If there's one hurdle for us to get to Bar Le Passage - Senderens, it's locating the restaurant. We arrive in the vicinity, spot the street Place de la Madeleine, and then look for No.9 which is the restaurant's number. Probably looking a silly, walking back and forth not finding the restaurant, we start to panic a little that we possibly might be late for our reservation. We have our phones on us but of all days and times, we do not have the phone number of the restaurant. We resort to walking into a nearby cafe and asking the waiter where is Bar Le Passage - Senderens. Instantly, he gestured us to cross rue Royale. Merci beaucoup, monsieur!
Place de la Madeleine is a curved street and rue Royale meets the middle section of Place de la Madeleine. The even-numbered addresses of Place de la Madeleine are on the eastern side of the street; odd-numbered addresses are on the western side. Unlike other streets where one would usually expect even- and odd-numbered addresses to be located across from each other, at Place de la Madeleine they are all on the same side of street but just on different ends from each other. Of course, we only find this out later. Finally we see the passageway "Galerie de la Madeleine 9" and walk into it. Inside this passageway are several shops and we see an unsuspecting facade of the doorway for Le Passage. Gaining entry into Le Passage is almost like entering a speakeasy- guests have to ring the bell and announce themselves, and we did just that. He buzz us in, we walk up the stairs to the restaurant, and our server is there ready to greet and seat us.
Alain Senderens, the chef behind Le Passage, is known for infamously giving up his 3-star Michelin restaurant because it was difficult to maintain a 3-starred restaurant while keeping the costs lower so that more people can enjoy the food. After giving up his 3-starred restaurant, he opened his namesake restaurant Alain Senderens- fine dining with more affordable pricing, relatively speaking, since it's still not your everyday meal pricing. Later, Bar Le Passage was born as a casual sister restaurant.
Inside Bar Le Passage, the setting is contemporary and relaxed. A 5-course blind menu is done every night (4 courses are served at lunch) which means that there is no menu for the guests though the server will ask if there are any allergies. The 5-course blind menu comes with an amuse bouche, 2 entrees (or in American terms: appetizer), plat (main), and dessert. The chef and kitchen team prepare each course as a surprise depending on their creativity for the night. The courses change each night and within a night, one table may receive a different entree, main, or dessert from the next table.
We decide on a glass of Côtes du Rhône wine to enjoy with our dinner. The blind menu for the night starts off with an amuse bouche of thick and creamy green pea puree followed by pork with mushroom foam for the 1st entree and mackerel fish with black mushroom paste for the 2nd entree. The mackerel is delicately grilled and the skin is a perfect crisp. The plat (main) a take on an Asian inspiration with skin-on pork belly and glass noodles, though in their words they call it "Chinese pasta." The preparation is spot-on in leaving the skin on the pork belly, a common method in Chinese braised pork belly. Dessert is a taste of French Napoleon, apple compote, and vanilla ice-cream.
|Green pea puree|
|Pork with mushroom foam|
|Mackerel fish with black mushroom paste|
|Pork belly with glass noodles|
A lovely, lovely meal and at quite a steal at 41€ for a 5-course dinner. We overhear the next table making another dinner reservation for the following week. Why not when every night is a different treat?
Bar Le Passage - Senderens
9 Place de la Madeleine