For Parisians, "Paname" is the insider's nickname for their hometown, a telling indicator that this restaurant is intended for Francophiles in the know. Chef-owner Bernard Ros taps into the city’s casual bistro ethos, offering classic, reasonably-priced cuisine—
some traditional, and some invigorated with modern tweaks "pour le neighborhood,” he imparts on a recent night. Dinner is served in a white-clothed dining room trimmed with banquet tables, art deco mirrors and large, Erté-esque paintings.
flavors and colors alike. It reminded me instantaneously of my first meal in Paris: the nostalgia speaks volumes. Scallopini swaps out the usual veal for slices of Niman Ranch pork ($22), tender enough to render a knife unnecessary and smothered in an umami-rich reduction of meat juices and mixed mushrooms. A small bouquet of steamed vegetables accompany most dishes, but if you're vegephilic, you might want to start with a produce-centric option, such as the asparagus salad or the beets with chevre chantilly. The asparagus are crisp and fresh, although the overall dish is a little lackluster.
The beets, too, are fine examples, but their goat cheese could've been a little more chantilly-ed: it was basically just a little glob of goat cheese- a fairly ubiquitous combination. Perhaps order a side dish of roughage... at only 4$!!! it's worth it even if they might not be anything to write home about. Vegetables, perhaps, are not Paname's forte, but there are myriad other things on the menu that more than make up for this privation.
After the mains, a plate of pleasantly bitter little chocolates or a variety of biscuits might come complimentary, but don't let that dissuade you from ordering desserts ($10), all plated with flamboyant panache. There is just as much variety on the sweet end as in the savories: the molten chocolate cake and flourless chocolate torte are both classic, fudgy and decadent. A tarte tatin is the winner though, upending traditional proportions with a plump whole apple perched atop flaky pastry in a
moat of rich, sugary-bronze housemade caramel. Even the seasonal sorbets are profoundly flavorful. It's a lucky spot to have if you're local to upper Midtown West, and even if not, well... it's a lot closer than Paris.
1068 2nd Avenue (bet. 56 & 57th Streets)