Les Fines Gueules

In culinary school, we’re told that not only does our cooking techniques matter, but for French food to be truly good, it should consists of the freshest available produce so that ingredients shine. I believe that Les Fines Gueules (an equally cozy wine bar and perhaps what might be the best steak tartare in Paris), right off Place des Victoires, embodies this principle. 
It serves the best quality produce in a generous serving but without overdoing it in presentation. The restaurant is not cheap, serving also vins naturels from France but serves some of the country’s best oysters, cheese, meat, etc…
The daily menu that changes – apart from the steak tartare and the Rumsteak
I have read mixed reviews about the restaurant and agree that the staff, as nice as they are, were inattentive. I think it was the amount of customers kept tightly in the tiny restaurant or perhaps it was the lack of staff but by the end of the meal, it was very difficult to actually pay the bill and leave. 
Assortiment de Charcuteries fines (12 or 24 euros), we opted for the latter as we had hungry bellies. The meat was freshly cut (I believe a vintage hand-worked machine was used)

Carpaccio de veau elevé sous la mère – sans bio – 36 mois, huile d’olive extra-vierge (Carpaccio of veal – raised by its mother for 36 months)

When I read this on the menu, I thought to myself…I have to have it. It’s as fresh and clean as you can get. The meat was divine, it did not even taste (or look) like meat as it melted in your mouth. The more pinkish the meat, the better it is.
Ravioles de Boudin Noir de Christian Parra (one of the great Charcutiers of the Basque country) – Ravioli of Blood Sausage…a very familiar yet interesting take on blood sausage. 

Emiette de Tourteau, Crème de Concombre à la Menthe (Crabmeat, cream of cucumber) – it was very refreshing and cleaned your palate, would have loved to see this on the menu during the hot summer months.
Tarte fine de St. Jacques, Coulis d’Espelette — Scallop tart with Espelette pepper coulis

Noix de Veau Desnoyer, Pieds de Moutons et Pleurotes, Coulis de Truffes Noires (Veal tenderloin, mutton’s feet and pleurotes mushrooms, coulis of black truffles) 
Coeur de Rumsteak, Purée Maison, Sauce of Vin Rouge — Rumsteak with red wine, potato purée

The pièce de resistance: Fameux Tartare de Limousine au Couteau — Hand-cut steak tartare (17 euros). The Desnoyer meat (from Limousin) was draped with aged parmigiano reggiano and parsley with more potatoes and a light salad (provided by vegetable King, Joel Thiébault). This was probably the best steak tartare we’d ever eaten.


Mi-Cuit au Chocolat Valrhona (Half-baked Valrhona chocolate cake)
Nage de Clémentines et de Raisins à la Menthe, Billes de Chocolat (Refreshing clementines and raisins with mint and mini Chocolate marbles)

To be honest, I could have done without this dessert. There wasn’t anything unique about this dish – it was clementines, its juice with some raisins and chocolate bits. I could do this at home. A bit of a disappointment after a nice meal. 
Les Fines Gueules roughly translated as “The Fine Mouths” serves simple dishes to demonstrate the quality of the produce. It’s refreshing to find someone who understands the balance between serving good quality ingredients and not pushing the extremes of your taste buds. 

Les Fines Gueules
43 Rue Croix des Petits Champs, 75001
Tel: 01 42 61 35 41

Metro: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre (Ligne 1)

One Response to “Les Fines Gueules”
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  1. […] doing their own thing, outside of the ‘boundaries’. Notable restaurants include Vivant, Les Fines Gueules, Chateaubriand and now […]

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