*September 2004 I wrote:
Gael Greene eating in a place with a “Turkish toilet?” But yes, at the Bistrot Paul Bert, 18, rue Paul Bert in the happening 11th, 01.43.72.24.01. It’s been well-received in both Pariscope and Figaroscope and is open Saturdays, so it was a logical choice. There’s a menu-carte, menu=26 E, formula a bit less, 18 E I think; I had girolles and cepes in parsleyed butter which were divine and a wonderful incredibly delicious dense coffee granité with chantilly for dessert. For my main I ordered the aile de raie with white beans fully aware that it was not the classic vinegar/chives/etc. preparation and therefore, my less than ecstatic response is tempered by an urge to return to try the rest of the carte. My bill was 48 E.
Sometimes it takes me a while to get smart. And this time** it took my friend Atar to suggest we go back, he having been several times since ’04 and both of us quite liking their bivalve/fish offshoot l’Ecailler du Bistrot next door.
What’s different?; well - no Turkish toilet, menu’s gone from 26 to 34 € and waitstaff I didn’t recognize. Otherwise pretty much the same.
Four of ordered:
I had the 3-course menu with terrific sautéed small cuttlefish with bits of confited lemon - which 75% of the table ( I among them) thought were a great idea; then veal liver that I ordered blue (“you mean you really want it blue, that means it’s hardly cooked?” – “Yes”) but served more like saignant with mashed potatoes with olives and chives within; and finally poached cherries with a flat tuile and ice cream – all very good – a come back meal for 34 € (wines start at 18 €).
Atar had the special, also itself 32 €, the beef filet with fries, that ironically, this week’s l’Express said were the best in any bistro in Paris save at Severo. I liked both a lot.
The ladies, unfortunately, had the bland barbue (brill if that helps) with girolles in garlic butter that none of us were stunned by. Each was 33 €.
With coffee, two bottles of Gamay-tasting but 13% wine and no bottled water our bill came to 180 € for four.
Come back? You bet, me, not sure about the ladies with just one so-so fish dish available.
** My last meal was June 21st fully paid for.