30, rue Gay Lussac (5)
If I could own a restaurant in Paris, this may be it.
But if I was to recommend a restaurant in Paris, I have reservations.
Great looking small room. Zinc-topped bar on the right, library shelves of wines on the left. Small tables – very small tables – in between. Small kitchen in the back. Basement table for large groups or to share. Two seatings – 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Because of the early start, most of the 7:30 p.m. covers are foreign, largely American. One menu. No choice. First course served immediately. And no waiting for the 9:30 p.m. service. For the owner, a gold mine. Always busy because the food is very good.
For the diner, too cramped, too warm, too bright, too early (or too late). Worth trying or returning to, but I recommend lunch.
Exceptional, assuming you like what they serve.
On a late November night, cream of carrot soup with croutons, bacon, shaved carrots. Tureen brought to and left on table. Take as much as you want.
A large piece of cod on smashed potatoes with capers, butter, parsley, roasted red peppers. Followed by brie de meaux with apple, followed by citrus panna cotta.
Why the “gold mine”? One waitress assisted by the chef/manager who works behind the bar. The small kitchen sets the pace and she stays in time.
No mention of wines from the vast “library”? Get up. Choose a bottle. Pay the price marked, plus 7€ for corkage. The more expensive the wine, the better the deal. Food: four courses 35€.