Evening dinner review
Salt Lake City has swathes of Italian eateries, myriads of Thai and Mexican restaurants, but French cuisine remains a relative rarity around here. As far as I know, The Paris is Salt Lake’s only French bistro style restaurant. With temperatures dropping and nights darkening, this is just the type of food we have started to crave. When the cravings for French comfort food finally became too much, we decided to put The Paris’ claims of “soul satisfying food” to the test.
The Paris occupies the south west corner of 1500 South and 1500 East, nestling into the neighbourhood with ease, almost like it’s been there for decades. From the outside, the place projects a warm welcoming vibe, which is replicated inside, with the soft lighting, white table clothes and simple bistro décor. Ambiance wise, The Paris is the perfect example of a neighbourhood eatery, inviting, cosy and comforting.
In addition to the main dining space, the Paris also features the more relaxed Zinc bar. We ourselves have never tried it, but my guess is the idea is you drop by, have a glass of wine and share a small plate or two. It’s a little late in the year for it now, but the outside also sports plenty of patio dining space, which is always very popular in warmer months.
We were here for the full Paris experience, so we made our way through to the main restaurant space, where we were quickly greeted, seated, and given menus. I started this particular meal with a glass of the Latour Valmoissine Pinot Noir ($8.95). The Paris complements the extensive food menu with a suitably large wine list featuring options for all budgets.
While feasting on complimentary bread and butter, we began to peruse the menu. We are both suckers for plates of mixed items, indecision be gone! As such, it took us only seconds to decide to share the Charcuterie Plate ($13.95) to start:
The picture above fails to show the array of delights lurking under the greens. Hidden away are Saucisson, Jamón Serrano, a small chunk of Pâté, Anchovy, Cornichon, segmented boiled Egg, mixed Olives and pickled red peppers. A veritable smorgasbord. The serving was plenty for two to share, indeed with the sodium-rich nature of many of the items, it might even be too much for just one person. The Paris’s charcutuerie plate is one of my favourite appetizers in town.
Wendi decided to try the Paris’ take on two French bistro classics, Onion Soup Gratinee ($8.95) and Pomme Frites ($5.95):
Wendi had been craving a French Onion soup for some time, and sadly the Paris’ didn’t hit the spot as she had hoped. A competent enough take on the dish, but not as good as another she had tried recently. She also felt the soup was a little too salty for her tastes. As for the fries, a generous portion meant we were both able to share them happily. We had mixed thoughts on the fries. Whereas I thought the fries were delicious and exceedingly addictive, Wendi thought them only average. I suppose fries are a contentious topic (and long may we keep ordering them to debate their relative merits!). We would have both liked to see a slightly skinnier cut of fry though.
I went with another French classic, the Duck Confit (served with puy lentils $16.95):
It isn’t very often I see Duck Confit on a menu in SLC, so when I saw it, I immediately had to have it. My heart almost sank when the waiter told me the one item on the menu they had run out of was the confit. Thankfully, he sensed the depth of my disappointment and was kind enough to run back to the kitchen and triple check. Somehow, he miraculously managed to secure me the very last confit in the house. I don’t think I have ever eaten puy lentils before, they added a nice bite and texture to the plate, a surprisingly tasty addition to the delectable duck.
The duck was everything I had hoped it would be. Melt-in-the-mouth tender duck leg that fell from the bone, augmented with delicate aromatic hints. We greedily tore the duck leg to shreds, battling each others forks for shreds of the tasty meat.
Chocolate Tarte ($8.95):
We also decided to share a glass of the rich, berry-laden Rosenblum Zinfandel ($8.50), which paired excellently with the rich chocolate and candied orange bites of the Chocolate Tarte. Chocolate cake, warm chocolate ooze, ice cream and candied orange all created an enjoyably rich finish to a mostly excellent meal.
Service was attentive and good natured, putting up with my ravings for duck confit always deserves special credit! Our waiter checked in just the right amount during the meal to keep water and wine topped up. One particularly pleasant feature of the Paris is the fact that they are open on Sunday evenings. In the wilderness of Sabbath dining that is Salt Lake City, this can often come as a welcome surprise. Indeed, our last two visits were both on Sunday evenings, and each occasion the restaurant was relatively crowded, buzzing with chatter and the clink of wine glass. As such I would heavily recommend reservations for The Paris, especially on weekends.
“Soul satisfying food” then? A big thumbs up from me, certainly to stave off those cold, miserable winter nights. Based on the ever present crowds, Eric DeBonis (owner, operator and chef of The Paris) looks to have a hit on his hands for many more winters to come.
1500 S 1500 E, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84105
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Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake. I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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