This restaurant more than deserves a post of its very own.
One lunchtime C and JR were out walking in Rue de Seine and they saw a queue up the street. 'Ahah', they said, 'this place must be good so we will come back and try it at night.' So that night, which was straight after we had listened to Vivaldi in Sainte-Chappelle, we wandered back to Rue de Seine and went to the cafe. It was called Cosi. And it was a sandwich place. Oh dear. We wondered what to do....
Across the road was a restaurant called La Boissonnerie in all its Art Deco glory
(actually it is known as Fish ;-) )
We walked back up the street towards St Germain and passed a doorway with no sign but which was obviously a restaurant. A menu was taped to the glass window. It looked pretty good and one interesting fact was that you could have most of the meals as small or large portions. So in we went. It was called Semilla, and is of the new breed of tapas restaurants, where you can order meals to share or eat one all to yourself.
We were asked if we had a reservation, to which we replied No, but they said no matter and led us towards the back of the restaurant up a small step. We passed the small but busy kitchen on our way.
The menu was really interesting. This is what we had that first visit (because of course we went back a second time!)
Here is the interior showing the minimalist but lovely decor; note the growing seed on the wall (semilla means 'seed' in Spanish).
House smoked salmon - lightly cured with horseradish, creme fraiche
Risotto with squid and basil leaves
Somehow I missed taking a photo of J's entree which was parsnip soup, small size. He said of it: 'I hate parsnips and somehow didn't connect the ''soup'' with parsnips. However, one mouthful and I was a convert. Amazingly wonderful.'
Dorade (sea bream) with tarragon and salad leaves
pork spareribs with caramelised sweet potato and confit garlic
Monkfish wrapped in pancetta en brochette, with quinoa
I forgot to take a photo of JR's dessert, which he pronounced fabulous - figs poached in armagnac with goats milk ice cream. Mine was the strawberry biscuit with lemon cream
Our waitress was a lovely young lady from Detroit, who spoke brilliant English and French. She said she loved working here because she got to try all the new dishes. When we remarked on how amazing the dishes were, and with how much care and thought they were cooked, she said that the chef was a Meilleur Ouvrier de France, Eric Trochon. This means that he has been awarded a Master Worker certification and is entitled to wear the red white and blue around his neck for always, and will be a mentor to other chefs. He won this award last year, in 2011. Isn't this amazing that we just happened to luck onto this great cafe??!! We went to the kitchen to thank them very much and he was there, so in halting French we were able to express our great appreciation.
Rue de Seine runs off Rue Saint Andre des Arts, and this is one of the most exciting and buzzy streets of Paris, at night and in the daytime, full of young people going for cocktails and snacks at the many bars and restaurants along it. Many of the shops are open at night also, adding to the light and colour and noise!
We decided to take the whole crew back there for our last dinner in Paris. We were at 2 separate tables, as there were 9 of us, but again the food was splendiferous.
Veal stew with peas
Dorade with tarragon and salad leaves
Risotto with squid, mushrooms and basil
J had a classic rare steak. For dessert, I again had the strawberry biscuit, and J had the soup of Aloe Vera - it was sensational!! A delicate cream scented with Aloe Vera and with passionfruit and pomegranate seeds, pineapple, mango; a most amazing and creative dish. He loved it, needless to say!!
The restaurant, as well as Cosi, Fish and a wine bar called La Dernière Goutte, is owned by American Juan Sanchez and New Zealander Drew Harré. Read Patricia Wells' review here.
Don't miss it on your trip to Paris.
Postscript: I found another good review here, at Lost in Cheeseland.
54 rue de Seine, 75006
Métro: Odéon, Mabillon
Open daily; lunch (fixed menu), snack, dinner