The Paris restaurant review

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 paris charcuterie

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):

the paris onion soup

the paris frites

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):

the paris duck confit

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):

the paris chocolate tarte

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.

The Paris
1500 S 1500 E, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84105
(801) 486-5585

http://www.theparis.net/

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I think Eric has had to become more French since everyone seems to think the name of the restaurant refers to the cuisine. Eric’s forte, and previous restaurants, has always been Mediterranean and Italian. The restaurant is named after the Paris department store. It has fond memories from his youth in SLC.
    The Frites have always been first class. A bowl of mussells, some frites and a bottle of wine in the Zinc bar has always been a favorite meal. The French onion soup has never been one of his best items.
    Thanks for the reveiw.

  2. Good to see you back Rod, you should sign-up to the new forum on the site (gastronomicslc.com/forum).

    By the way, I read about Eric’s other restaurants on The Paris’ website about page. No mention of what they are/were?

  3. My name is Josef and I am a Frenchman (born and raised in France) living a stone throw away from the Paris Bistro in Sugarhouse. I feel very blessed indeed to have such a “gastronomic temple” right in my backyard… I travel to Paris and Lyon for business at least 120 days a year and I am terribly sorry to see that restaurants like the Paris Bistro are becoming more and more of a rarity in the “old country” not to mention our good old US of A…

    At a time where globalization plagues every aspect of all cultures, there are fewer and fewer restaurateurs like Eric DeBonis that make it their mission in life to respect traditions passed on to us by our elders. The Paris serves authentic bistro fare with no embellishments. Food the way it was meant to be served and savored bite after bite.

    Although I was very happy to read your critique of the Paris Bistro and was elated you enjoyed your meal there, I could not help but wonder what “Wendi” (Your wife? Girlfriend?) did not like about her Onion Soup Gratinée… With all due respect, who cares about her opinion anyway? Is she the food reviewer or are you? What is her culinary background? Does she know the difference between concentration and excessive saltiness? Can she tell the difference between a soup that has been cooked with fresh veal stock and properly caramelized onions, topped with (almost) obnoxiously pungent imported Gruyère cheese and one that was cooked with a sysco beef base? Come on! Did you, as a self labeled food connoisseur, put a spoonful of the Paris Bistro’s Onion Soup in your mouth? I think not…. if you had, you would have vehemently disagreed with her, just as I do, and written about what a rare treat this soup truly is….

  4. Thanks for your feedback Josef. I will try to go a little way to addressing your points.

    I’d start by saying neither of us have a culinary background. What we do have is a shared love of good food and between us have dined across Europe and the United States. Here in the United States we have had the pleasure to dine at restaurants headed by the likes of Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz and Jean Joho. I’d like to think we both know what tastes good.

    If you read the review again you will see that the soup was described as decent. It was a touch on the salty side for Wendi’s tastes and not as good as some examples she had recently tried in some Las Vegas french bistros.

    I myself am allergic to cheese plain and simple. That’s a big blow in writing about food, but there is absolutely nothing I can do about that.

    At the end of the day this website is the personal opinion of myself and Wendi about the food we eat. We aren’t professionals, but then look at the furore over the yeary Michelin guide publications. Even so called experts are regularly derided for their choices and opinions.

    If you don’t agree then fantastic, what a boring world it would be if we all agreed on everything. As for the Paris, we love the place and they seem to be doing great business there.

    Hope to see you there or here again some time 🙂

  5. To be honest, Stu and I are probably a little spoiled by recent visits to Bouchon. As far as I’m concerned, The Paris can’t really compare. But, hey, what do I know? 😉

  6. I have to say that most of the food I’ve had at the Paris is pretty good. There are a few things, however, that really put me off about the place. One example is the iced tea. They charge $4.95 per glass for very average tea. And if that wasn’t enough, they charge $4.95 per refill. It is basically a kind of highway robbery.

    Once I had ravioli there that was still frozen in the middle. To charge those sorts of prices and then serve frozen food is really the height of arrogance.

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