Monday, May 9, 2011


Stylewise, Dirigeable in the 15th (37, rue d'Alleray  01 45 32 01 54) is way more 2011 in attitude than La Truffiere (see April 3 post) in the 5th but the menu is only degrees away from classic. Dirigeable is just north of Convention off Vaugirard, so for most visitors this is a destination address. 

Decorating is spare and attractive. Service for us was very good - low-key and responsive. Responsive is important when there are issues of translation at stake.

Choice is streamlined - six or seven appetizers, same number of main courses and three or four desserts. Appetizers included a haddock carpaccio, a salad of grapes, citrus and ginger, chicken liver terrine, smoked foie gras with lentil velouté, sautéed foie gras with leeks, and a compote of rabbit and prunes. The sautéed fois gras with leek confits was amazing. The question we neglected to ask, however, was if the rabbit and prune compote was chaud. Turns out it was not and chunks of cold rabbit make a dense dish to eat. This is definitely the American me speaking, noting that in our food culture cold tureens usually mean slices of not very chunky pâté.

Main courses were evenly divided between fish and meat. The fish choices, very appealing, included carrelet (a flat fish, like flounder) with chorizo, noix de Saint Jacques, and a French cod. There was also duck breast with foie gras, beef tartare, and osso bucco.  Sauteed leeks were a major component of the accompanying vegetables in more than one dish but generally enhanced without overwhelming. However, the centerpiece of one fish entrée, the actual fish, was deemed bland and not up to the standards of the vegetables.  Scanning the tables around us we could see that all the main courses were represented and it made me want to do more sampling.

Dessert choices were limited (each would have worked for me) but the special dessert of the evening was a prune clafouti which was ordered prior to the meal. Here a clafouti is made with fruit baked within a batter. Dirigeable makes this dessert regularly, varying the fruit. Excellent. It did remind me of the made-to-order tarts at Al Forno and Bocaro in Providence.

Certain menu items appear very often with the remainder changing daily. Dirigeable has the sort of menu and ambience which remind you that good neighborhood dining is a pleasure. South of Convention (home also to Jadis, another favored spot in the 15th), Dirigeable operates L'Annexe du Dirigeable (4, rue de Dantzig  01 45 30 63 82).

No website.
night snacks in Paris

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