The place is its old charming self, up at the butt end of Paul-Bert, with that classic bar and those mirrors, etc, as befits one of Paris’s oldest. The amuse-bouche is a traditional salmon tartare/creamy/thing that was quite good with great bread (as was the second bread served afterwards).
I had the charcuterie from his friend in the Ospital (joke, joke) that was also very good and spicy but a bit too much for a 1st. About now the waiter (Lawrence Mentil – we traded cards) primarily paying attention to me had struck up a conversation, quickly outing me with – “So who do you write for?” He and the other two I dealt with were super-professionals, putting to shame those who are not, example: for the first time in a month, I never touched the wine bottle – magically they anticipated every sip.
I then had the cassolet and this is where Cyril’s inventiveness, creativity and pushing-the-envelope puzzled me – what was the sauce? what were the cuts of meat? where did that strange but nice taste come from? This is not my, Escoffier’s, Mark Bittman’s, the Auberge Pyrenees-Cevennes’, etc., cassoulet, but the beans were super and the sauce got my attention.
For dessert, I had the baba, which was served with two rums (a vintage St Lucia and an unyeared Martinique that I and the wait guy liked best.)
At the end, they passed around hot Madeleines straight from the pan; a great touch.
With a glass of wine, NB: the glasses of wine start at 7, bottles at 27, no bottled water, 3 courses and coffee the bill = 50 €.