Take a Seat at Safety Harbor’s Parts of Paris
The French have a saying, “Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup,” which means, “Eat well, laugh often, love abundantly.” The first time I stepped into Safety Harbor’s Parts of Paris, I saw every part of that popular saying being lived out in real time: delicious aromas filling the restaurant’s air as patrons licked their plates clean, giggling in between bites and soaking in time with their loved ones.
This hidden gem contradicts what many Americans typically think of when it comes to a French restaurant: formal fine-dining with a stuffy demeanor. And that makes co-owner Chris Orrung very happy (Jonas Ahlgren, who lives in Stockholm, is the other co-owner).
“People think French food means fancy fine-dining but we are trying to change that,” Orrung explains. “You can come here in shorts and flip flops, or a suit, whatever you like. We are very casual here so come as you are, relax and enjoy yourself. We take the French fare very seriously, but otherwise, we are very casual.”
Orrung, who was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, also spent time during his formative years in Brussels, Belgium, a bilingual country that is half Dutch and half French. Being immersed in the French Belgium culture as a child left a lasting impression on Orrung.
“When I decided I wanted to open my own restaurant, I stumbled upon this charming building in Safety Harbor,” he says. “It had never been a restaurant before, but I saw what could be.”
The 1936 Florida bungalow-turned-restaurant opened its doors in April 2012, helping pave the way to today’s Safety Harbor culinary boom. Since then, Parts of Paris has been named on Tampa Bay Times 50 best list and featured in the Boston Globe.
“We’ve been mentioned here and there over the years,” Orrung humbly explains. “In the last five years, there has been an explosion. People probably didn’t know what to think of us at first.”
Well, we sure do now. Orrung and Chef Ryan Steffensmeier’s straightforward French bistro fare focuses on quality dishes at the core. Everything is made from scratch — sauces and stocks are slow-cooked to the utmost perfection. Yes, it takes longer to make it that way, but it means that everything tastes fantastic. The menu features a steady assortment of French classics like Foie Gras, Boeuf Bourguignon, Bouillabaisse, Crème Brûlée and more with new salads, sides and entrees rotating in seasonally.
Orrung encourages locals to come in for a visit. You don’t have to sit down for a three-course meal — remember, they are casual here — swing by for a cocktail or try our Sunday brunch or Monday half-price appetizers.
“You’re going to love it!” Orrung boasts, and I couldn’t agree more.
3 small shallots
Confit garlic (1 head of garlic and olive oil)
1 heirloom tomato
1⁄2 fennel bulb
1 1⁄2 cup white wine
1 red bell pepper
½ Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. anchovy butter (4 oz.
anchovies, 4 oz. butter, confit garlic and roasted shallot puree)
4 oz. salmon
4 oz. swordfish
6 little neck clams
1 soft shell crab
5 shrimp, with tails
Tarragon leaves for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
Set oven to 375 degrees. Roast 3 small shallots in oven using greased pan for 1 hour. Purée in a blender. While shallots roast, confit 1 head of peeled garlic by covering in olive oil and simmering on low heat for 15 minutes. Strain oil and purée garlic in blender. Set aside. Dice the tomato, and slice fennel and red pepper. Sauté vegetables on low heat with 1⁄4 cup of white wine and 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
For the anchovy butter, mince 4 oz. anchovies, 1⁄2 Tbsp. of the confit garlic and 1⁄2 Tbsp. of the roasted shallot puree. Mix with 4 oz. softened butter. Refrigerate butter for at least 30 minutes.
To make the bouillabaisse, get a large sauté pan and add 1 1⁄4 cup white wine, vegetables, shallot puree, confit garlic, salmon, swordfish, clams, soft shell crab. Bring to simmer. Cover with lid and cook for 3 minutes. Then, add mussels and shrimp and cook until mussels open, about 2 minutes. Add anchovy butter and season with salt and pepper. Add a few leaves of tarragon for garnish. Serves 1.
Parts of Paris |727.797.7979 | partsofparis.com