Metro Station: Les Gobelins (Line 7)
Type of cuisine: French
Days & hours of operation: Mon to Fri Noon – 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Credit card: Visa, MasterCard
Le Petit Pascal exudes old-fashioned, ragged-at-the-edges bistrot charm. It has a wood-paneled bar, a mother-of-pearl tile floor, wooden chairs and wooden- and marble-topped tables, large mirrors on the walls giving illusion of greater space, a tight, spiral staircase rising into the ceiling, and Art Deco lamps hanging in the dining room. All in all, it is a place where one can relax with friends over a drink or over an informal dinner.
We had read somewhere that the dishes here were bountiful, so we ordered only a main course and dessert.
I selected the Poëlée de crevettes pimentées et son riz arlequin, a dish of ten plump prawns sautéed in a spicy sauce (perhaps paprika) and served around a generous mound of rice that had been cooked with small diced carrots and red pepper. The entire plate was garnished with chopped parsley. A little bit of work was required to remove the heads of the prawns before I could eat them, but the waitress had provided a wet wipe to clean the sauce off the fingers after this operation. The prawns and rice were hearty and flavorful.
My partner opted for the Salade Monégasque, courgettes safranées mi-cuites, compotes de poivrons sur croustillant de chèvre. Her salad consisted of lukewarm, sliced, semi-cooked zucchini lying in a fan atop a bed of bitter greens and cooked red pepper. The salad was topped with a generous dollop of fresh goat cheese encased in a thin leaf of brick pastry. My partner was pleased with the flavor of this copious dish! Monégasque, incidentally, is the adjective that describes something or someone from the Principality of Monaco.
For our choice of wine, we followed the waitress’ suggestion and ordered a 25cl carafe of Chablis 2008. The slightly tart white wine accompanied our dishes just fine!
The bread was the weak point of the meal—it was fresh, thick-sliced baguette, but its flavor and texture lacked character.
The dessert, however, warrants writing about. I tried the Poire au vin d’épices et sa glacée vanille. A delicate, sliced pear, fan-shaped and stewed in spiced wine, was served warm in a shallow bowl. It sat in a sea of spiced wine with a dollop of vanilla ice cream nestled to one side. The wine, spiced with cinnamon, clove, and berries, elicited memories of hot, mulled wine that one finds at the chalet stands that are set up around Paris during the Christmas season. It was a delicious treat!
My partner was pleased to receive a huge portion of Tiramisu consisting of rich mascarpone and a bottom layer of biscuit soaked in coffee. The entire portion was heavily dusted with cocoa powder.
While we dined, free jazz, and then later, the singing of Serge Gainsbourg played over the speaker system.
The service was provided by two women who were friendly and helpful.
The bill for two persons, including two main courses, two desserts, and a 25cl carafe of wine, came to 57.60€.
This is a great restaurant for diners who want to take their friends to a Parisian bistrot that exudes old-time atmosphere and that serves substantial, satisfying food.
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.