It was mid-afternoon when we finished with our visit to the Fondation Louis Vuitton (previous post) and feeling a bit peckish, we decided to head to the colorful 9th arrondissement or Pigalle for a bite to eat at Buvette. The Paris outpost of the New York restaurant of the same name, the idea that an American would be cooking in Paris just didn’t seem as outrageous as it might have 20 years ago. In fact, it was extremely cool to head to an American (or Japanese, or English) run restaurant in the heart of the gastronomic capital (or so they think) of the the world.
To say postage stamp sized restaurant would be an exaggeration, but honestly, not by much. This couldn’t have had a customer seating area of more than 30-35 square meters or so, and when full, I imagine a (sitting and standing room) crowd of say 60+ cramming their way into this charming gastrotheque… which I gather is a place where you can drink and get some decent food to boot — it’s a term coined by the owner of Buvette.
We still had some jet lag, and despite a huge breakfast of roast chicken, potatoes and a tomato salad just hours before, we decided to order three things for lundin (lunch/dinner) that really wasn’t more than a merienda as we ate a full dinner later that night!
We had a chilled lentil salad with mashed potatoes and smoked trout that was DELICIOUS! So good in fact I attempted a version last Christmas with tinapang bangus and mashed potatoes on Puy lentils dressed with sherry vinegar and olive oil. Our server, who was serving practically the entire room, was brusque in that she was harried, but really helpful and welcoming nonetheless.
I couldn’t resist a small plate of perfectly poached leeks smothered in mustard vinaigrette. One of the best renditions I have had lately. It’s a pretty easy dish to do, but you so often find sub-standard versions of it are bistros and other restaurants. This was scrumptious!
Finally, Mrs. MM had a Brandade au Morue or bacalao or salt cod with potatoes served with toasted bread. This was okay, we ate most of it, but it was the least favorite of the three dishes.
Perhaps the best surprise of the afternoon stop was spying this bottle behind the bar that was clearly used… some Don Papa rum from Negros! I have featured this rum before and offer it for sale in our restaurants, and felt a tinge of pride to have a Philippine made product amongst the items on the bar!
My apologies for the horrific photos, I was djahe to take more, it was that small of a place. You may want to read David Leibovitz post on Buvette, here. With two glasses of white wine, the three medium sized dishes, the total bill came out to a rather reasonable Euro44 for two people.
If you are visiting Paris, and want some good food without a super fancy setting or having to make reservations, head to Buvette mid-afternoon like we did and order several dishes off their small but tempting menu. This was just the first of several dining experiences on this most recent trip to Paris that really made us sit up and notice some good changes afoot in the City of Lights!