I was treated to finally finding an Italian restaurant in Paris that knows how prepare Italian pasta al dente. Most restaurants serve it way over-cooked where is seems like it's just loose and has no real flavor or "tooth" when you put it in your mouth. I prefer to to chew the pasta, especially spaghetti, as I was raised. I grew up in upstate New York in a primarily Italian/ Jewish neighborhood. My Italian friend's mothers all knew how to cook pasta and taught me how to twirl my spaghetti single-handedly with a fork. No spoons used here or you got your other hand slapped and you were ordered to leave. Well not asked, you just were taught once and you learned the right way or starved. I was a skinny kid and it was amazing how many mothers would say to me: "You are a too skinny, here's some pasta, we need to fatten you up!" and I would be told sit and spaghetti with meat sauce would be put in front of me. At the same time those fabulous mothers would explain what "al dente" pasta was. Even if it was just spaghetti, olive oil and garlic, the pasta was chewy and had a "tooth" that once you know it's al dente, you never forget it. Entering my Italian friends mother’s kitchens was always a flavorful experience with the smells of garlic, flavored olive oils and a pot of water slowly boiling on the stove and the vision of a sausage or or two hanging in the pantry are sights and smells you cannot ever forget. The best cooks were always first or second generation women who learned their culinary skills in the old country and brought their recipes with them. A few sons and daughters learned and then learned restaurant management and they opened up fine eateries. Somewhere along the way the art of cooking pasta al dente has been lost by some of them. Even today I look for Italian restaurants who know how to cook pasta properly and then the personal test of how they cook veal comes next. Well, our friends in Paris invited us to a new restaurant in the Vincennes area of Paris. The taxi ride is another story.
We arrived at the appointed time and were seated right away. We ordered an appetizer and a main course. The appetizer was just right. A few moments before the second course arrived I was given a small bowl of pasta, actually spaghetti with sauce. Here comes the test of their cooking the spaghetti. Remember I consider myself an aficionado of properly cooked pasta. Out of the corner of my eye I see my main course about to arrive, so I quickly twirl my spaghetti onto my fork and to my surprise I find this pasta aldente! The sauce is quite excellent and as my main course is set in front of me, I notice the waiter has also picked up my spoon because he obviously had observed my pasta twirling proficiency. Violá! I have arrived at restaurant that knows how to cook pasta al dente. Yes, the veal was perfectly prepared, cooked just right and the same with the other dishes for our seating partners. Yes, they have a tiny kitchen and you get to see and watch the chef at work preparing your meal. HOwever this is one of those places where size does not matter. The chef knows how to prepare, cook and present food in a manner that enhances the meal you are about to partake in. No, they do not have a website yet. It’s in process. The address 51,rue de Fontenay 94300 Vincennes. They serve lunch from 12h00n- 14h00 and dinner from 19h00 - 22h00. Reservations at 01 49 57 05 30. TRy this once and you will find it on your list of great Italian restaurants in Paris. We did!