5, rue Henri Monnier
Metro Station: Saint-Georges (Line 12) or Pigalle (Lines 2 and 12)
Type of cuisine: French
Days & hours of operation: Mon to Fri Noon – 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Sat 6:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Credit card: Visa, MasterCard
Located across from place Gustave Toudouze, the attractive purple awning and the wide, sparkling-clean windows of this restaurant catch the eye of passersby making their way up rue Henri Monnier. One cannot help but pause in front of the establishment to peruse its menu (posted on a chalkboard) to see if appealing dishes are served there. And indeed there are! It was our pleasure to dine at Côté 9ème on a recent Friday evening to determine whether the food was as appetizing as the menu descriptions made it sound.
As we were the first customers to enter, we were seated at a table that gave us a splendid view of the square across the street. During the course of the evening, we could observe children playing tag and hide-and-seek there, and adults returning their bicycles to the Vélib’ parking stand. The bustle of activity in the square provided delightful distraction while we dined.
Upon my inquiry, the waiter told me that the Potage du jour was vegetable and that I could have it served cold or hot. As the evening air was warm, I decided to try it cold. It was a good choice! The thick soup, prepared as a coarse purée and flavored with olive oil, arrived in a terrine. It was delicious!
My partner opted for the Fromage frais aux olives sur cake au chèvre. She was served a slice of cake, reminiscent of a pound cake, punctuated with chunks of goat cheese. It was tangy and tasty, if a bit dry. On her plate were also two generous dollops of fromage frais sprinkled with chopped chives and finely chopped black olives. A small mixed-green salad garnished the dish.
The main course was equally tasty. I ordered the Saint Jacques, gambas et rascasse à la citronnelle, and was served a wide, shallow bowl containing a vegetable broth in which floated scallops, giant prawns, and scorpion fish. Accompanying the seafood were potatoes, carrots, snow peas, and a slice of lemon. This was a wonderfully robust and flavorsome meal.
My parner was served Navarin d’agneau, petits pois printaniers, a savory lamb stew with an accompaniment of small peas, snow peas, baby carrots, pearl onions, and an occasional wilted lettuce leaf. The dish was so copious that she could not finish it.
To accompany our meal, we ordered a Languedoc Château Le Thou 2006 à la ficelle, which means that you pay for the amount of wine that you consume from the bottle that is placed in front of you. The garnet-colored wine was slightly tannic, peppery, and sharp, turning softer as the wine aerated.
Thickly sliced, fresh baguette was served alongside in a basket.
For the dessert course, there were eight types to choose from, plus a cheese plate, making our decision difficult. I finally voted for the Fondant aux marrons, glace marron, because I have never seen this on other menus. I received a small, round cake whose hot, chestnut-cream center immediately flowed out when I pierced the top. This, plus the chestnut ice cream served on the side, was a special treat!
My partner, who has determined to try rum baba wherever it is offered, selected the Baba au rhum et au thym. Even before he brought out the baba, the waiter placed a bottle of Karukera rum from Guadeloupe on the table. This is a signal that the customer may liberally sprinkle the baba with as much rum as desired! A little bit also ended up in her empty water glass, providing her with a small digestif following the dessert.
The bill for two, including two apéritifs, two starters, two main courses, two desserts, a ficelle of wine, and an espresso, came to 89€.
The waiter, whom we imagine is also the proprietor of the restaurant, was friendly and helpful. After serving the dessert he offered to take a picture of us with our camera.
Would we return here again? Yes, indeed! We left the restaurant quite pleased with ourselves for having “discovered” and dined in this charming establishment.
Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975. A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992. Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris. His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.” He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.