While tourists come to Paris looking for, rightfully so, the superlative duck confit or the swoon-worthy foie gras, we who are here all year round are constantly on the lookout for greater variety beyond French food. So when an American friend told us about Blues Bar-B-Q around the Bastille, we immediately gathered another friend to join us for a night of ribs and such.
The restaurant was opened late last year by an American expat who wanted to bring a taste of home to Paris. Apparently, this restaurant is well known within the local American community, and indeed, we were the only non-American table occupying the room the night we were there. Seated in the cozy dining room, dressed up in classic red and chrome diner decor and a fat plush pig donning a sheriff’s hat, it is easy to forget one’s location and believe that one had been transported to Atlanta, Kansas City or any other American que-town.
I must admit I’m not well-versed in the art of barbeque and my last authentic Texan meal was over 2 years ago at Hill Country in Manhattan, so I can’t tell you if what they do at Blues Bar-B-Q is Texan, Georgian or from the Carolinas. What I can say though is the food is quite good and the service is terribly nice and earnest. The boys shared a platter of ribs, cooked low and slow over hickory wood to render a nice smokey flavor and tender meat. Very enjoyable, though a little underwhelming in size as both of them had expected American-sized full racks of ribs, only to be served French-sized half racks each. The pulled pork sandwich was also tasty and very hefty. The bun surprisingly held its shape despite being buried in a happy mess of pork and vinegar-based sauce, which provided much moisture to the otherwise dry pork. Beef brisket is also on the menu, and highly recommended by the tres sympa waitress. The sides were simple but satisfying, especially after years since the last encounter. They tend to be spicy, the beans stomach-warming with its smoke and spice flavors, the jalapeno spiked cornbread too. And for some unfathomable reason, they served Louisiana-style gumbo too, which was a mite too watery for me. Prices are very reasonable, the boy’s Rib meal on Euro 22.90 and my sandwich formule (with 1 side and a drink) less than E10.
As the only bastion of barbeque in Paris, Blues Bar-B-Q is providing well-appreciated civic service to homesick Americans in the city. It is also doing a decent job introducing Parisians to the pleasures of this American culinary highlight. One hopes it will become a trend soon!
Blues Bar-B-Q: 1 rue Sedaine, 75011, Paris