Celebrity chefs are on the rise. Truth be told, they’ve been on the rise since the 90s, especially with the popularity of the Food Network channel. And although celebrity chefs are great for entertaining you while you learn a thing or two about food, ask any person serious about the culinary world (including other chefs), and they’ll tell you regardless of stardom, it’s about flavor. Enter Chef and owner of Paname French Restaurant, Bernard Ros. Originally from Paris, France, he’s been in working in the industry and NYC for decades, including helping other renowned chefs such as Jean-Georges, get their firm footing in their own establishments.

Upon entering Paname, a note here that Paname means Paris, you’re greeted with a quaint French Art Nouveau setting. Low lighting with pops of color set the stage, a full bar to tickle anyone’s thirst, and a bustling kitchen in back which turns out flavorful dish after dish. This is where the magic happens.

Here were some my favorites:

Amuse-bouche course — A perfect bite of fresh mozzarella, a dollop of honey mustard served atop a pear (yes, a pear). It’s not a likely pair but it worked amazingly well together; in a single bite you got the freshness and crunch from the pear, the creamy and saltiness from the cheese, and a perfect zing from the mustard to tie it all together.

Appetizer course — The winner, hands down was the Baby Octopus with White Beans. When I say this was a winner, I’m talking “call it a night” winner. Octopus, when not prepared right, can be quite rubbery. This octopus was incredibly tender and packed with favor from the sauce; it basically melted as you bit down on it. If they served this with some crostini and a salad, I’d have eaten it as an entree.

Entree course — Bouillabaisse with shrimp, cod, clams, mussels, and seafood in saffron broth and garlic aioli. The broth, which reminded me of flavors of Southern France and the North African region, had layers upon layers of flavor that only comes with a seasoned hand and time. The seafood in this dish, which were also perfectly cooked, were secondary to the broth (that’s how good the broth was!). If you’re ordering this dish, save your bread or ask for more because you’ll need it to sop up every last drop.

Dessert course — Their floating island dessert carried just enough sweetness to satisfy my sweet tooth. This dish caught me by surprise. First, it’s served in a crispy cage that tasted reminiscent of waffles. The floating “island” within the cage is an incredibly light egg white-based cake. To finish, it’s served alongside a bit of English cream to pour over to your heart’s content.

Whether you’re in the neighborhood to shop at Bloomingdales, which is just a few blocks over, or you’re simply a foodie on the hunt for a great meal without breaking the bank, Paname French Restaurant is a great place to grab your next bite. In fact, they have two specials coming up for Easter — brunch (11am-3pm) at $35, and dinner at $40! Overall, this UES bistro humbly boasts prices that are affordable and a menu that won’t disappoint the palate.

panamenyc.com

Ikaika Regidor