23, rue Duvivier (7)
In the heart of the restaurant-heavy 7th, beyond the Invalides off Rue Grenelle; a small, brightly lit, traditional space. A small bar, with white tablecloth-covered tables closely spaced in two parallel rows spread back toward the open pass. Every one full. An adult crowd, plus the requisite table of four Japanese girls. A surprising number of Americans, evidently guests of nearby hotels. A negative, but not nearly enough to spoil a very good meal comprised of unusual, original dishes. Two and a half years old, and a very welcome, appealing addition to this Diary.
Short menu, five or six choices in each category, plus one or two plats du jour.
Most part of the prix fixe, a few with supplements.
Beautiful, rich-looking fish soup with shellfish, sautéed baby squid over caramelized eggplant, a fricassee of octopus, foie gras and griolles. Main course choices of roasted salmon, cod on plancha, what was described as sparerib casserole over beans (without bones). Most tables displayed one of two terrific desserts: berry soufflé or chocolate tart.
Medium-sized, but wide-ranging wine list.
At the end of the meal, a hot madeleine served from the oven and a mini-macaroon. A friendly touch.
Two hard-working, competent waiters, plus chef, helper and dishwasher. This is the way small Paris restaurants succeed today.
Service friendly, if harried. In an effort to be friendly and approachable, English-speaking waiter first offered poorly translated English menu and tried to explain the 38€ formula, then pushed hard several dishes. Was perfect for some foreign guests, an off-note for us, notwithstanding what I think were good intentions.
Two formulas at 38€, no supplements, but including one soufflé, 76€, plus a 45€ wine, water and coffee, 135€.
A warm, friendly, truly Parisian experience with a winning format, and good and original cooking.