Having heard just small tidbits about this newly opened venture by the American-New Zealand duo behind the wine shop, La Dernier Goutte, sandwich shop, Cosi, and the ever-popular expat hangout, Fish la Boissonnerie, I was eager to try it out to see how it stacked up.
I made a reservation (rather easily, I might add) this past weekend with my friend Lindsey of LostInCheeseland and Lola’s Cookies. At first glance, we loved the beautiful open kitchen and the comfortable airy and rustic atmosphere with stone-walls and exposed heating ducts. Lindsey, who had not ventured over to the left bank for dinner in months, was already gushing about the superior service and friendly waitstaff.
Our biggest concern was that this new spot would be filled with English-speakers like Fish. We were pleasantly surprised, however, to find that all the tables around us were mostly french-speaking. The crowd was made up of diners of all ages and nationalities who were all smiling and chatting about the exciting new menu in town.
The kitchen is run by Meilleur Ovrier de France (MOF) Eric Trochon and churns out a delightful mix of contemporary bistro-cooking and new twists on some classic French recipes. The market-fresh menu changes daily with a few options, like the delicious shitake mushrooms, remaining on the menu permanently.
We started with a glass of wine each. The wine menu seemed thoughtfully chosen and the waitstaff is ready to help in your choices to ensure your wine needs and desires are comfortably met. Once we got into the menu, we were thrilled with the idea of half-portion and full portion options instead of your classic entrée, plat, dessert set-up. There are no fixed-rate menus for dinner but, rather, the menu is set up in such a way that you can create your own custom dining experience by eating a tapas-style meal with a few half-portions or having a classic 3-course meal with your choice of half-portion starter and full-portion main dish.
I started with the half-portion of the ceviche with ginger and coriander which was light, refreshing and perfectly seasoned. Lindsey and I shared the must-have griddled shitake mushrooms (along with almost every table around us). For our main courses, I had the delectably rich squid risotto with persillade (although, a half-portion would do! My eyes were bigger than my stomach) while Lindsey finished off her cabillaud with a delicious celery puree.
Everything was fabulously affordable and, although it got a little noisy to the end (it was a Saturday night, after all), we happily finished our dinner off with some Coutume coffee and left with smiles and full bellies promising to return.
54 rue de Seine, 75006
Metro: Mabillion or Odeon