Juveniles: The Culinary Force Continues Upward Trajectory
Welcome back! Today, we're going to talk about Juveniles, a well-established restaurant presenting a refreshing twist to typical, Parisian bistro fares. The restaurant is small but welcoming. Upon entering, you'll be greeted by both the friendly, black dog and the extensive wall of wine that lines the side of the restaurant.
As a tourist, it's difficult to order as the menu is all in French. During our visit, however, the waiter was helpful in patiently translating the whole menu for us. For our visit, we came for lunch and it wasn't too hard to get a table without a reservation. As you will soon see, there's a lot of potential in this restaurant. Juveniles has actually been around for several decades. Its ownership has recently been transferred from Tim Johnston to his daughter, Margaux. That being said, you can only expect the food to get better over time!
Anyway, thanks for reading!
Address: 47 Rue Richelieu, Palais Royal/Musée du Louvre, 1er
Grilled Melon, Buffalo Ricotta & Ham
Calamari With Parsley, Ginger & Sesame;
Sardinian Fregola With Cherry Tomatoes
White Tuna, Puree Fennel Confit, Grilled Zucchini, Crispy Salad with Lemon & Roasted Almonds
Veal Breast Confit, Eggplant Caviar, Fried Artichokes and Mushrooms
Merluza with Assorted Grilled Tomatoes, Arugula, and Cucumber
To start our meal, we got the Charcuterie Platter. Unfortunately, I can't tell for sure what we got in this platter but I'll take a guess. The meats were fairly basic so I'm going to bet that we got Sopressata and either Prosciutto or Jambon de Bayonne. It also came with some tiny cornichons, a slice of butter, and a few pieces of bread. Delightful!
We got two more appetizers to share, both of which were impressive. The first was a Grilled Squid dish with Parsley, Ginger, Sesame, Cherry Tomatoes, and Sardinian Fregola. This coastal dish was such a tease. The flavor was subtle enough that you just wanted to slow taste the flavors. I don't think "slow taste" is an actual term and I may have just made that up. But, it's kind of like slow dancing, but instead it's slow tasting all the different flavors. It's a fun exercise for understanding and memorizing different flavors.
The way I do this is by taking a small portion of the dish (i.e. a dip into the sauce, a single cherry tomato, or a single piece of squid) and savoring it slowly, removing yourself from distractions. If you really like the way something tastes, you can try this exercise and you might be able to remember a distinct flavor or taste several days, weeks, or even years later. And, if you're wondering what Sardinian Fregola is... it's a type of pasta from Sardinia, a large island in the Mediterranean. They're basically just tiny balls of dough, similar to couscous.
The next appetizer was a total flavor bomb. It was a Grilled Melon and Ham dish. This is like the next evolution of the simple melon wrapped in prosciutto recipe. While tasty, the latter is too basic and primitive. Juveniles takes it a few notches higher by grilling the melon and pairing the whole thing with Buffalo Ricotta. This ingenuity led to a whole new set of flavors. My taste buds were welcomed by the smokey char of the melon while the creamy tang of the ricotta brought me to euphoric oblivion. Fortunately, the ham helped bring me back to reality as meaty goodness caressed my soul like a warm blanket of world peace.
Last but not least, my main course was a Veal Breast Confit with Eggplant Caviar, Fried Artichokes, and Mushrooms. It was captivating. The veal was so soft that I don't even remember eating it. Just kidding. I do remember eating it because it was too unforgettable. With all the walking that we were doing in Paris, this pleasurable dish almost put me to sleep!
Oh! And, what is eggplant caviar? I had no idea. You might think it's just a simple eggplant purée. Technically, yes, that's correct. But, it's a little bit more than that. Eggplant caviar is an under-the-radar dish/topping/spread. It's nothing new but not a lot of people know about it. Some recipes call for using other types of vegetables, like bell peppers or tomatoes, but there are some that just focus on the eggplant. Here's a really great video of Gordon Ramsey making eggplant caviar. I highly recommend watching it!