNE 1, 2022: Needing to catch a train from the Gare du Nord soon after lunchtime, I met up for lunch with two friends at La Maison Bleue after reading the Paris Update review. I am pleased to report that all three of us loved the very reasonably priced set menu for the day, with sumptuous smoked salmon on a bed of potatoes fried with onion as a starter, followed by wonderfully moist chicken served with a delicious creamy sauce, all for only €17. Sitting on the terrace in the sun, sipping rosé, enjoying good conversation and watching the passersby made for a very pleasurable pre-train journey experience. Nick Hammond
La Maison Bleue is located on the Place Franz Liszt, a square I have never seen in all my years in Paris, even though it is only a 20-minute walk from where I live. Just goes to show how many surprises Paris holds even for longtime residents.
I met my lovely nearly-18-year-old goddaughter Oona there for dinner. We both liked the homey but fresh-looking white-painted interior, with its bookshelves, mirrors, framed photos, rocking chairs and bright-blue accents. And we liked the friendly waiter with a twinkle in his eye.
Oona is a vegetarian, but there were plenty of dishes on the menu to tempt her. For the first course, we shared an “antipasti” (nothing Italian about it, but that’s what it was called) platter. We both enjoyed the slices of grilled butternut squash and the caviar d’aubergines (baba ganoush), but Oona couldn’t eat the tarama (made with fish eggs, of course). I liked it even though it was refrigerator-cold, but didn’t find it exceptional.
For the main course, she chose the grouillade (a fancy name for scrambled eggs, usually called œufs brouillés), made with organic eggs and fresh “melanosporum” truffles. It was generously flavored with truffles and had extra slices on top. She loved it, but I worried about her not having enough to eat, since it came with only a small salad of sucrine (a variety of romaine lettuce).
My main course was much heartier, or at least the meat component – gigue de chevreuil (leg of venison) – was. The celery purée was just a meager swish on the plate, but it was supplemented with lovely roasted potatoes. The meat itself was distressingly dry, to the point where I had trouble swallowing it. The gravy and the tasty beet-and-raspberry sauce helped some, but there was no excuse for the extreme dryness of the meat. I pointed this out to the waiter, who was surprised that I hadn’t finished it and seemed concerned but didn’t offer anything to make up for it – a free coffee or dessert, for example – which I thought was in order, especially considering the €27 price tag on the venison.
For dessert, Oona had the “café très gourmand,” with tea (extra charge!) instead of coffee. She enjoyed tasting the three small desserts: a chocolate mousse, crème caramel and the “legendary” tiramisu with speculoos (spice cookies) and Nutella, all of which were very good but not highly original.
I would say the same about my choice: “David B’s all-chocolate surprise,” which consisted of a brownie-like cake, chocolate mousse and some chocolate candies.
The Maison Bleue has potential, but the results on the night we ate there were uneven. It lacks a strong culinary identity and doesn’t really live up to its own hype (“legendary,” etc.). I won’t go out of my way to go back, although if I found myself nearby, I would certainly give it another chance.Favorite