Francois Simon, arguably or unarguably the most respected food critic in Paris, excepting my colleague Margaret Kemp and Sebastien Demorand, ex-Zurban and now Optimum, Le Parisien Dimanche, Omnivore, Saveurs, Le Fooding, Côté Femmes, Biba…, etc., radio and television, said a few weeks ago in his ”Hache Menu”  (recall that the subject of this sentence was FS), in Le Figaroscope that one should eat at Le P’tit Casier because the food was so meritorious and the clientele so frighteningly sparse that it deserved our custom – which is a long-winded way to get into touting two of my favorite places, serendipitously placed within easy walking distance of my digs, that called me back during the recent strikes.
The first, Spring*, is already so famous (and just made more-so in/by Elle), impossible to get into (vide Yogi Berra) and amply covered by everyone from Emmanuel Rubin to me last week here and elsewhere that I hesitate to promote it more. However, if Simon can, so can I. Daniel Rose is such a sweetie, so good a cook and so able to put a complex meal on the table for a reasonable price that he deserves to be full every evening.
Dear Reader: please don’t call him any more and use my name to get a reservation – it won’t work, he knows me, my face, my voice, my email address. Instead do the smart and ethical thing: call for lunch on Thursday or Friday or take a cooking class on Saturday, which according to him, goes from mid-morning ‘til you drop or call six months in advance. Or be patient: he’s gotta expand or branch out while he’s hot and he knows it only too well.
The second, Carte Blanche, is just down the Mount(martre) from Spring and is also worthy of your patronage,  since it, like Le P’tit Casier, is hardly fully booked. My pal Atar (“the awesome”) and I ate there recently** and had a spectacular (me) and OK (he) meal. We both liked the mackerel ceviche amuse bouche on a bed of dressed greens but then I really scored with a “fish and chips” of monkfish, gambas and fried plantain slices (I think) with some drizzled sweet and sour sauce followed by colvert duck with roasted figs and pomegranate seeds. I actually liked, better than he, his “ile flottante” of petit gris (the ile was made with egg whites and the shrimp decorticated) over which tea was poured and fresh Spanish ham cooked like schnitzel with mashed potatoes with a brown sauce atop. There was no way we could have had a dessert after all this goodness. So, run don’t walk, because one can have a super meal and as a couple, exit for under 100 €. Carte Blanche has been described by someone, maybe me, as Ze Kitchen Galerie Lite, which is unfair because while possessing the same formula for success – incredibly warm welcome, great chefs, precise service, fresh products, Asian spices, French preparation and easy prices – they are very, very different.
* last complete meal October 18, last drop-by November 15 – no offers/no comps, paid in full.
** last meal November 15, paid in full.
My favorites during the strike were:
28, rue de la Tour d’Auvergne, 9th, (Metro: not running, but I guess St Georges or Pigalle)
Open Tuesday-Friday for dinner with one 16 person seating at 8:30-9 PM
Lunch Thursday and Friday at around 1 PM, seating is very limited (8-10)
Cooking classes and private parties on Saturday afternoons and evenings.
Menu du jour 39 €
6, rue Lamartine, 9th (Metro : not running, but I guess Notre Dame de Lorette)
T : 01.48.78.12.20
Closed Saturday noon and Sundays
Menus at 25 and 31 €, a la carte 35 €.
©2007 John A. Talbott