The Butchers of Paname

The Week of the Lamb

September 20, 2017By Heidi EllisonRestaurants

It was the week of the lamb. It began with lunch at the Butchers de Paname in the fifth arrondissement, a spiffy new place with an all-white decor; a second large, spacious and comfortable dining room upstairs; and a hermetically sealed smoking room and special wine-tasting room downstairs.

We were first treated to a bowl of perfect homemade purple-potato chips  (we didn’t go there for a healthy meal!).

For a starter on the €24.50 three-course lunch menu, I had a very fine tomato gazpacho with crispy croutons, confit tomato and a dash of basil sauce, followed by canon d’agneau, tender pieces of lamb from the thigh bone, which were fine but didn’t send me over the moon, served with tasty mashed potatoes nicely accented by sweet-and-sour bits of pickled red onion.

My lunch companion had lamb, too, ordered from the à la carte menu: “crousti-fondante” deboned lamb shoulder, which he found disappointing and rather greasy. It came with the same mashed potatoes. 

The set menu dessert was an irresistible combination of organic strawberries and thickened whipped cream with a crumbled cookie on top. 

The easygoing, professional service helped make the meal a pleasurable experience even though we weren’t overwhelmed by our meat dishes. 

Shortly after, the same friend asked me to accompany him to the Rotisserie d’Argent, a cheaper relation of the famous Tour d’Argent and located just below it, to sample the shoulder of lamb for two. He had heard from a friend how fantastic it was, especially when preceded by a starter of assorted radishes with butter and salt, a French favorite. 

We were seated in the “fishbowl” of the restaurant’s glassed-in front, both of us looking out, but with that view of the Seine and the Île Saint Louis, who could complain?

To my friend’s great disappointment, the radishes weren’t available that day, so we had escargots instead. They were nice and fresh and sauced with lots of parsley and butter, but I would have been happier with a touch more garlic. 

When the famous lamb shoulder arrived, we found it okay, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The same could be said for my matchstick French fries. The fried potatoes my friend had were tasty, but no better than what I could whip up at home myself.

For dessert, I ordered the île flottante because it looked delicious on a nearby table, but it, too, left me indifferent. 

Foodwise, the meal did not live up to the restaurant’s famous name. A shame. But I did have a lovely time anyway, because of the good company, the cheery server and that view. I guess we were paying for the latter rather than the food.

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