13, rue Ternaux (11)
If not a discovery, a find. A bistro as defined by menu and ambition. Attractive space, but not a period one. Nondescript neighborhood. Major wine list. Concise, but broad a la carte menu. Serious execution. An exceptionally good package. The number of apparent regulars attests to both loyalty, consistency and quality.
Over seven years and six satisfying dinners, nothing has changed. All to the good. The neighborhood remains scruffy. The clientele, almost always all French and trending older, the menu extensive, varied and traditional. The preparations, like the restaurant wisely, its staff and its look eschewing flash and empty innovation.
Sautéed wild mushrooms and a platter of sliced Spanish ham; lamb shoulder for two with roasted garlic and wonderful beans arriving in a gleaming copper casserole; sautéed apple and pear in a caramel sauce with vanilla ice cream. These chosen from a long menu.
Kind man and woman serving, both with some English, she in charge on the extraordinary Burgundy wine list, an unlikely highlight.
Villaret is something of a hold-out in a street full of small bars and restaurants catering to the young crowd now gentrifying the neighborhood. A real French restaurant in the traditional sense.
Meat and fish. Presentation not painstaking, but execution exceptional. Choices diverse and appealing. A wide range within a concise menu, with some seasonal emphasis.
Friendly and professional, if not classic bistro. Helpful. Knowledgeable.
A la carte menu. Ex wine, food reasonably priced. Some affordable wines, but not many. For the serious wine person, a joy.