May 25th I said:
“A little gem, barely found, but for how long?
5.5 Le Gaigne, 12, rue Pecquay in the 4th, 01.44.59.86.72, closed Tuesday – thus open Saturday, Sunday on Mondays, hooray! Let me start with the young chef – Mickael Gaignon – who’s passed through the shops of the Pre Catalan, Gagnaire and Gaya; he may be young but he’s got it. And his wife Aurelie is terrific in the front room. When I entered (coming off this dingy street in nowheresville to find tables decorated with young live herbs) and realized it was just the two of them (plus a kitchen aide/plongeur) for 20 covers, I worried that they could never get the food out promptly, but they did, meanwhile turning away people who drifted by and saw the reviews by E Rubin et al in the window. I was worried about the “brunch on Sunday” note in Figaroscope, but the chef insisted that they served the full weekly menu too. And they did with no cancellations or substitutions. For this tiny and new a place, they served an amuse-bouche - of real vichyssoise – I haven’t had it so good in years. Then I had terrific small cromesquis morsels of morue, thankfully not called brandade, that were crisp outside and melting inside, with forceful watercress sprigs and puree. The bread is worth commenting on, not crusty, but dense with a moist wheaty flavor, quite, quite good. My main was/were a divine farm chicken served two ways; a sliced breast with a delicious herb/cream sauce and rollatine bits atop young green stuffed cabbage. I had no dessert but a terrific Molongo coffee with fine marshmallows. Coda: there’s a funky pink light in the bathroom and a funky tin milk pail instead of a wash basin (someone has a good sense of humor.) The bill = 42 € with two glasses of wine – but other days, the menus are 16 and 22 and wines begin at 14 €.
Go? Yes, this guy knows what he’s doing. He’ll be moving into bigger space eventually for sure, with higher prices, so go soon.”
Not much changed from my last visit until today* except the amuse gueule was a little croque of lentils with ham and a slice of fine sausage atop, the wheaty bread was replaced by Banette and there were no marshmallows with the coffee.
Since there were four of us we stretched the menu out a bit; for a starter I had an heirloom tomato and other squashed veggies in a pastry crust much like the veggie terrine I had at the Bistrot 121 forty years ago; my male friend had the tete de veau and Madame the warm veggies, both of which were just fine.
Then two of us had the chicken, made as it was last time with forcemeat inside cabbage pockets; one had the lamb special and Colette had a rouget – all were quite happy. Finally we had a moelleux that had apricot pieces inside – good idea; one had rhubarb and two folks exotic fruits.
With two bottles of perfectly light and chilled red Loires, two coffees and no bottled water we were out for 194 € for the four of us.
Go back. Colette said sure, even on a non-Sunday.
*Last visit June 22, 2008, fully paid for.