Dinner at Clown Bar (Paris, France)
For the hip and buzzy restaurants in Paris, Clown Bar is one of them. I’ve read and heard from a wide range of various bloggers, respected food websites, and food magazines that this place is the place to eat. The kitchen is led by a Japanese chef Atsumi Sota which explains the Asian touches on the menu while grounded on French cuisine. The Belle Époque décor is present but not over the top but there’s a distinctive hipster feel to it. The dark wood tables at the front of the restaurant were in close proximity to each other (if I extended my arm, I would be reaching over to my neighbor).
The restaurant was starting to get its dinner rush slowly and we had reservations for dinner on a Friday night at 7:00pm and we had the option of being seated on a two-top towards the wall at the front of restaurant (which would be our service downfall in toward the end of this dinner). Our bi-lingual waiters were friendly, albeit a bit rushed and gave us our menus to peruse. The short, seasonal menu doesn’t do descriptions but just lists ingredients in that contemporary style.
We started off with the an incredibly silky beef carpaccio, anchovies, onion, elderberry (€15) that wasn’t shy with the flavors of salty, tart and acidic and toasted pine nuts that added some crunchy, nutty depth. The smoked eel, foie gras, peach (€16) was a delicious and complex dish having the fatty eel almost tasted like supple, gently smoky bacon. The foie gras added some richness while the fresh peach slices added a gentle acidity and sweetness to the dish.
The foie gras pithivier with dates (€27) was a very rich savory pastry filled with a thick slice of foie gras and perfectly rose hued duck breast, glazed in a sweet-savory sauce made with dates. The sweetbreads, spinach and bottarga (€32) was a generous stack of seared creamy sweetbreads that needed the hit of briny and a touch little bitter notes from the bottarga. It’s a bit too much sweetbreads, for me at least, to keep my palate wanting to eat all of the sweetbreads unless there was another element on this dish to keep me going.
Toward the end of our meal, one of the waiters dropped off the dessert menu for us to look at. We’ve glanced at the sweets listed for the evening and while tempting, we did have another dinner to go to in another hour and decided to pass. Trying to get the attention of any of the waiters who nears our table by raising my hand while he’s looking in my general direction, it felt like we were in Siberia because of its relative neglect from the wait staff. Until the moment I chose to excuse myself to use the restroom and had to apologize to our neighboring table to make room for me to get out, causing a few waiters to look in our direction and asked for the check. It was a frustrating fifteen minutes. Granted, it was a busy dinner hour but this I haven’t encountered in a very long time.
At any rate, Clown Bar is a restaurant that does serve seriously good food and it’s not exactly cheap. It’s a pity that service was falling apart toward the end of the meal because it was the peak of dinner rush.
For more photos of this visit, please CLICK HERE for the complete set or see below:
114 Rue Amelot
75011 Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 43 55 87 35