Last night, Gilles and I tried out a new Italian place that mysteriously opened at some point during the last week or so on Avenue Trudaine, near my apartment. It’s incredible– I never even noticed people working in there. I have no recollection of what occupied that corner before. But suddenly, yesterday, there it was: sleek, shiny, and enormous.
We discovered it while walking to the metro. I warily eyed the interloper. It didn’t look like it belonged. It didn’t fit in with the neighborhood. We’re more bo than bo in this neighborhood, if you know what I mean. The area around rue de Rochecouart is great– filled with funky, unexpected boutiques with a helping of hipster-type restaurants. There are a couple of more upscale dining establishments, such as La Table d’Anvers or A Tavola (neither of which I’ve been to for dinner– they’re that upscale). But we have nothing as far out as Sole. For that is the name of the new restaurant: Sole. It looks as if it would be more at home in London or New York. I could see it in the more moneyed quarters of Paris. But its glitter is certainly not appropriate to this corner of the 9th. We clean up nice, but we’s humble folks.
Anyway. Gilles and I, ever adventurous, decided to check it out for dinner last night. In a nutshell: too loud (too many shiny, hard surfaces) with spotty (if well-intentioned) service. But the food was decent. The carpaccio all’arabbiata I ordered to begin was excellent, as was the bread that accompanied it. My tagliolini grana would have been better if they hadn’t brought it out so early (while I was still eating my appetizer) that cooled off and stuck together in a way that made it a challenge to eat. Gilles’s orrechiette baresi was yummy but I had the nagging feeling that I could have made it better. Never a feeling you enjoy getting when you’re paying 11 euros for a pasta dish. The house red was fruity– my verdict was positive, but Gilles swallowed with a grimace, pronounced it "trop sucré!" and ever so slyly added a pinch of salt to his glass. He took another sip and nodded, more satisfied.
Getting the waitress to wait on us was exhausting, so we threw in the towel and skipped dessert (though the dessert list was tempting). I was disappointed, overall, in my experience at Sole– particularly because this night was not just any night. It was the last night we had together before the winds of fate part us for three weeks. He left for Croatia this morning; I wing my way to New York on Monday. We reconvene in Paris when I return on the 3rd. So– you know– when you’re having a special goodbye-I’ll-miss-you dinner, you want it to be amazing, impeccable. Alas. The company was impeccable, but Sole has a lot to learn.
One good thing about dating a French boy: when you have to say goodbye to them, you are guaranteed a laugh to break up the pathos of your parting. They will try to express to you in your native language that they will miss you. But because of the cruelty of French reflexive pronouns, when they try to translate literally, they will end up stammering things like "You will miss me– I mean– I you missing will be– I mean– oh, putain, tu me manqueras, chérie!"