I found a new restaurant! Or, to be more accurate, Nick found it. Not far from Pierre Hermé’s boutique in the quiet 15th arrondissement, Le Marcab opened for business a little over a week ago. Upon viewing the menu posted outside, and the chic décor inside, Nick thought it might be worth checking out.
So when we found ourselves in the neighborhood on a recent weeknight, we wanted to see if this place would live up to its potential.
Stylishly decorated in tones of gray and gold, the dining room feels opulent yet welcoming. The banquette, which takes up one entire wall of the restaurant, whimsically evokes an oversized, baroque couch. Since Le Marcab had only opened a few days before, we were the only people there, but we didn’t let that daunt us. The service was as polite and timely as any of my better dining experiences in Paris, and the restaurant, on the whole, shows the kind of attention to detail you would see in any top-tier establishment.
Take these salt and pepper shakers. They look great, melding perfectly with the luxurious decor. A pepper grinder might be preferable for seasoning purposes, but the food gave me no reason to desire additional seasoning. And the bathroom! 5 points!
(I suppose now is as good a time as any to tell you about my four-point rating system for French restrooms. It can be applied to restrooms anywhere, I suppose, but it was developed based on the “amenities” most commonly lacking in public restrooms in France such as I noticed them when I first lived here, right after graduated from college. The four points are awarded as follows: one for a toilet seat, one for toilet paper, one for soap, and one for some kind of hand-drying apparatus. Points can be deducted for the absence of a toilet bowl, sink, or door, and a negative score is certainly possible. General cleanliness is also taken into account. There are rare occasions when bonus points are given. These are for instances in which the proprietor has gone above and beyond the basic requirements to make the restroom experience that much more comfortable.)
That explained, Le Marcab got their extra point, specifically, for having a basket of plush terry hand towels instead of paper towels or an air-dryer. Refined and better for the environment!
But let’s get back to the food. Nick and I each ordered a glass of wine from the short by-the-glass list, and they arrived shortly after, accompanied by the bread basket.
Offering a choice of pain aux céréales and traditional baguette, this bread basket already has a leg up on many other parisian eateries. The bread wasn’t outrageously spectacular, but whoever made it can be proud of a job well done.
Having just come from a long, snack-heavy cocktail hour, Nick and I passed on appetizers and went straight for the entrées. I ordered the salmon, and he chose the duck.
The main reason I opted for the salmon was the intriguing hazelnut sabayon. I was not disappointed. The airy yet rich sauce had a distinct hazelnut savor that married seamlessly with the moist, flavorful salmon. It was generously napped over a warm slaw of endive and black radish, whose earthy sweetness impeccably complimented the salmon.
Nick’s duck arrived, glistening under a lavish sauce. The cumin-glazed turnips and whipped carrots were perfectly seasonal accompaniments to the medium-rare duck. The sauce had the fullness of flavor and silky mouthfeel that only handmade veal stock can provide. Needless to say, we both cleaned our plates.
It was getting late (see aforementioned cocktail hour), so we reluctantly skipped dessert, vowing to return in the near future for a full three-course meal. I’d say Le Marcab is off to an excellent start.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.