Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dinner at BAM

    Set down a tiny side street between Rue de Rivoli and the Seine, BAM stands for "bar à manger"-- "a bar that you eat at" would be the literal translation, although this is about as far from "bar" food as you can get. Dinner here a couple of nights back was one of the most intriguing and imaginative meals we've had in Paris at this price level. BAM can definitely hold its head up and boast that it's a "proper" restaurant.
    Diners can't. Hold their heads up, I mean. We turned down the offer of the table right under the bar (where those two chaps are sitting), climbed the narrow, steep, spiral stairs to the mezzanine and found ourselves a better table. To call the ceiling "low"....let's just say that anyone approaching six feet has to assume a Quasimodo-like crouch to avoid smashing their head.
   The service was super-friendly but scattered. Our two menus somehow ended up as a shared entrée and plat (but separate desserts!!)  with the rectagonal platters positioned so we could each start at one end and meet in the middle. We didn't leave hungry either.
    "Cube de queue de boeuf confite, pissenlit, carottes croquantes, vinaigrette carotte," it says on the menu. You could cut those cubes of confited oxtail with a fork and the Jackson Pollock-esque splashes of carrot vinaigrette had just the right kick. Another entrée I'd like to play around with at home is the soupe glacée de petits pois à la menthe, sorbet pamplemousse rose, mikado à la coppa. Fresh peas, mint, grapefruit and something bacon-y? Sounds okay by me.

   "Magret de canard au piment d’espelette, aubergines rôties à l’ail & basilic, oignons rouges confits au porto"
   We eat so much duck at home that I rarely order it when we're outside the deep south. But this dish sounded startlingly different--in a good way. I couldn't really taste the espelette pepper on the grilled duck but there was enough going on on anyway in hte flavour department. Halved eggplants roasted so long that they'd collapsed on themselves, glorious red onions sweet from their bath of port and the surprise of a basil leaf of garnish. Might try this one at home too.

    Dessert porn. Think of the traditional banoffee pie. Now destructure it and arrange all the elements separately.

  Roasted figs, cream, etc. etc. A half-litre of a sturdy Rioja. Coffees. Out, smiling, into the night.

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