I usually avoid dill. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t had it paired well with any food. Until now. For my last night in Paris, I went to Roger la Grenouille for dinner. It’s a restaurant known for frog legs (hence the name “la Grenouille,” french for frog) and fine dining in an eccentrically decorated space. I didn’t get the frog legs. I saw people who did, and they were pulling fried frog legs out of their mouths with their fingers. I wasn’t in the mood for fried food anyway, so I opted for the prix fixe menu, choosing the salmon tartare with apples and the beef filet with some sort of potato au gratin with crème fraîche. The beef filet was so-so, but everything else was amazing.
Right, back to the dill. When the server placed the entrée in front of me — just an fyi, a french “entrée” means appetizer while a “plat” is an entrée or the dinner portion of the meal. Confusing? Well, yes, it can be quite confusing if you utter the word “entrée” at all when ordering. So when the salmon tartare was in front of me, I noticed the big pieces of dill right on top. Uh-oh, that means dill is throughout the whole shebang. Not realizing how it was going to be served, I had no other choice but to put a spoonful on my crostini.
I can honestly say it was the best salmon tartare I’ve ever tasted. Pairing raw salmon with fresh dill, mixed with chopped apples and a vinegar dressing that I couldn’t fully discern, surpassed my expectations. I ate it all. Only two pieces of crostini? No problem, I have a whole baguette that needed to be eaten too.
Now to the dinner portion of the meal, which turned out to be much less exciting than the first course. I’m not sure why I ordered pepper beef filet, which is something that I could get back home. You do that sometimes when you’re traveling solo and don’t have someone to tell you, “Hmm, maybe you should try something that is specifically french when you’re in France.” So I got beef and some dark sauce and potatoes. The saving grace was the handling of the potatoes. I don’t understand it, but the French have a way with potatoes. I’ve had at least three different ways of serving potatoes and each time, it was stupendous. Here, it was served as a little potato tartin with crème fraîche inside. So rich and so good.
Ah, Paris, I will miss you and your loveliness.