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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Le Villaret - Aging Well

Last Thursday evening, on the heels of a spontaneous and ill-chosen dinner at Chez Clement on the Champs Elysee (enough said), Co.and I directed some family to a monumental step up to one of my old Paris favorites, Le Villaret, a serious, comfortable, always-filled bistrot that veritably defines the term 'Paris bistrot.'  Hell, Le Villaret has been high on my list since not long after my arrival in France about 20 years ago, and it just keeps getting better with age. . .although I'm not sure I'd be willing to make that bold statement about yours truly. 

Not from the night we were there, but Villaret is always filled.
True, there was a few-years lull when Co. and I turned our attention elsewhere, a bit put off by Villaret's rather pricey ala carte menu.  Problem now solved - Villaret offers one of the best menu degustation deals in town, with its 55€ six-course dinner, accompanied by a mise-en-bouche (a  tasty spinach cream) and a plate of patisseries along with the cafe (4€).  And with quantity comes distinct quality, each dish delicately prepared with fresh ingredients and panache.  A couple years ago, Villaret's owners spiced up the interior, which now is still cozy but more refined, with less of the Swiss chalet look, and more glimpses of the superb wine selection.  Along with pricier bottles, Villaret now offers some very affordable options, including an excellent Cabardes Cazaban (30€).  Some highlights from the meal follow below.  What is missing is the initial entree, a seasonal asperge consomme, and a penultimate dessert consisting of some sort of coconut concoction and passion fruit.

Sardines - not my favorite - but this dish was excellent.

Sandre pierre and leeks

Pigeon and large peas - again, a dish that typically isn't one of my top choices, but this one was more than fine.

White chocolate and other goodies inside, accompanied by pina colada ice.

The upshot - an excellent meal, each dish adding to the overall Gestalt in a way that really made sense.  When you can say that about a meal that includes a couple of dishes that you may typically shy away from, you get what Villaret is all about.  And when their menu includes items you actually like, well then it doesn't get much better than that.

13 rue Ternaux
75011 Paris
tel: 01 43 57 75 56

reserve at least a week in advance.

Interesting wall adornment in the Oberkampf area nearby

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