For Eliot’s last night in Paris, Seth and I met him at Hier & Aujourd’hui (Yesterday & Today), a small Michelin-listed restaurant in the seventeenth arrondissement. A lengthy walk from the metro, this cozy spot was tough to find but totally worth the trek.
We walked in a few minutes after eight to find a nearly empty restaurant. We gathered with a few other patrons around the large chalkboard menu, desperately trying to decide which mouthwatering dishes to order. For thirty euros, we each received three courses: an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. Once we placed our orders, our waitress brought out a bottle of absolutely amazing Bordeaux, some fresh country bread, and a complimentary house pâté. (I still have yet to learn the subtle differences between pâté and terrine.) The pâté, which was served as a sort of loaf, was passed from table to table; as each group received their appetizers, on went the meaty spread to the next.
Eliot’s meal was basically an elderly person’s dream. He started with the foie gras ravioli, which was not so much a pasta as a dumpling soup. The thin, slippery broth and the thick, fatty duck liver were very delicately balanced. For his main course, he ordered a traditional southern French dish called Brandade de Morue, which consists of salted cod and mashed potatoes. (The cod filet is basically pureed and mixed with the potatoes to become one large, mushy plate. It sounds kind of gross, but it is actually quite heavenly.) He then finished his meal with a very hefty portion of bittersweet chocolate mouse. Had Eliot lacked all ability to chew, his dinner would have still been perfect.
Seth started his meal with a parmesan flan and a balsamic vinegar salad. For his main dish, he enjoyed tender pork cheeks on a bed of peas, asparagus, and bacon. Finally, he ended his meal with a traditional rum cake. I think it was the first instance I knew of a dessert making someone tipsy.
As for me, I ordered the foie gras ravioli, panfried scallops with white haricot beans, and panna cotta (Italian cooked cream). The scallops were so complex in flavor: meaty, earthy, citrusy, thyme-y… Mmm mmm mmm, so comforting, too. Also, the panna cotta, drizzled with fresh strawberry puree, was hands down the best I had ever eaten.
Sigh. If only I could afford to dine out more often. But alas, Seth and I definitely have to cut back on our spending next week. Cheap home cookin’, here we come!
[Hier & Aujourd’hui: 145 Rue de Saussure, 75017 Paris]
UPDATE: This restaurant closed on 26 May, 2011.