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Sunday, July 7, 2013

6 Paul Bert - Diner's Delight

Cross an upscale American diner (the place, not the person who eats in it) with a country store and voila you've got 6 Paul Bert, aptly named - though with no great originality - for its corner locale on rue Paul Bert, numero 6, and listed as one of Condé Nast’s Best New Restaurants of 2013.  Earth to bistrot - scratch one of the sixes on the facade, lest people think they are eating at  66 Paul Bert.  Bertrand Auboyneau is the Godfather of aforesaid rue, owning two successful restaurants there already: the mainstay, Paul Bert, of course, and L'Ecailler du Bistro.

When you enter you see the shelves of condiments - bottles and tins - which gives an initial impression of country story or urban farmhouse, but that first impression is quickly dispelled by the zinc bar, hanging silver lamps, two long rows of rectangular tables, both pretty much communal given the couple of centimeters than separate each, and small open kitchen in the rear, over which conspicuously hangs one of those retro primary school wall clocks.  Co. and I had little difficulty reserving about a week in advance, a bit surprising given the apparent popularity of the place, but this being the first 'grand depart' weekend of the Parisian vacances, maybe the fact that the Parisians are fleeing had something to do with it.  Still, can't complain about availability.

6 Paul Bert slants towards Septime originality, with a more Au Passage tapas motif.  Basically, what that means is that the dishes are excellent . . . but small.  My langoustine tartar dish was veritably microscopic - gone in a flash - but really really good.  The carte, see below, offers several choices which can be selected ala carte, but your best bet is the 42€ menu including your choice of three dishes and one dessert (or a cheese plate).  That should do the job - it did for us.  And as is usually the case with such creative concoctions, there may be some misses, but most of our dishes were unanimously hits.

    le carte, early July 2013 (click to enlarge)

Here you've got our first dishes - in the foreground, my tartare de langoustine and the purple chou-fleur . . . as good as this tasted, there should have been more.  By the time I got my mouth around the subtleties of taste, it was gone.  Poof.  In the background, Co's petit poulpes, courgettes and capers, a much more copious plate.  Co. didn't see much innovative about the dish, but once we swapped, I was more impressed, especially as the confit de lemon (I think) meshed with the bouillon de jambon, pouples,and capers.  Impressive.

Closeup on the tartare de langoustine.  Cross a lobster with a crayfish and it's offspring will come out not unlike a langoustine, the tartare almost sweet to the taste.

 Moving right along, next stop, my choice of bonite with chou rouge - the white glop is a faisselle a l'amande.  Not unlike raw tuna, this dish really rocked.  

Whereas Co. waited patiently to dig into her carpaccio de paleron de bouffe, with more chou and a radi  and  mayonaisse ciboulette.

For my third dish, I went with the artichokes, bulots, peas, and aoili.  I was least impressed by this dish, but fascinated by the odd pairing of bulots and artichokes.


Meanwhile, Co nearly fell off her chair with glee over this pigeon and mushrooms preparation.  Once again, an odd pairing of the pigeonneau and myrtilles fruit, made this a very special dish.

Dessert time - three choices, all seasonal fruit-based dishes.  I went red, Co. went grapefruit.  Understated and good, but not knock your socks off great.

No question, chef Louis-Philippe is not afraid to mix and match, with odd seasonal combinations which mostly seem to work.  Sommelie Solenne Jouan oversees the impressive and reasonably priced selection of natural wines.  We chose an inexpensive Touraine (La Butte Puzelat 2012) at 24€, bringing the tab to a 108€ total and an ideal price/quality ratio.

 If you want more, check out some of Louis-Philippe's other offerings here and here.  Or better yet, why not try reserving and eating there yourself.  Then post your photos here, really, it's allowed.  Don't be afraid.

street address:  take a wild guess
tel. 01 43 79 14 32
website:  huh?

The Godfather hisself.

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