Pinxo – Paris
Carre des Feuillants, Alain Dutornier’s Michelin two-star restaurant, is located on a prominent street leading to the Place Vendome; his other venture, Pinxo, is situated on the corner of an alley and a back street. The difference doesn’t stop there. We had been to Carre des Feuillants many many years ago and remember it being a bastion of formal French cuisine; Pinxo is decidedly more edgy and not French. Named after the Basque word for tapas, it serves a bevy of small plates; however, Spain isn’t the only inspiration, and flavors are borrowed from all parts of the globe.
The first thing that our server laid on our table was a glass cellar with multiple compartments. “Baby radish” was how she explained this to us. We were supposed to snip the leaves and dip it in one of the three accompanying spices — sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Unfortunately, I failed to listen to instructions and scooped a bit of the white stuff underneath (I was looking for the radish). It turned out to be moist paper. Phooey!
Chipirons au pied de cochon. Translated — baby squid stuffed with pig’s feet. Sounds better in French, doesn’t it? To be honest, I didn’t care too much for this. It smelled a little like, you know, … feet.
Cappucino of pumpkin, chestnut and foie gras. All my favorite ingredients in a glass, with bits of foie gras lurking at the bottom of the soup. Chestnuts and foie gras must be a classic pairing since I’ve seen this done by so many restaurants during this trip.
Grilled shrimps on curried coconut rice. Proof of the South Asian influence on this menu.
Scallops wrapped in a thin pastry and served with braised endives. The bits of red pepper were like a firecracker in the mouth.
Curdled ewe’s milk with cooked raspberries. The texture of the curdled milk was very delicate; it was like eating the white of a soft boiled egg.
Ideally, we should have had one more person tag along for the meal since each course came in portions of three. However, it was no hardship having an extra bite or two. While I wouldn’t say that this was the best pintxos I’ve ever had, it was nevertheless a welcome break during this trip.