Crayfish bisque with foie gras and chestnuts.
Schmidt—L’Os à Moelle
3, rue Vasco de Gama, in the 15th Arrondissement.
01 45 57 27 27. Lunch and dinner, Tues–Sat.
When I received an invitation to dine at a Paris restaurant with an Alsatian bent, my stomach turned over as I flashed back to my pork-laden romp through the Christmas markets in Strasbourg and Colmar a few months ago. I had barely finished digesting the pork knuckle and cheese-covered potatoes from December, but I was told Schmidt—L’Os a Moelle would be a different culinary experience.
And it was different, thanks to the new chef at the helm, Stéphane Schmidt. An alum of Christian Constant’s Le Violon d’Ingres, Schmidt brings an artistic and light-handed Alsatian touch to the bistro. In addition to the new cuisine, the room now boasts a more updated, sophisticated look, with warm beige walls and white tablecloths.
We decided to sample the breadth of Schmidt’s offerings with the six-course tasting menu. A flammeküche amuse-bouche with cheese and lardons got us in an Alsatian state of mind before our first course arrived. Meaty pieces of foie gras and chestnuts lay in an empty bowl, and a thick crayfish bisque was poured over them for a silky mouthful of rich sweetness and salty perfection. The next dish featured sautéed mushrooms and bacon gathered around a poached egg that, when pierced, spilled over all the ingredients, making the toasted bread perched on the edge of the bowl a prime player to sop up all the savory, runny bits.
Scallops in candied-orange sauce.
Three plump scallops appeared next, cooked in a sweet candied-orange sauce. I enjoyed the sweetness, but others found it a bit overpowering, though they were certainly satiated by the next course: veal. It was simply prepared and perhaps the least exciting dish after the elaborately constructed fare of the previous courses. We drank a medium-bodied Alsatian pinot noir, which held its own through the meal (and was fairly priced at 28 euros).
Afterward we were given a creamy piece of St.-Nectaire cheese, served with a small, lightly dressed salad—always a pleasure to see in often vegetable-scarce Paris. It seemed impossible to eat one more bite, but when the chocolate praline finale arrived, there wasn’t one bit left on my plate. It may take me a few months to process this meal, but I’ll savor every minute of the memory.
In a nutshell: Schmidt—L’Os à Moelle offers upscale, inventive cuisine with an Alsatian bent in a simple dining room in the 15th.
Price check: Lunch menu, 24–29 euros; dinner, 55–65 euros; six-course tasting menu, 55 euros.
If you’re tempted by Schmidt—L’Os à Moelle, you might also like Drouant. Read the review.
16–18, place Gaillon, in the 2nd.
01 42 65 15 16. Lunch and dinner daily.
Editor’s note: For a gourmet walking trip, check out our DIY downloadable trips.