Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chez Maman

The perfunctory "Raviolis Maison" for six euros.

Across the street from my hotel in Paris is a little Korean restaurant known as Chez Maman. For years I've been curious about eating there - especially those times when I have a hankering for rice. The conundrum? Did I travel across a vast ocean to the land of grande cuisine to eat Korean food? It always sounded ridiculous to me - even though I felt the call of rice pulling me towards its doors.

After a day of Ana dragging me across the city, down Champs Elsyees, to the Royal Palace, through Tuileries, to the Louvre and then up to Opera, I was tired. Really tired. However, I wanted to check out a chicken place across town and next door to Taillevent.

But I was tired. And hungry. Ana was just tired. And while I wanted to try the rotisserie chicken, I didn't want to journey across town - not when the line at Opera ran straight to our station at La Tour Maubourg.

Bibimbap au Boeuf for 12.50 Euros.

Instead, we journeyed back to the hotel with the idea of freshening up before heading back out in search of a meal. As we walked up the street with Chez Maman in view, I decided that today would be the day. Grande Cuisine be damned. Bibimbap was on the mind and would fit the bill.

Chez Maman is a small restaurant with tired pale yellow walls and little in the way of decoration. It's a simple place who's specialty is bibimbap - that Korean dish of rice, beef, veggies in a hot pot topped with a fried egg and mixed with hot paste to taste. I ordered one and a side of house ravioli, otherwise known in American lexicon as "pot stickers."

God knows how these dumplings also known as Gyoza in Japan got to be known as "pot stickers" in America but these were simply perfunctory. Nothing special, just a mix of pork and beans in a wrapper steamed. Add a little soy sauce and some chili oil and it's good enough.

Mixed up and ready to go.

While the dumplings were merely okay, the bibimbap was actually damn good. Sizzling bowl filled with steamed rice, fresh vegetables, perfectly marinated and cooked beef strips and a brilliantly yellow fried egg. It was darn near bibimbap perfection. In Paris.

Mix in the sauce and it was darn near one of the best meals I've had in the city.

Chez Maman
18 rue Amelie
75007 Paris
01 45 41 45 87