Monday, June 9, 2008

Dinner at La Fée Verte

Somethin' tells me mom's not gonna approve of this one…

La Fée Verte translates to "the green fairy". Called so because, apparently, that's what you see when you drink Absinthe [Wiki link]. Absinthe has been illegal in the United States since 1915, but the French drink it and are still around, thank you very much, so how bad can it be. Right?

So yes, this restaurant serves absinthe -- alongside some pretty yummy food, mind you. So let's start with the starters, shall we?

OK I gotta start blogging sooner or taking notes. This was… um… onions. And, cheese? Baked, with some kind of sauce. Look this isn't the absinthe speaking OK, this is what happens when you post a week after you eat. It was good. Don't seem to recall it being remarkable, but it was good. Alrighty then.

Some kind of onion appetizer thing

Next up, the main course. This was a very tasty lamb burger, a bit dry, but chock-full of flavor. I don't think I set it down once I picked it up; it really was quite tasty. The layered roasted veggie thing looked like it could be delicious, but it was served cold, and frankly just didn't appeal. Straight from the oven it was probably lovely.

Lamb Burger and vegetable… thing

OK now to the important bit. The absinthe.

There's a routine involved in serving and consuming absinthe, and all any of us at the table knew of it was what we'd seen in movies. Which amounts to pretty much F-all. "I think the water goes in that fancy dispenser"… "I'm sure they're gonna set it on fire"… "You're not really going to drink that, are you?" and so on.

Since I was the only one at the table brave stupid brave enough to try it, we didn't get the fancy water dispenser (and yes it's for water). Instead I was served a normal glass with a bit of the green glowing drink, a special spoon with a sugar cube balanced on top, and a carafe of ice water. They poured the absinthe into the glass over the sugar cube, then let it sit for some time before bringing it to the table. We asked if it was meant to be ignited, and they said you could if you wanted to… so we tried (obviously). Unfortunately I guess the alcohol had evaporated from the sugar, or the match wasn't hot enough, but we failed where caveman succeeded millennium before. So, pitch the fire, in with the sugar and water, and mix mix mix.


The result is a cloudy white drink. Certain biological components of the absinthe are not soluble in water, so they come out and cloud the drink. Or something like that. It has a pungent anise smell, and equally strong flavor. I love black liquorice, so the flavor appealed to me, but I guess you'd have a hard time with this if you only eat red vines.

Overall, well worth the experience and sure I'd have it again. I didn't see any green fairies, nor did I cut off my ear, but I did fall asleep in the cab on the ride back to the hotel. Absinte-1, me-0.

La Fée Verte
108, Rue Roquette
75011 Paris, France
+33 1 43 72 31 24

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rating: 3 feet
verdict: It really gets the rating for the absinthe. The food was OK, but the absinthe experience great. I'll probably go again just for the green fairies.


Joe said...

Igniting is for the [IMO crap] east european stuff which sometimes claims to be Absinthe, tho lately you see that lot as "Absinth" and the French/Swiss traditional method as "Absinthe". I'm sure the spelling will be EU-regulated sooner or later. :-)