On a recent Sunday afternoon, I was planning to give an architectural tour in the 16th arrondissement and was looking for a good restaurant in the area that would be open on Sunday evening, a near-impossible task. My two first choices, Radioeat, with its fantastic views of the Seine from the Radio France building, and the elegantly contemporary Zebra, are usually open on Sunday night, but were “exceptionnellement” closed that evening, the first because it had decided to take Sunday off during the summer months and the second because it had been booked for a private party. I was at a loss until I came across, after much research, Le Récepteur. What a lucky find!
If you were just walking past, you would think this was just an ordinary café with an unusually large terrace. Not expecting much from this last-minute choice made in desperation, I sinfully ordered a burger with fries. That was a mistake, not because it was bad – it was quite tasty, with fried onions, wilted cucumber slices and a mayonnaisey sauce, served on a nice sesame bun with crispy homemade fries – but because the dishes my friends ordered were so excellent.
Terry triumphed with the two starters she ordered. The first was an original cold smoked-eggplant soup with strips of grilled octopus. Smoky and spicy, it was divine on that hot evening.
Even better was the other one: tartare of sea bass with coconut milk, coriander granita and quinoa “popcorn.” Exquisite, with its fresh, citrusy flavors.
Mary, meanwhile, was overjoyed with her main course of fried gambas with green asparagus; squid-ink gnocchi; tomato, black-olive and lemon condiment; and almond-and Parmesan crumble.
Lisa was just as happy with her simple bavette (flank steak), tender and flavorful, served with those good fries and a green salad.
When our three desserts arrived, we all went crazy over them. My favorite was the lovely chocolate cream with chocolate crumble and carmelized hazelnuts, but it had strong competition from the cheesecake with a spéculos cookie base flavored with green anise, topped with raspberry sauce and coriander.
The pretty lemon tart was no slouch either, with a pleasingly acidic/sweet creamy topping and perfect shortbread. I suspect that someone in Le Récepteur’s kitchen has been trained in pastrymaking.
The friendly waiters managed to get tables for all comers on the extra-large terrace and ran themselves ragged accommodating their needs. We couldn’t have done better on that hot summer evening than serendipitously stumbling across this place on a quiet street – with a talented chef in the kitchen.