Destinations Magazine

Le Cercle Rouge in the 17th: A Chip off the Old Enfants-Rouges Block.

By Johntalbott

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6.1 Le Cercle Rouge, 136 avenue de Wagram in the 17th, (Bus: #31), open weekdays for lunch and Thursday and Friday for dinner, is a place my pal, the RFC told me the daughter Emmanuelle of the famed Dany Bertin-Denis (ex Les Enfants-Rouges and before that the Moulin a Vin in Montmartre) had opened that no one had reviewed.  I thought the name, Le Cercle Rouge was an homage to Les Enfants-Rouges but no, it's one to the Alain Delon film.  And it is a happening place in a weird location, packed to the gills - wait a minute!, packed to the gills but never reviewed - where the heck are the big boys?  Asleep - like God during the Holocaust.

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 There's a menu-carte for 34 E, a lunch menu for 17 E (wow!) and a dessert menu; all tempting.

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My dining partner, another webfoodtype ordered the oeufs meurette, something I never order (?why) which was delicious, and I had the sauteed foie gras ontop a slice of mango with a terrific salad and terrific dressing.  Boy, off to a good start here.

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Then she had two huge chunks of veal on top of a celery puree and carrots (fine, fine, fine) and I had the brandade of lieu noir (it's all cod when you look it up) which as usual is too much for a mortal to finish but was quite good too.

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For dessert, my friend chose the "cannelloni" of exotic fruits - well it sure looked like cannelloni but was really a mango wrap with pineapple, kiwi fruit and passion fruit bits inside - damn good.

Now at some point I saw them slicing ham and sending out plates of charcuterie so me having no manners or scruples says - 'hey, would it be possible for me to have a portion of that for my dinner?" Much confusion in the kitchen, with looks of 'You want what?"  However, a packet appeared, no charge, did I mention that my dining partner lived on the Rue Burq and Dany's old place was her watering hole?

In any case, we (or she with me in her wake) got comp'd to the charcuterie, extra wine and a sip of the Cotes de Rhone which Dany is an expert on the subject of which).  Thus our bill of 96 E a couple does not include all these niceties for which we thanked her but dies include (Yea) Illy coffee.

Go?  Most certainly.  The big boys of Reviewerdom may be asleep but Emmanuelle's loyal customers are not.

Oh, postscriptum.  My dining pal talked to the chef, one M. O'Neill with two "l's" and it seems he has passed through the kitchens (L'Avant Gout, L'Ebouchoir, Le Bascou, etc) of the masters which accounts for the great chow, but the front room, with Emmanuelle and Dany, is ever bit as impressive.

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