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I always research the latest reviews for places to eat, even when I know several and have options suggested by locals. Even though they have been around since 2010, I would probably not have found L’Aller Retour without some online research because it has a tiny entrance on a small street near the Carreau du Temple. It was definitely worth the search because it was one of my favorite meals during the last trip.

Classic escargots for 6 Euros were perfect in every way, and I even got a friend to try one for the first time because of the buttery garlic aroma that perfumed the table upon their arrival 🙂

My friend appreciated the quality of the meat in the burger for 14E50 as well as the crisp fries, saying it was very good in spite of it not being well done (for an American-it was well done by French standards, which means it was pink in the middle instead of red).

 

I had come specifically for the knife cut Charolais steak tartare for 14E that was the best one I ate during this trip. The large salad was very much appreciated to help balance out the meat, with a very nice vinaigrette dressing.

Ending lunch with an espresso was a perfect way to cap off lunch at a newly found favorite.

My Parisian friends craved Japanese food so we tried Moshimo near the Gare de Lyon. It was very reasonably priced for a Japanese place that served a bit of everything so close to a central transportation hub. It was a decent choice to fulfill a craving, but I would not go out of my way to find the place or go back. Compared to choices in Los Angeles, it was definitely limited and lacking in many aspects. As you can see from the sashimi platter for 16 Euros, the choices of fish were very limited and the presentation was not skilled.

They offered potstickers for 5 E 50 that were on par with ones that you could buy frozen and make yourself.

The avocado and tempura dragon roll for about 10 Euros was drizzled with unagi sauce ?!?!?

The standard tuna and avocado roll for 5 E 50 was a much simpler and better choice.

We also tried the yakitori skewers, ranging from salmon to scallops and shrimp, averaging between 4-6 Euros per pair. All were slightly overdone and not very flavorful.

 

 Even the grilled zucchini were bland and boring with no seasoning.

The highlight of the meal were the coconut balls of mochi that were likely store bought, but offered a nice sweet ending to an evening spent with friends.

Some places are fun even if the food is not great, just because the service is fun and the ambiance is lively. I have one serious concern regarding Chez Paul but I am writing this to highlight both the wonderful points and to warn about places that may be popular but also not properly adhering to proper temperatures and food handling practices; this particular warning applies to EVERY place.

Chez Paul is a few blocks from Bastille, in a lively neighborhood with not shortage of bars and bistros, so when my friends and I settled on giving this place a try it was because the location offered wonderful streetlife entertainment, old world charm, and the place was packed with a mix of locals and visitors.

Six escargots for under 10 Euros were done perfectly with bubbling butter, parsley, and garlic, and toasted baguette for dipping.

The steak tartare at 18 Euros was obviously machine ground as opposed to knife cut, and this was the dish that gave my friend diarrhea all night long. Having eaten three steak tartares during my 2 weeks, I knew not to order this one when I saw the plates coming out of the kitchen, but my friend was craving the dish so ignored my warning.

ANY machine cut/ground steak tartare is a dangerous bacteria breeding ground because no one cleans the machine after every grind, so you are grinding any meat, that serving may be contaminated with all the other meat that was ground previously. This is especially dangerous on a warm evening when when you have no idea how long or at what temperature the raw meat has been sitting out. I will ONLY eat steak tartare at a place where it is knife cut. PERIOD. Being knife cut doesn’t mean the meat is great, or was stored at a proper temperature, but it considerably lessens the likelihood of cross contamination. This is exactly why ground beef is a major cause of e coli illness, even in the USA where we rarely eat beef tartare.

The scallops with pasta and a tomato sauce were decently done and a very generous portion.

 The duck confit for 19 Euros was my choice and again a copious portion.

The tarte tatin at 8.50 Euros was large enough to share between three of us and ended our evening on a sweet note.

It was wonderful to see old familiar buildings like the Hôtel de Ville

 and of course Notre Dame,

 even though the grande dame is undergoing some renovation after the fire.

 The renovation is finally complete at the Chateau of Saint Germain-en-laye,

 while the renovation at La Défense seems to be everlasting….

the buildings are just like human bodies, needing maintenance and repair to remain in working order 😉

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