I was excited to hear that Romain Tischenko, Top Chef winner and Ze Kitchen alumuni, had recently taken over Le Galopin, a neighborhood bistro just a short walk from my apartment on the colorful rue Sainte Marthe.
The Rue Sainte Marthe, if you don’t know it, is worth seeking out. It’s an interesting street lined with colorful doorways, artist’s ateliers, cheap ethnic restaurants, a few charitable associations and apartments— some of which are pretty run down–but it all makes for an appealing mix. At the top is the Place Sainte Marthe, a quiet cobblestone square, which is where the pretty blue Galopin sits.
My first visit for lunch, exceeded expectations. Seared calamari, thin slices of brightly colored green meat radish, and crisp fennel made for an amazing dish. But the main course was even better. What was simply listed on the menu as Barbue, Parmentier, Câpres (brill, potatoes, capers) turned out to be a wonderfully executed dish with unexpected contrasts of textures and flavors. Desserts included a heavenly walnut financier with pear and hazelnut and the Agrumes, Piquillos and Meringue-an original apple cake topped with meringue and piquillo peppers.
Lunch was so good that I returned two weeks later for the more elaborate 42 € 7-course set menu at dinner.
Dinner, while good, didn’t make it to the same heights as lunch. The service was somewhat slow and less polished, possibly due to a private group downstairs, and while we enjoyed everything, there was none of the astonishment and wonder, which came with my first meal. It was a reminder that this is young team without years of experience, so it’s no surprise that not every dish would be mind blowing.
Overall I loved the creative, market-based menu and laid-back atmosphere of the place. It’s definitely a table I would return to, with a talented chef who is sure to get more attention in the years to come.
34 rue Sainte-Marthe, Paris 10th
Métro: Belleville, Colonel Fabien
Telephone: 01 42 06 05 03
Lunch Menu: 25 € for 3 courses; dinner 42 € for 7 courses
Open: Tuesday-Saturday lunch and dinner; closed Sunday, Monday