Rendezvous at Café Varenne

The other day Walter and I were having lunch at our neighborhood Paris café, Café Varenne, and just as we were finishing a superb dish of ultra-tender and meaty tendrons de veau (breast of veal)  tossed with fresh pasta, carrots, and slivers of Parmesan cheese (perfect for a cold, rainy day in May!)  two women addressed us: “You’re Patricia Wells, and we are here because of The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris.” Indeed, the mother and daughter duo from Boston had just been to the Rodin museum, and as the guide and iPhone app suggest, this is a great address nearby. Owners Sylvain and Agnès Didier are gracious hosts and the food just gets better and better. Enjoy a sip of their white Quincy from the Loire and the fine, crusty baguettes from Boulangerie Secco right across the street.

36, rue de Varenne, Paris 7, Tel: +33 1 45 48 62 72, Métro: Rue du Bac or Sèvres-Babylone, à la carte 30€.

Open Monday through Friday 7:30AM to 10:30PM, Saturday 9AM to 8PM. Closed Sunday, holidays, and 2 weeks in August.

In good hands with David Toutain

David Toutain Gnocchi
David Toutain Gnocchi

David Toutain is a cerebral chef. Nothing is accidental and when you enter his brand new 7th arrondissement restaurant you are subject to his rules and his way of thinking. Yet you never feel as though your arm is being twisted. This is not a restaurant for a casual meal, but rather one that is meticulously planned and thought out, and begs for, yes deserves,  your attention. And it’s well worth your time.

Toutain, a farm boy from Normandy, appeared on the Paris scene like lightening a few years back at the wildly experimental Agapé Substance, and then disappeared almost overnight. I am so glad he is back.

The setting of the new restaurant on Rue Surcouf, seems at first somewhat of a contradiction. The sparse, cool space -- flooded with light from the floor-to-ceiling glass wall at the front of the restaurant -- feels relaxed, with its light wood and leather furnishings and minimalist décor. Yet the suited and formal service suggests a more serious approach to the dining experience. Immediately, this feels like a restaurant like none other.

As plate after plate arrives from the 68€ carte blanche menu, we are presented with flavors that explode in our mouth but do not overwhelm, as Toutain draws out the essential flavors of each and every ingredient. On the plate, he presents other-worldly creations, but in the mouth, flavors are familiar, calming, and even unusual combinations seem natural and obvious in his care.

Toutain’s ability to see new and interesting potential in ingredients makes him extremely unique – a bouillon of potato skins that smelled like someone walked past you with a dish of freshly baked potatoes, or Jerusalem artichokes transformed with a little sugar into an apple-like dessert. And who on earth would think of combining kiwi fruit with a raw oyster? And who would believe that, on the palate, the pairing would appear perfectly matched, totally sublime.

On one hand, this multi-course excursion can make your brain spin, even give you a headache. The food that comes from the hands of the boyish, mild-mannered Toutain reminds me of many meals I’ve experienced at the table of Pierre Gagnaire: the same cerebral attention, the same wildly experimental flash of genius, the same surprise and pleasure.

There is so much going on – porcelain, glass, cutlery that dazzle and beg for your attention – that a diner might lose sight of what is best about Toutain’s food. Each ingredient is impeccably chosen, each cooked to a perfection that makes me gasp. It’s as though he puts a camera lens on each ingredient and then blows it up, eeking the most honest flavor, texture, pleasure imaginable. He makes any oyster taste like the freshest, most delicious oyster you have ever tasted. He draws a new, welcoming seamless texture from a tiny cube of foie gras, turns what he calls gnocchi into a little pillow that melts in your mouth (photo). The meal is full of “why didn’t I think of that” combinations, like a sprinkling of freshly ground coffee beans at the edge of the plate, for dipping bites of exquisitely roasted pork.

To say that the 68€ menu is a bargain is an understatement. But for my money and time, I could have had a bit less food. And though I am not a huge fan of the no-choice surprise menu, I’ll put myself in Toutain’s hands any day. Service here is friendly and personal, and the wine list offers some real treasures. I loved the sommelier’s two wine recommendations: The Vincent Gaudry aromatic Sancerre was willing to serve as a quiet understudy to Toutain’s food, while Christophe Pichon’s 100% Syrah Saint Joseph was clean, spicy, and forceful. So go, sit back and enjoy, and don’t think too much – David has already done the thinking for you.

RESTAURANT DAVID TOUTAIN, 29 rue Surcouf, Paris 7. Tel: +33 1 45 50 11 10.Métro: Invalides or La Tour Maubourg. Open Monday-Friday. Closed Saturday & Lunch & dinner: 68 and 98€ menus (118 & 158€ with wine), 158€ seasonal truffle menu (210€ with wine) Reservations: recommended.

Le Tourette: Like a trip to Spain


Take a trip to this tiny, 22-seat bistro-cantine that looks, feels, smells, and tastes like Spain. It’s called Le Tourrette, a cheery, newly revived gathering spot dating from the 1920’s, a classic bistro that survived well into the 1980’s. Owner Olivier Mourin (also proprietor of the Ibérique Gourmet, a Spanish specialty shop nearby at 3, rue Paul Louis Courier) has garnered a band of Spanish specialists to offer diners an authentic Spanish treat. The silken, fragrant, delicate Ibérian ham is expertly hand cut paper-thin before your eyes, served with excellent pan con tomate, or crisp slices of baguette rubbed with both garlic and fresh red tomatoes. Bouqerones (classic Spanish vinegar-marinated anchovies) arrive glistening, layered on slices of grilled country bread, surrounded by gigantic cured caper berries and thin slices of yellow heirloom tomatoes. I loved the riz noir aux calamars (photo) a huge portion of wholesome rice seasoned with squid ink and flanked by moist, delicate, baby squid. The poulpe à la galicienne arrives as a colorful, paprika-dusted portion of steamed baby potatoes in their skins and bite-sized pieces of the most tender octopus. There are just 10 stools and a table d’hôte that seats 12. Everything here is generous, personal, and friendly.



70, rue de Grenelle

Paris 7

Tel: +33 1 45 44 16 05

MÉTRO: Rue du Bac or Sèvres-Babylone

OPEN: Lunch Monday through Friday. Dinner Friday and Saturday.

CLOSED: Dinner Monday through Thursday, and all day Sunday.

PRICES: Starters, 7 to 12€, main courses, 12 to 21€, Wines by the glass, 2 to 4€




Use your ID and go to ES: A treat in Paris

2013-10-09 13.03.34.jpg

Years ago, chef Joël Robuchon told me that his trips to Japan greatly influenced his own personal style of cuisine. He felt that the French and the Japanese shared a great sensibility and respect for food, showing special consideration for flavors, colors, textures, presentation. Today in Paris, diners can see how intensely Japanese-born chefs are responding to that shared awareness. Many --- like Akihiro Horihoshi at La Table d’Aki and Shinichi Sato at Passage 53 – have worked in some of the finest kitchens in Europe.  Chef Takayuki Honjo ---with a CV that includes Astrance, Noma, and Le Mugartiz – joins the club with his tiny, quiet, all-white, angelic, monastic dining room, ES, on rue de Grenelle on the Left Bank. The dining room staff includes an Italian, a French, a Japanese, making this an international scene. Taka’s food is beautiful in every sense of the word. I feel as though he has been immensely influenced by Pascal Barbot’s food at Astrance, just across the Seine. But he’s not a copycat. And his flavors are direct and forthright, not a slammer but a gentle tap. One of the best dishes sampled at his table was a roasted guinea fowl (pintade), teamed up with a delicate and colorful green pool of spinach cream, a shower of perfectly cooked autumn girolles (chanterelles), and the tiniest, most flavorful sautéed baby new potatoes, the size of an olive. But the crowning glory came in the way of a soothing hazelnut cream, applied like a palate knife to the plate, a nutty luxury that unified the entire dish. A creation triumphant in its simplicity and clarity of flavors. I would be proud to make and serve his caramelized codfish, and loved the idea of his cream of corn soup, flavored with a jasmine essence. Dessert almost hit the ball out of the park: A delicate, tiny meringue shell was filled a sweet, fruity poached peach, topped with a peach sorbet (too forcefully flavored with almond extract), and set in a pool of soothing, bright pink, peach jelly. Crusty country bread from baker Jean-Luc Poujauran, and wines from a favored winemaker, Simon Bize in Burgundy, all add to the pleasure.  The restaurant name is a translation of the Freudian “ID,” meaning, the component of personality at birth that is the source or our wants, desires, impulses, and drives. So use your “ID” and go to “ES.”

Restaurant ES

Modern French

91, rue de Grenelle,

Paris 7

Tel: +33 1 45 51 25 74

MÉTRO: Solferino.

OPEN: Tuesday to Saturday.

CLOSED: Sunday & Monday.

PRICE: 55€ fixed menu at lunch; 75€ and 105€ fixed menu weekday dinners. 105€ fixed menu Saturday dinner. No à la carte menu.

Claire Griffon, the new cheese gal in town


Early in December,  having worked for illustrious cheese merchants Marie-Anne Cantin and Laurent Dubois, the young Claire Griffon set off on her own, opening a jewel of a shop just steps from the Rue Cler market in the 7th. Even from the warm grey and white store front you feel a sense of calmness, care, and honor for the treasures inside. Each cheese is displayed with respect and attention, many sheltered beneath glass domes, carefully labeled, with larger cheeses cut into convenient serving sizes. If she has it in the boutique, try the perfumed tomme de montagne aux fleurs sauvages, a Swiss mountain cow’s milk cheese, the rind coated with dried mountain herbs and flowers, which infuse the very special cheese with fragrance and flavor. Equally fine is the goat’s milk pavé de Pontlevoy a fresh, clean, lactic cheese from the Loire.The shop will be happy to put together a cheese plateau, either seasonal or an assortment of more unusual cheeses, such as the tomme de montagne and a fourme d’Ambert seasoned with raisins and Sauternes.


23 bis avenue de la Motte Picquet

Paris 7

Tel : +33 1 45 50 14 85

Métro: Ecole Militaire

Open Tuesday-Saturday 9am-7 :30 pm. Closed Sunday & Monday.

La Table d'Aki: A one man show

Table d'Aki Ravioli de Langoustines 2 29 12

Akihiro Horikoshi brings new meaning to the phrase "one man show." His new, 16-seat restaurant has a single employee: Aki. He shops, he creates the menu, he cooks, he takes orders, he serves, he cleans up. And this is the way the Tokyo native wants it. He has been on his own at La Table d’Aki since January 10, having worked under the tutelage of Bernard Pacaud at the Michelin three-star L’Ambroisie since 1991. The spotless, tiny restaurant is bathed in light and white from head to toe, with a few flashes of red from the lamp cables that bring the room together in a quiet, festive way. His food, too – pure, simple, and sensational in an understated way  – is white. A giant. alabaster ravioli filled with sweet, fresh langoustines dotted with herbs arrives with a thin but potent meat sauce that makes the dish look like dessert (photo). A delicate, moist fricassée of chicken with carefully turned potatoes and baby onions tastes as though it was dropped from on high by the angels. The delicate lieu-jaune (Atlantic cod) is offset with the punch of a brunoise of celery root, all those precision-cut cubes, and a nice hit of capers. Dessert, all white again, arrives as silken crème brûlée, paired with an apple baked with a touch of cake inside, a pleasant surprise on the palate. At night, Aki cooks only fish. On the menu now, the freshest scallops from Brittany. The food has the Aki signature, as well as the echo of Pacauad’s sublime perfection. La Table d’Aki is a nice little new star in Paris’s ever-glistening sky.

LA TABLE D’AKI, 49 rue Vaneau, Paris 7. Tel: +33 1 45 44 43 48. Métro: Vaneau. Open: Tuesday-Friday. Closed  Sunday & Monday. Lunch & Dinner: A la carte 38-50€

Back in Paris, chez "Aida"

Chef Koji Aida’s evening procession of pure Japanese tastes is a mix of subtle and explosive maneuvers that arise from his steady hand and a magical teppanyaki grill. This austere retaurant set on a quiet 7th arrondissement street near the Bon Marché department store may not be for everyone. Some will find flavors too subtle, or will consider the ceremony more of a side show, even what some call “the Benihana experience.” But to my mind, lovers of pure Japanese food and artistry should do themselves a favor and reserve for an evening’s pleasure. The restaurant is small, with room for just nine at the counter, four in a private room, and two spots for tableside dining. There is a single, set menu that offers a steadied procession of creative, ultra-fresh offerings. In a single dinner, Aida manages to cover extensive ground, with fish, shellfish, meat, eggs and plenty of herbs, spices and vegetables woven into the combination. On my last visit we had a treasured spot at the bar, right in front of the spotless stainless steel griddle.  I will never forget – and will forever try to imitate – his plump, soft-cooked egg yolk set in a clear glass vessel (photo), topped with a seaweed and bonito broth laced with bits of black winter truffles. A beautiful work of art on its own, the dish offered lovely textures, mouth pleasures, color, aromas. Other favorite memories of the 11-course meal include a palate-opening tartare of veal and oysters bathed in tangy, golden bits of gelatin; and a stunning dish of mackerel rolled around a mound of sushi rice then wrapped in rectangles of nori. The chef deftly toasts the seaweed, then takes a blow-torch to the prepared rice and mackerel bundles, an explosive taste that was luxurious in the mouth. The meal has a clear rhythm, a “wow” taste followed by a subtle one. After the mackerel came a tiny taste of glistening, line-caught seabass (bar de ligne) escorted by a dab of freshly grated wasabi horseradish. Alongside, a bit of crunch and freshness came in the form of finely shredded cucumber and radish salad. Who would have thought to deep-fry a naked scallop, but here a duet of fried coquilles Saint-Jacques are sliced in half to display the scallop’s amazing progression of textures and colors, raw to crisply cooked. A simple mound of fleur de sel on the side served as a singular seasoning. Beef tenderloin – from none other than Paris’s star butcher Hugo Desnoyer – is seared on the hot griddle, then cut into bite-sized cubes and sauced ever so lightly. What should have been the star of the meal came out just a bit too dry for my palate: Aida worked like an orchestra leader constructing his showpiece, a studied mix of grilled lobster, lobster roe, sushi rice, eggs and gentle seasoning, all gathered into a perfect mound on the griddle and delivered to diners in the signature hand-crafted pottery. Nothing is left to chance here, and for some that may lack drama. I love the place, and after the finale, clementine sorbet with a touch of clementine puree, I walked out into the night feeling fresh and oh so light.

AIDA, 1 Rue Pierre-Leroux, Paris 7, Tel: +33 1 43 06 14 18 (call after 2 pm for reservations) Métro: Vaneau Open: Dinner only Monday-Friday. Closed Saturday & Sunday. (in French and Japanese) Email

Dinner: 160€ omakassé (tasting) menu (210€ truffle menu, in season)

Of fish and Basque fare

Fables de la Fontaines Tuna Tartare with Wasabi, Avocado and Mousse of Lemon and Kaffir Lime 7 11

Sébastien Gravé and David Bottreau are quite a duo. With Les Fables de la Fontaine, they’ve created a one-of-a-kind fish restaurant with a true personality. And you’ll feel as though you’ve hit the jackpot if you arrive on a warm, sunny day and dine on the compact terrace facing the fountain on Rue Saint-Dominique. (Though it would be nice if they could hide the garbage cans.) Thanks to Gravé’s Basque heritage, the menu is slanted towards specialities of France’s southwest, including a ttoro, or Basque fish soup. Here it arrives in its classic form  -- several varieities of fish and shellfish in a wine-based sauce, garnished with a spicy mayonnaise -- as well as a modern gelée version.

All manner of fish and shellfish are featured, from oysters and langoustines, to smoked eel, cod, turbot, sole, and maigre, a seasbass-like fish from the Atlantic. A starter of red tuna tartare was my kind of fare, with the wasabi-seasoned fish set on a soothing bed of avocado puree and topped with a delicate, bright-flavored mousse of kaffir lime (photo). Modern, refreshing, satisfying. The maigre was perfectly seared à la plancha and teamed up with seasonal white beans from Paimpol to the north, tossed with a touch of pesto from the south, and a Basque touch in the name of tender baby squid, or chipirons.My neighbor’s turbot – simply seared – looked fabulous, and I’ll be sure to seek that out on my next visit. Weekday lunches are well-priced, with a 30-euro special, that includes a glass of wine. With our terrace lunch we enjoyed Leon Beyer’s always dependable, bone-dry Riesling Les Ecaillers. The 2004 vintage could age for many more years, but we were happy to capture it now, with overtones of peach and lime, a perfect match for offerings on the Les Fables de la Fontaine menu. Note that the restaurant is open daily, and in August. I am eager to try their newest restaurant, Pottoka, a tiny, Basque-inspired quick-bite place around the corner at 4, rue de l'Exposition (Tel +33 1 45 51 88 38). Here, meat is the featured theme.

LES FABLES DE LA FONTAINE, 131, rue Saint Dominique, Paris 7.

Tel: +33 1 44 18 37 55. Métro: Ecole Militaire, La Tour Maubourg. Open daily 12:30 to 2:30 pm and 7:30 to 10:30 pm. Open in August. Weekday lunch menus at 30 and 35 euros with a glass of wine. Tasting menu at 90 euros. A la carte, 65 to 80 euros, not including wine.

Please, no more carrots, no more beets!!

Arpege 7 27 11

This was not the first time I was disappointed by Alain Passard. Decades ago I had to be dragged into his restaurant on Rue Varenne by enthusiastic acolytes. I wasn’t impressed. I kept going back and over the years a few dishes impressed : He was the first to introduce me to mustard ice cream and I have made it ever since. I have also been taken by his slow-cooked, top of the stove method of cooking meats, fish, poultry.  But anyone who serves langoustine carpaccio should be shot, for the essence of this voluptuous shellfish is in its cloudlike texture that emerges when cooked ever so slightly. I was a little skeptical when Passard went into veggie mode in 2001, for something about it did not seem quite sincere. But I am always willing to give a chef another try, and did so the other day. A big disappointment, once again. We sampled the 120 euro garden luncheon, and Passard turns out to be a real Johnny one note in the potager. I am known as the vegetable girl, so this should have been an easy win for him. In Provence, I grow everything he professes to love, and don't always succeed, but much of the time I do.  It is almost August and granted, not the best year in the vegetable garden, but at the lunch at Arpege course after monotonous, unimaginative course turned out a little more than I could bear of carrots, beets, turnips, onions. Dish after dish I kept waiting for Passard to finish the sentence. But he never did. I might have been in the hospital cafeteria or in a vegetarian cult restaurant of the 1970’s. Vegetables are the soul of the kitchen, but you need to be creative, add a touch of fat, protein, carbs like beans or rice as balance and to satisfy.   Wait ! Where are the tomatoes, basil, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tarragon, thyme, summer savory, sorrel, baby onions, all advertised on his web site ? They DO grown this time of year ! Tomatoes took a huge back seat, arriving as a bit of tomato water as a bath for vegetable ravioles, and as a dessert that tasted like Christmas, a whole sugary tomato stuffed with all manner of sweet, honey-like bits. Something has never rung true here, from the somewhat condescending service to the rather cold surroundings. I won’t be back. There are too many wonderful places in Paris to spend your money and have a fabulous time.

Arpege, 84, rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris. Tel: 01 47 05 09 06.

No thanks, Lily

Lily Wang Iberico Pork 7 11

I never like to tell readers where NOT to go. But this time I must. Don’t waste your hard-earned euros on a meal at Lily Wang, the trendy terraced Asian-style restaurant in a charming corner of the 7th arrondissment. I wanted to love it, really. There’s an honest terrace with a hedge of bamboo that can be heard rustling in the city’s breeze. Inside, a décor straight out of the postcard pretty Vietnamese village on Hoi An, with its vibrant display of paper lanterns. And the menu is appealing, dim sum and Shanghai dumplings, Iberico pork (photo), salt and pepper shrimp, and a green vegetable trio of broccoli, snow peas, and asparagus. Alas, 168 euros poorer and barely sated, we left wondering what this place was all about. Food no better than any Parisian Vietnamese carryout. Rubbery pork dumplings, dipping sauces that tasted like ketchup, tasteless shrimp, and pork so fatty as to be inedible. Vegetables totally limp, overcooked, and underseasoned. Add to that the diffident service. Sorry, Lily, I won’t be coming back again.

LILY WANG, 40, avenue Duquesne, Paris 7. Telephone +33 1 53 86 09 09. Open daily. Metro: Saint-Francois Xavier. A la carte, 70 euros.

Oysters with Olivia

Oysters with Olivia

A memorable, rollicking,  and boisterous lunch today with actress and Parisian Olivia de Havilland (age 94 and loving every moment of life)  enjoying champagne, briny  oysters from Utah Beach, and a few sips of Pouilly Fumé from the Loire Valley. We talked of present moments, old times,  and times to come, enjoying it all with my 89-year-old friend Maggie Shapiro and the young Jeannie Fellowes. In the background is Stéphane, who comes in from Normandy each weekend  with his oysters. Next weekend is the last weekend for oysters at our favorite oyster spot, Brassierie Aux PTT, 54 rue Cler, Paris 7. +33 1 45 51 94 96. Métro: Ecole-Militaire (line 8).

Yes, rules of the games

Regle de Jeu Carpaccio 2 11

Put on your highest heels,  your tightest and shortest black dress, your biggest diamond studs and reserve a table at Règle de Je(u), the newest table of Jean-Francois Piège, ex-Crillon, les Ambassadeurs, Louix XV, and Plaza Athenée. Don’t rush to put on those heels for you may have to wait in line for a table at this tiny, 20-seat dining room.  But the wait is worth it. Pretty much.

Piège, like so many major French chefs before him, starting with Joel Robuchon, decided to ditch the suffocating Michelin Three Star drama and make himself up. He shed some pounds, made up his own space, and recreated what he calls a restaurant. Bravo! I am all for it, though we as diners pay a little price in the experiment. Nothing is perfect. But before I go into detail, I have to say that Piège’s food is some of the prettiest and most ethereal I have tasted in a long time and I can’t wait to dig deeper into his repertoire.  

Days later I still have great memories of the dreamy lunch at his table. The restaurant is called Règle de Je(u) or Rules of the Game, with a play on words that easily translates at Rules of My Game. It’s unique. The place, a Hollywoodesque setting on the second floor with an unsigned speakeasy-like entrance on the Rue Saint-Dominique may not be for everyone. You’re seated at plush banquettes, the waitstaff is as slim and tall (and as accommodating) as they come, and there is no menu, just a list of ingredients of the day. You choose as many as you wish, by price. That day’s list of ingredients included Caviar, Coquilles Saint-Jacques, Langoustines, Bar de Ligne, Boeuf, Ris de Veau. 1 ingredient is 70 euros, 2 ingredients 90 euro, 3 ingredients 115 euro, and 3 ingredients with wine, 165 euro. Not cheap.

But each menu includes a generous and beautiful selection of starters, and of course dessert. The wine list is as extensive as any palate, expertise, or budget could imagine.  

So what did we eat and what did we love? Best taste of the day was his huge serving of langoustines with a pungent and delicious kaffir lime-based sauce paired with a rectangle of and perfectly seared foie gras. Fabulous and gorgeous. Equally flavorful and beautiful was the carpaccio of beef with a criss-cross of parmesan cream (PHOTO). A delight!   

I was much less enthused by the beautiful but bland sea bass paired with wild mushrooms and the seared beef from Chili that, I am sorry, was nicely cooked but so tough as to be inedible.

But I applaud Piège’s  ability to create a new idea of what a restaurant can be. Piège seems relaxed and at home, working the room with smiles, in blue-jean casual, with a clientele that seems happy and at home. To be continued!

Règle de Je(u), Jean-Francois Piège, 79, rue Saint-Dominique, Paris 7. Telephone: +33 1 47 05 36 96

Auguste, no thanks!

Auguste Cannelloni

Gaël Orieux is certainly one of the darling Parisian chefs of the moment, with press and accolades all over. He’s been on my “to try” list for a few years and I finally found a moment to take a seat at his table. I am excited that he introduced me to MrGoodfish, an incredible European program working to promote sustainable fish and shellfish. Take a look at their website I only wish that a recent lunch had lived up to the chef’s fanfare and reputation.

Though the welcome at Auguste is warm and service impeccable, what happened in the kitchen and on the plate was simply not convincing. A first course celery root “cannelloni”  stuffed generously with crab meat, set  in a brilliant  green  coriander puree, adorned with a line of pungent tomato sauce and flanked with smooth, moist slices of Italian charcuterie was delicious (photo) and I plan to recreate it at home. But there seemed to be something amiss in the strange main course of sea bass that was limp, almost shredded and resmbling no sea bass I know. The sad and tasteless fish was set in a mushy bed of pumpkin puree and simply left me without an appetite. Another first course combination of oysters,  horseradish, and andouille also seemed terribly misguided and without a clear direction. For a man who makes claims to pristine, fresh fish and shellifsh, he simply did not deliver.  The brief wine list is excellent and I have no complaints about the golden, close to perfect Vougeot 1er cru 2007 we sampled, decently priced at 75 euros. But all in all, too expensive and not enough “wow” to make me want to return.

Auguste, 54, rue de Bourgogne, Paris 7. Tel : +33 1 45 51 81 09. Closed Saturday and Sunday. 35-euro lunch menu. A la carte, about 100 euros per person, not including wine.