Often enough in life we find things to blame for putting us in positions that might not be ideal. If we’re late for work, we blame traffic. If we’re out of clean clothes, we blame our schedule. With recent health and fitness tactics arising, we are now blaming our previous bad health on food. While all food may have taken the heat once in awhile, French cuisine has been hit the hardest. From their rich sauces, to their succulent meats and cheeses, it’s easy to blame French inspired food on what we don’t like about ourselves. While French food may often be rich and decadent, if you can’t fit in a little indulgence in your life every once and awhile, then you’re simply not living right.
With French food taking the heat for bad eating habits, we’ve seen fewer and fewer French restaurants making their way into our hearts; however, Paname, a new French restaurant located on Second Ave between 56th and 57th streets in New York City has not only made it’s way into my heart, but has fully captured and locked it away.
Paname, which is slang for Paris, has created a flock of loyal patrons who claim to indulge in the restaurant’s food weekly. Bernard Ros, owner and executive chef, brought his traditional French style cooking to the United States forty years ago and has made quite the impression worldwide. Ros has owned eight restaurants worldwide and has an impeccable reputation with chefs and business owners alike. His food speaks for itself.
I started my meal at Paname with a grilled portobello Mushroom topped with mozzarella and red peppers and drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette. Now, without trying the famous crab cakes (due to a seafood allergy) I can honestly say it’s hard to imagine that anything is better than this. The mushroom, cheese and peppers complimented each other perfectly, and the dish wasn’t too heavy for an appetizer; however, it satisfied a craving
I followed my starter with the Niman Ranch Pork Scallopini with Mushroom Creme Sauce. The pork was accompanied by mashed potatoes and an array of vegetables. The pork was fork tender, and the creme sauce was the perfect condiment. To be honest, I was worried that the pork may be fatty, or the sauce too heavy but neither element was overwhelming.
After the entree, my dinner companion and I transitioned into an easy conversation that gave us time to relax before we rewarded ourselves by indulging in some sweets. While talking about everything you should never talk about during dinner such as politics, religion, and current events, I couldn’t help but notice the comfortable ambiance of Paname. Everywhere I looked there were people enjoying their food, leisurely talking and taking a load off from the hustle and bustle of New York City. Not one person complained, or seemed unhappy or unsatisfied. Whether it was the calming walls that were accented with dark wood, or the artwork hanging beautifully around, or maybe the arrangements of beautiful spring flowers that complimented the crisp white table cloths around the restaurant. Whatever it was, it provided an atmosphere for Paname that was conducive to fine dining.
By the time my desert arrived, I was salivating waiting for it. I was always a fan of Creme Brûlée, but I had never had the opportunity to have it at an authentic French restaurant. With all the excitement I was building in my head, the actual product did not let me down. This creme brûlée was the best I’ve ever had. The rich, smooth custard topped with a hard layer of caramel was heated to perfection. The desert was topped with a a swirl of whipped creme, a fresh cut strawberry and chocolate sprinkles. The custard was the smoothest I’ve ever had and complimented the sweet, tartness of the strawberry perfectly. Even though I was stuffed from the delectable offerings I had previously indulged in, I simply couldn’t leave a drop of this heaven in the plate. With all the deserts being home-made, it’s no wonder that this desert is nothing short of amazing.
In a time where we are finally aware of how to properly fuel our bodies to live a long and healthy life, I can understand the hesitation to indulge in food as addictive and rich as French food. However, from my experience it’s worth the risk. Paname will leave you full and satisfied yet craving more at the same time. For anyone looking to indulge in one of life’s riches, I’d, without hesitation, recommend Paname.
Photos Courtesy of Krislyn Stark