Monday, May 4, 2009

Chapeau Melon: Natural wines and Bistro in the 19th

[OK, thanks so much for bearing with the lack of activity on these pages of late. Collarbone recovery has been the focus of late. It takes me more time to do stuff - from work, to eating, to getting around, even sleeping - I seem to need an hour more sleep per night post collarbone fracture. Not to complain, just saying that I haven't updated as often as is typical and now you know why. Hopefully a change for the better this week.

My feedburner feed and widget seem to be back on track thanks to a little toying around (thank you Mateo). So if you'd like to subscribe, or have attempted to subscribe without any luck, or had subscribed way back in the day and then mysteriously lost the subscription, go ahead and enter your email to get your subscription to the world that is old and the school that is also old.]

And now, back to adventures in Paris....

The 19th arrondissement is to Paris what Queens is to New York: a diverse cross section of immigrants, the working class, and others who who make up a lively, colorful part of the city, that unfortunately goes under-appreciated by most tourists and even many city residents. What brought me here, besides taking a break from the touristy Paris, was actually Le Baratin, billed by none other than Terroir's Guillhaume Gerard as a 'must fucking go!' establishment for the quality of the food and the wine list. Since I tried to book a same day reservation for dinner, I was not surprisingly told that they were booked for the night.

I did happen to hear that another local spot, Chapeau Melon, was doing interesting things with natural wines. So I checked them out and confirmed this fact. They have a nice selection, with many of the usual French natural wine suspects, as well as Radikon and some other international representation, much more so than Le Verre Voleé. After purchasing a bottle of sous voile Arbois chardonnay as a thank you gift to one of my terrific hosts in Champagne, I discovered that this wine shop, as do many in Paris these days, doubles as a bistro at night.

I was able to make a reservation for two for that evening. While the 16 or so seats were full, the dinner did not quite deliver as much as I had expected. Salmon tartare with julienne granny smith apples in a soy sauce and olive oil dressing was a tasty start. After that, however, dishes were not as memorable: a plain chilled cream of asparagus soup; overdressed baby greens; overcooked pork. Given the enthusiastic reviews I've heard about this place, I might well have caught it on an off night. If you're around the neighborhood during the evening, I would encourage you to give Chapeau Melon a try for dinner, otherwise just check out their wines during the day and head elsewhere for dinner.

Chapeau Melon
92, r. Rébeval
75019 PARIS
T 01 42 02 68 60
m° Pyrénées / Belleville