Ripaire de Cartouche

The six foot, four inch tall Chef Paquin creates some of the most heartfelt, terroir-based cooking in Paris at Ripaire de Cartouche, a restaurant that is not easy to find, but is well worth the effort. Paquin is big on game in season, and when we visited in November, 2012, there was plenty of baby venison (cerf) as well as an assortment of game birds. The cooking is super-flavorful as well as abundant. The service is typical bistro – rushed but friendly, and the interior is reminiscent of a rustic French hunting lodge. Prices are reasonable. Our wine selections included a bottle of Chef Paquin’s favorite Crozes-Hermitage made from Roussanne (which is difficult to find), the 2010 Dard et Ribo. It was very good, but the killer wine was the 2010 Ceps Centenaires from Domaine Gramenon. Made from 100+ year old, head pruned Grenache vines, it is still a baby with some unreleased CO2.. However, as it aired out, it got better and better. As often happens, the last glass was the best, which tends to irritate me, but that’s the way it is.

I love the food and ambiance at this venue, and the greeting from Chef Paquin is always sincere and warm. The wine list, with its emphasis on France’s Rhône Valley and the Languedoc-Roussillon, is filled with treasures from these two viticultural regions.

More articles from this author