As the cold weather continues – it's been snowing in Paris today! – I'm checking my list of favorite Paris bistros, places I love to go to brighten up the winter months and hide out from the cold. Here's one from the Food Lover's Guide 5th edition to Paris archives:
Le Pantruche, with its 1930s patina – large oak bar, mirrors that make a small place grand, warming chestnut-toned banquettes and simple oak chairs -– is the sort of place everyone wants to have within walking distance of home. Chef Franck Baranger and associates Nicolas Chatelain and Edouard Bobin run their contemporary bistro with enthusiasm and personality, and the Pigalle spot is always filled with the sounds of guests having a fine time. Baranger (who spent time with the chef Christian Constant at Violon d’Ingres and Cocottes) takes the classic bistro repertoire, wraps it around in his mind and comes out with some appealing, personal modern fare. I’ll begin with a few “bones to pick” with Baranger. I begged him to toss his truffle oil (produced in the chemistry lab and nothing more than perfume and no more an ingredient for the table than Shalimar or hand purifier). And I wish he would turn up the heat in his kitchen, for too many ingredients come out lukewarm, their potential lost. That said, I’ll be back to try once again his signature oyster tartare set in a brilliant green cream of lettuce soup (huître en tartare, crème de laitue). The raw, well-seasoned scoop of minced oysters bathes in the creamy soup, topped with a palate-opening dollop of nutmeg-scented cream, a soothing opener if ever there was one. A wintry serving of jet-black braised wild hare sits atop a warming and pungent puree of celery root (céleri-rave), while a daily special of braised beef cheeks left me kicking up my heels. A few sips of Foillard’s Morgon added to the pleasure. Now, if the staff could only speed up the service, we’d all leave with a bigger grin on our faces. The best news is that the bill does not break the bank.
La Pantruche | 3 rue Victor Massé | Paris 3 | +33 1 48 78 55 60 | Métro: Saint-Georges or Pigalle | Open: Monday-Friday. Closed Saturday & Sunday | 19€ lunch menu, 35€ dinner menu, à la carte 40-50€ | Reservations essential | lepantruche.com