136, rue du Faubourg Poissonnière (10)
Les Arlots is a perfectly pleasant, small bistro in the marginal 10th. While reports point to gentrification, it isn’t yet intuitive that one walks the streets in complete comfort, although any such concerns are probably unjustified.
Very small, 28 seats, 22 in the street front main bar room, an unlucky 6 in the corridor between the kitchen and dining room. Earnest, dedicated, frenetic staff, friendly and bilingual. Largely French middle class, plus what seem like young neighborhood regulars. Small blackboard menu. Not unlike 25 others of similar character and history. For inexplicable reasons, Les Arlots hit the February New York Times lottery, followed by the Alex Lobrano blog and the Financial Times. Must have been a slow news day. Why and how some restaurants experience such remarkable and unique good luck while others languish for years in obscurity remains a mystery of the food (and journalism) worlds.
Five or so enticing first courses: white asparagus, beef cheek terrine, beet salad, fresh pea soup. Of the plats, the most popular, a house made sausage, was out by the time we ordered. Dish after dish appeared all around us at tables which ordered earlier. With a choice of five, being out of one at 8:45 is a serious failure. That left entrecote, cod or lemon sole meunière on the bone, but easy to filet, drenched in too much butter. For dessert, wonderful cheese plate, chocolate mousse or strawberry crumble. No wine list per se. Sommelier/manager asks what you would like, brings to the table several options, all reasonable in price. Our Cahors was right on at 29€.
Friendly and totally in keeping with the intended character of the restaurant, but frantic. Hold onto the silver and pass the plates.
A la carte. Very reasonable. Entrees 10€- 16€; plats 22€; desserts 9€. For 2, 124€.