Bistro des Gastronomes, Paris 5th
Bistro des Gastronomes is the talk of the Left Bank Paris 5th arrondissement, a sprawling ‘hood that covers the Latin Quarter, La Sorbonne, Jardin des Plantes, numerous museums, the Institut du Monde Arabe and La Tour d’Argent.
Opened last January, Bistro des Gastronomes has been playing to packed houses of locals, Americans and, of course, ze French. All who know the rue Cardinal Lemoine are impressed by the transformation of a grungy old PMU bar “Le Derby” into a smart neo-bistro.
Chef Cédric Lefèvre (ex-Le Volnay, Christian Constant, Chez Michel) had a coup de foudre when he learned “Le Derby” was for sale. He spent six months ripping everything out, replacing the old tat with “old” tat—but clean, bright pieces, as in the sparkling pewter bar, old mirrors and lots of copper rails. There’s now room for 32 covers, tables are well spaced and set with Persil white cloths, napkins and modern eating irons. On the shelves, preserved products in glass jars to take away. The open kitchen is tiny: you can just see Lefèvre and his team, heads-down, chopping away in silence. It’s all soundproof and smellproof in their spotless space, so you won’t need to wash your hair or visit le pressing after a meal at the B des G.
Most of Chef Lefèvre’s recipes are based on family favorites: a slab of terrine de campagne, offered as a freebie starter, is made by his grandmother. The wine list’s extensive, interesting, and well priced, showcasing both partners’ love of the grape. Begin with an AOC Grave 2007 Château Haut Selve, or choose a glass from 4€. Prefer white? AOC Sancerre Blanc 2009 from Domaine Alphonse Mellot (37€).
This is trencherman-style cuisine, revised and corrected just enough so you don’t feel stuffed after tasting say: Cassolette d’escargots de Bourgogne et champignons des bois, or remarkable Poêlée de couteaux en persillade et croustillants de pomme de terre. Rémoulade de céleri et haddock à la graine de moutarde; Croustillants de boudin noir aux pommes or Papillotte de coques et moules en marinière (see photo above).
Mains include an excellent lapin fermier rôti. Bavette Black Angus poêlée, charlotte potatoes sautées et pleurotes.
“All the products come fresh daily, that’s why I’ve no more ris de veau tonight,” explained chef Cédric. But he did have an excellent steamed Filet de daurade grise en papillotte, petits légumes et girolles and a bold Tatin de boudin noir de Louis Hospital. Cheese is from Laurent Dubois, bread’s by Eric Kayser. Desserts are: Tarte au citron servie autrement in a wide glass. Crème Brûlée vanille bourbon, Pruneaux marinés à la vieille prune. And, to order en début de repas: Figues rôties au miel et crème légère à la vieille prune and rib-sticking mouthwatering Pain perdu aux pommes caramélisées et glace vanille nougatine.
“La gastronomie est l’art d’utiliser la nourriture pour créer le bonheur,” wrote Theodore Zeldin. At Bistro des Gastronomes the bonheur is in the welcome and on the plate.
Tél: 01 43 54 62 40
10, rue du Cardinal Lemoine, Paris 5th
Menu Lunch & Dinner 35€ + A La Carte
Margaret Kemp is a Cordon Bleu graduate who spent a year traveling the world, working and watching in the kitchens of top chefs from Sydney, Australia via Bangkok, Hong Kong, California, New York and France. She reports for BonjourParis on the latest European trends, restaurants and hot spots. Please click on her name to see her weekly stories dating back to 2003 . . . et merci, Margaret.
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