Metro Station: Place Monge (Line 7)
Type of cuisine: French
Days & hours of operation: Mon to Fri Noon – 2:30 p.m and 7:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Credit card: Visa, MasterCard
We first wrote about Le Resto in the November 2009 edition of our newsletter Paris Insights. At that time the restaurant had been open for just seven months. We returned last Friday with four friends from California, assuring them that they would get a great meal here. They were not disappointed! The appetizing food and relaxed, friendly service have not changed.
The restaurant exudes rustic charm, with exposed, wooden beams on the ceiling, bare stone walls, and a wooden-plank floor. It also manifests an unusual display of eclectic and unconventional décor that borders on the peculiar, with black café curtains at the window, unmatched mirrors on the wall, a wrought-iron candelabrum holding red candles over the bar, a wall next to the bar painted cherry-red, and an adjoining wall painted black. The table tops are made of champagne riddling boards, painted black and covered by inset glass. And finally, as if to emphasize that the diner has entered an unusual space, the customer is handed menu cards that are viewed through thick slabs of Plexiglas.
The ambiance is amusing rather than disconcerting, and as the dishes came out of the kitchen, our friends soon realized that there was some seriously good food served here.
Six persons are about the maximum size that this small restaurant can accommodate as a group. We were comfortable at the single large table around which we sat…but just barely!
While making our decision about which dishes to order, we ordered a bottle of Domaine de Grézan Chardonnay 2009 from the Languedoc-Roussillon, a region located in the southernmost part of France. We found the medium-bodied white wine to be soft and refreshing,
The restaurant offers a three-course menu for 28€. It is still, as we said back in November 2009, a modest price to pay for such well-prepared dishes. There are five starters, five mains, and five desserts from which to choose. A couple of the dishes come with supplemental prices.
For the starter, I ordered Rillettes thon, avocat, toasts grillés. Four chunky slices of toasted baguette drizzled with olive oil encircled a disk-shaped mound of shredded tuna mixed with avocado and spices, and topped with a sun-dried tomato. It was evident that the mouthwatering tuna mixture was to be spread on the toast and then eaten with the fingers. Delicious!
My partner selected the Crottin de chèvre lardé au balsamique, brisure de noix. This unique preparation consisted of goat cheese wrapped in a single slice of bacon. It was served warm and garnished with luscious balsamic vinegar and broken walnut halves. My partner declared that this was the highlight of her meal – she said that it was even better than her dessert!
The Filet de bar aux petits légumes looked promising for the main course, so I chose that. I received a plate containing a generous slice of broiled bass resting next to a small mound of peas and broad beans topped with sun-dried tomatoes. The fish had been drizzled with pesto sauce and the vegetables with balsamic. It was a tasty Mediterranean-inspired meal.
For her part, my partner opted for the Joue de porcelet, petits pois frais et coriandre. Three small, but lean and tender portions of meat were served nestled in baby peas prepared à la française.
The dessert choices all looked tempting. Not quite knowing what a Vacherin minute, sauce chocolat was, I ordered it. Akin to a chocolate sundae, it was a tall glass of caramel ice cream mixed with broken chunks of baked meringue and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Scrumptious!
My partner enjoyed her Mi-cuit chocolat, glace caramel beurre salé. The “mi-cuit” has become commonplace on French menus, and it generally pleases those who love chocolate. But my partner was intrigued by the salted caramel ice cream that was served alongside. Its excellent, creamy texture and perfectly assertive flavor were the best thing about this course.
On the evening that we dined, we learned that Pascal Millet is no longer the chef. That position is now adequately filled by Isabelle Bedjidian, who was, at one time, the server in the restaurant. Service is now provided by Stéphanie, who stepped outside with us to take our picture in front of the restaurant. She spoke English during the service, to the delight of our friends from California. They will have some great stories to tell about French conviviality and French cuisine when they return to the States!
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.