Tuesday, August 21, 2018

He had another life

August 21, 2018 -- "He had another life," the web site explains.  "He was a surgeon, who decided to put down the scalpel to dedicate his life to his passion for wine and food." 

So, Francis Firmin became a restaurateur of a tiny Parisian left-bank bistrot with a dozen little tables.  He found an experienced chef, Alexandre Vialatte.  Together, they improvise and create delicate and delicious dishes.

Long ago, before doctors were well educated,  surgery was performed by barbers.  Hence, the name of Francis's restaurant, Firmin le Barbier.  Chefs work well with knives, too.  So perhaps Francis's post-retirement career is a natural transition.

His bistrot is located at 20 rue de Monttessuy, very near the Eiffel Tower, in the 7th arrondissement.  That's a pleasant 35 to 40 minute stroll from our apartment.  I'd made a reservation on lafourchette.com because the restaurant's ratings are so high.

Quenelle at Firmin le Barbier.
When we arrived at the tiny place at 7:30PM, several tables were already occupied.  After studying the menu, we both decided to get the quenelle with Nantua sauce.  A quenelle is a soufflé-like dumpling; this one is served in a crawfish sauce with a Béchamel base.  That sauce is pretty much a crawfish bisque, and our quenelles were floating in it.  Surprisingly, a few tasty mushrooms were tossed in as well.  

Baba au limoncello
We love the quenelles at the Vagenende on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, but those are too copious.  The serving size is way too big at the Vagenende, and the dish is super rich.  At Firmin's place, the dish is sized right and isn't so heavy.

So we were able to have dessert:  a limoncello baba (sponge cake) for Tom, and a chocolate tart with a bit of lemon sorbet for me.  It was a fine dinner, and the service was very attentive.  We thanked Chef Alexandre profusely when we left.

On the way home, we arrived on the middle of the Champ de Mars just in time to see the Eiffel Tower twinkle.  I made a video of that for you:

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