Remember Anthony Bourdain’s Paris episode with Eric Ripert? It was only his 100th episode…no biggy. Well, Tony and Eric visited Je Thé Me, which happens to be just around the corner from LCB. Classmates/fellow Bourdain-lovers and I went earlier this week for a taste of their lauded nasty bits. We never expected to be serenaded and entertained with napkin folding. The owner Jacky, pictured below, is a talented chef, whistler, napkin folder, waiter, sommelier, all-in-one. Talk about a Renaissance Man!
A few days after dining at Je Thé Me, I had the wonderful opportunity to stage there. The foie pictured below is marinated overnight in cognac, sugar, salt and pepper. By the next day, it has absorbed the marinade completely and can be rolled in plastic and cooked in a hot water bath. It is thrown in to a pot of boiling water, covered and cooked without any further addition of heat until the temperature reaches 40 celsius. Here it is accompanied by a pomme purée and salade de roquette balsamique. You can taste the cognac. And remember how I detest [most] salads? Mais, j’aime la roquette!
Of course this was followed by my favorite plat (and coincidentally the one Bourdain featured), which I was obviously more reluctant to share with everyone…
The sweetbreads were the show-stopper here: crispy yet pillowy soft inside. As much as I love offal, I’m usually not one to order kidneys because they’re often ill-prepared and thus taste of uric acid. These however were paired nicely with the ‘ratatouille’ of eggplant, red bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and tomato, which ameliorated the otherwise unappetizing kidney taste.
Some other dishes my dining mates ordered included:
Soupe à la Citrouille
Good taste but I would have liked a thicker consistency.
Not bad but I found the honey sauce too sweet and the duck too ‘medium’ for my liking. I’m Chinese. I’m picky about my duck.
The best dessert was the caramelized pears with persimmon, blueberry sauce and kaffir lime ice cream. I love that three times now (CRU, Pierre Gagnaire and Je Thé Me), I have been delightfully surprised with the presence of kaffir lime in Paris, known here has combava. Magnifique.
All in all, Je Thé Me is a lovely dining experience with comforting foods and the best bistro service I have encountered in Paris. I can’t wait to return next week to stage again, to sing opera with Jacky’s son, cook with Chef Pablo and drink wine and learn napkin folding with Jacky. I’m going to make him some [more] Chinese food too! (He liked my fried rice :))