20, rue St-Roch (1)
This small family-owned restaurant has operated for almost fifty years in an ancient building built into the side of the St. Roche Church just off Rue St. Honoré. “Modest” hardly defines it. Modest in size (20 seats, including two tables in the beamed room which also serves as the kitchen), modest in staff (one chef, one waiter and a dishwasher), modest in ambition and menu. If you arrive with commensurately modest expectations, it can be quite pleasant, as it was for us. If seated in one of the two kitchen tables, a near-private demonstration of French cooking in action.
Limited menu, with two entrée plats du jour and two plats (main courses). Stick to these. Our poached egg in cream of mushroom soup was fresh and rich. Equally so (at least the fresh part) minced salmon tartare with oil, citrus and herbs. Our breast of roasted pintade (guinea hen) was first rate, good to look at and flavorfully sauced, served with creamy scalloped potatoes. At another meal, scallops and blanquette of chicken. Limited, but adequate desserts and wines.
The chef’s young nephew, plus the chef himself. Informal in the extreme and totally in keeping with the spirit of the evening.
Modest a la carte. Three courses 45€, plus wine.