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La Mascotte – Montmartre, Paris, France

May 10th, 2010 · 1 Comment

La Mascotte at night Menu Rabbit rillettes Marinated salmon Young duck with olives and endive Pork with (delicious) lentils Young lamb Chocolate mousse
It has definitely been a while – our apologies. Back in the City of Lights – out with A and B, two residents who love the good life and are dedicated to finding the best food possible.

We’re staying in Montmartre, we’ve flown all night and are more than a bit tired – but never too tired to hunt down a delicious meal. B has tracked down a copy of Foodist that listed the best restaurants in Paris – we looked for one in the 18th and off we went to La Mascotte.

La Mascotte is mostly undistinguishable from any other Parisian cafe/restaurant from the outside. It has a neon sign above the awning and groups of smokers in wicker chairs at tables in front. The front of the restaurant is a neighborhood bar, with a more formal eating area in the back. We were welcomed warmly, quickly seated, given menus, a dish of complimentary seasoned olives, and offered aperitifs (we chose Lillet blanc, not surprisingly).

They have a ‘menu Mascotte’ which is €38 and includes an entree, a main, and dessert; bread is included in the price of your meal. I had the Menu Mascotte – started with the rabbit rillettes, had the pork leg for the main, and finished with the chocolate mousse. D shared the rabbit; she had the duck (served with olives and endive – yum) for the main; A started with the fish soup and had the chocolate mousse for her main, and B started with the marinated salmon, had the baby lamb for the main, and as he usually does, had one spoonful of dessert and declared it a meal.

So how was the food? The fish soup and salmon were excellent. The salmon came in big chunks, was basically raw marinated salmon, and was definitely delicious. The rabbit starter was interesting – it was like a layer cake full of thick chunks of rabbit, mushroom, and other unidentifiables – but it was all good. A’s fish soup was curry-based, and came with toasted bread, cheese, and a red aioli-like substance – the idea is to put this aioli-esque material on a piece of toasted baguette, drop it in your soupe, and enjoy. And it was good – when I asked A (who is French) more about the soup – she just said that this is traditional ‘soupe de poisson’ – it is basically always like this – it’s definitely made with a seafood base and is not for those who do not really love that strong seafood flavour – but the mixture of curry and the bread/aioli has piqued my interest – I’ll have to explore this in more detail.

The mains were all cooked perfectly. D’s duck was very nice – although the endive must have been steamed in vermouth or juniper or something – we all found it to be inedibly bitter – the olives, however, were delicious, and a very nice accompaniment to the duck. The pork was so tender you could eat it with a fork alone, and wasn’t too salty – just perfect. B’s lamb was very good – I haven’t had much baby lamb before and I found it lacking in that big gamy flavour that I like in lamb so much – just with faint gaminess and a texture like veal – it was interesting, but i don’t know that I’d go for it myself. This isn’t criticism of how the dish was cooked – rather this is just the meat itself.

Finishing up, the huge bowl of chocolate mousse was delicious. Rich, dusted with cocoa powder and crunchy chocolate shavings – it would make any chocolate lover happy. Normally I can polish off any amount of chocolate mousse but this was so chocolate-rich, I found it a bit too rich to finish, even with D’s help.

Dinner was €170 – including a delicious €29 bottle of wine that B chose – and they double-charged us for the chocolate mousse (it should have been included in my ‘menu Mascotte’). Not unreasonable for a dinner for four including two Lillet and a bottle of wine. The atmosphere is nice with mirrors, warm yellow wood, and good lighting, the restaurant was full of people who like food, and the service was friendly and very efficient. We came with V in her stroller (who is now 7 weeks old) and the staff were friendly to us and obliging and helpful with her stroller – this may have been another story if we came at peak 10pm dining time, but at 7pm it wasn’t a problem.

Based on the soup and salmon, I think the seafood is probably why I’d come back to La Mascotte. It seemed like everyone was ordering the fish or oysters, and I had forgotten how good the seafood is in France. You won’t go wrong here if you just drop in for some pastis or oysters, or if you decide to stay for a meal. Good for what it is, and a great way to start the vacation with old friends. A perfect night out.

La Mascotte
52 Rue des Abbesses
75018 Paris
01 46 06 28 15

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Tags: Bistro · France · French · Paris · Uncategorized

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