Address: 76, Boulevard de Grenelle
Tel: 01 45 75 62 05
Metro: Line 6 Dupleix)
Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)
2.75 - Star...............................................................€€.............................................................*1 - Bell
*(Note: we were in a private booth)
This is a restaurant just down the street from "Dernier Metro", and in fact they are the same owners. Although it's better known for a "Happy Hour" place or for apéros, we decided to try it out for lunch. It is a Basque style restaurant. It's a very long restaurant with a bar running along its side and 2-tall tables just in front of the bar. The main dining area was a shared dining area of maybe 14-people, very tight and you get to know your neighbors pretty quickly. Surprisingly, there were only 3 of us but we got the private round room in the back, which I absolutely adored. It can easily sit 4 comfortably and 6 snuggly. So ask for that room if you should want to venture in.
We perused the menu and they have daily lunch specials on a board. The entrées and the Plats were very reasonably priced They also had a regular menu which you could order from, so we did both, we ordered from the board as well as the regular menu, to mix it up! Warning- the formule (prix fixe) only applies to the items on the board... if you mix and match or order from the regular menu you pay a la carte.
For our entrées, I got the pigs ears. I actually liked it a lot. The meat was tender and the cartilage had the nice characteristic chewy crunch. It was a lot like a Filipino dish called "sigsig" typically made with pig's head. Personally, I would liked it better if it had been served with a slice of lime and chilis. Instead, I sprinkled "espelette" a typical Basque season that has a little bite to it.
One had the vegetable soup. It was very watery, lacked any real flavor even though the stock was clearly chicken. He had to put a lot of pepper and espelette to give it some taste. I had tasted it, and I have one word to describe this soup, bland.
The other entree was the duck livers. I had a taste of this, and I really liked it. It was very good, not mealy or overdone. And, adding espelette made it even tastier, so I would highly recommend this dish as an entree.
Two of us had the tripe, which is typically very Basque. It was very good. It was cooked in what I think is a lot of vinegar probably to counteract the fat as well as the smell. It did not have that typical tripe smell, but it was a tad bit on the greasy side, which is characteristic of the dish. It was served with potatoes. I liked this dish, but it's not for everyone.
Our companion had the veau (veal) that was cooked in a very thick sauce. He really enjoyed it, whereas I thought it was tasty, but the texture was off-putting. It was too, too glutinous. Way too much flour as a thickening agent. It's almost as if they took a slurry and just poured it in the stew. And, the sides of mash potatoes was enormous!
For dessert, I had a plate of cheese. Nondescript, but very good. One person had the apple crumble. It had to have been more then 2-days old. I had a tiny taste of it, it just tasted like it had been baked a few days earlier. It was very dry and I did not like it all.
And, our companion had the creme caramel. I didn't taste it, but he enjoyed it and thought it was very good.
Overall, I can see how this place would be popular among the young for aperos or "happy hour." It's not fine dining, there were hits and misses. The service though, was excellent, but as my companion stated, he would opt to go to the "Dernier Metro" in the future.
And, for me, although it was a fun experience, I would prefer trying something else.
Total bill for 3 of us came to 130 Euros that included a bottle of red wine "Domain Abotia" Irouléguy, a carafe of rose, and an additional 2-glasses of wine and coffee.