8 Passages des Panoramas (2)
Even part-time Parisians like me count the available nights. I hate the idea of squandering a night on a disappointing choice, recognizing that a miss here and there is inevitable. Some people – locals particularly – avoid the risk of negative surprise by limiting their dining options to a concentrated few favorites. We go farther afield, recognizing that we rarely do more than scratch the surface. This is one reason why guides such as this Diary exist. To avoid disappointment, to avoid the misses.
Racines was a miss – big time. Long a darling of the often unreliable food press when it grew to a two location wine bar, it was evidently sold to an Italian chef of some local renown. It is located in the charming, if extremely tired Passage des Panoramas (see Passage 53, Gyoza Bar in the 2nd), a mid-19th Century shopping mall. It is possible within a crumbling building to freshen the restaurant space, as some neighbors have. Racines has not. Everything about it fell short. Not an awful experience (we were with close American friends), but a disappointing one.
Small blackboard menu, with an Italian bent, including one main course, pasta. I would put it, along with the veal cutlet Milanese (large enough to share) on a par with similar dishes from my home kitchen, not French restaurant caliber. No wine list per se. Choose your bottle from a wall of bottles, each marked in white chalk with a price. A tart du jour for dessert, nicely prepared under an excessive mountain of whipped cream.
Two busy servers having a good time handling the 30 or so guests, mostly adequately, with no attempt at finesse.
With one bottle of wine, for 4, 235€ all in.
Ignore the PR sirens and use your precious Paris night more carefully.