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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

L'O a La Bouche, R.I.P.

The recent visit to Natacha reminded me how fallible even the most prestigious restaurant guides can be. In the case of Natacha, the recent print editions went to print well before the change of ownership, so they get a pass in this case. But there's no excuse for websites that aren't updated, which is why you have to keep coming back to this blog! At any rate, I can quickly follow this up with another example, which happens to pertain to a restaurant that used to be located just around the corner from Natacha on Bd du Montparnasse, L'O a la Bouche.

For Mortstiff & Co., L'O a la Bouche was our old standby bistro in the 14th. Always dependable for a carefully-prepared meal at reasonable prices (three-course, fixed price menus for under 100€, including a bottle of wine). Not very trendy, but comfortable atmosphere and a thoughtful chef, so who cares about trendy? No sense going into details regarding the carte because, alas, L'O is no more. The restaurant closed early last May, replaced by L'Auberge du Montparnasse.

Whatever happened to L'O? I have no idea. It seemed to have a pretty good flow of customers, and was consistently highly rated. Our last visit a few weeks before they shut their doors, it was evident that something was amiss - we were informed that the manager earlier had taken a nasty fall down the steps on the way to the wine cave and had to be rushed to the hospital. A recently hired waitress was a disaster, bringing plates to the wrong tables, forgetting silverware, etc. But no clues that a closure was in store.

So what does this story have to do with Natacha and restaurant guides? I leave it to you to do your own checking - inevitably you still will find many recommendations online for L'O. In fact, to date, I've only found one indication online that L'O has shut down operations, at the French site, LesRestos.com. Irritating, especially for tourists who have it in their planning to visit a restaurant that is no more. I don't care what restaurant it is in Paris - call first to reserve.

As for L'O's replacement, L'Auberge - this is a spot that specializes in grilled food, especially meats. So far, the reviews suggest this is a place worth checking out. Which is exactly what Mortstiff & Co. intend to do sometime this year. And once we do, you'll be the first to know.

124, Boulevard du Montparnasse
75014 Paris

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