46 Rue de Montmorency (3)
Among literally thousands of named, but otherwise nameless, small restaurants which dot virtually every block of greater Paris, only a handful combine seriousness, ambition and skill. How to identify these needles within the haystack? Only by word of mouth and personal recommendation. Many thrive for generations by the standards of this Diary and more professional reviews, never rising because location, habit and a lack of ambition – or budget – beyond neighborhood loyalists. Some get lucky and noticed. Many fail. Word of mouth – the recommendation of French-born, now part-time Parisians from Boston, we learned of one of their go-to destinations – not fancy, not special, but several notches above what would be inferred from the small, but nicely designed space in an undistinguished neighborhood behind the Pompidou Centre in the 3rd. We tried for lunch and will return for a slightly more ambitious 39€ 3 course dinner, as listed on a blackboard.
For lunch, 2 courses of 19€, 3 courses for 25€.
Outstanding fresh Italian tomato soup with melting squares of mozzarella, roasted fish or stewed beef in a dark wine sauce. I skipped the plats in favor of an á la carte platter of delicious fresh pate, cheese and sliced salmon with pickled vegetables. For dessert, sliced fresh strawberries with a light shortbread biscuit – a light version of old fashioned strawberry shortcake. Surprisingly refined food served to neighborhood workers at lunch.
Two professional servers covered the 25 or so guests.
Very fair – even cheap by the standard of the food. Recommended wines 6€/glass or 15€/carafe.