5.6 Frederic Simonin, 25, rue Bayen in the 17th (Metro: Ternes), 01.45.74.74.74, closed Sundays and Mondays, opened only three weeks ago and already it's garnered good marks from the critics and my pals/sources, albeit all have said that while the 38 E lunch is "adorable," the carte at 60-90 E is "vindictive" (Rubin.) One friend/chef told me straight out it was a poor prix-qualite, esp compared with Regalade.
So it wasn't as if I went with my eyes wide shut. Indeed from the front one sees almost no indication of what it is and on entering I was struck with the stark metal decor, bordering on cold and sterile. (And I smelled paint again, do I have olfactory hallucinations?)
Our amuse was a shot glass of pureed foie gras, quite nice.
I had warned my critic-friend that no matter what, we were ordering the "menu" and the "Waldo" of wines and luckily both were acceptable to us both - the carte the day we ate there ranged from the most cheap (57 E) to the most precious (110 E).
I started with a pretty good petit-pois soup poured from a cool, giant beaker while his layered egg and mushroom mush appeared in an equally cool two-piece glass holder. So far so good. Begin to think Colette might like this place.
I have ris and rognons de veau with asparagus tips in a quite good sauce, OK, but no barns are burning down; while he had a piece of barbue (brill), also quite well cooked but not spectacular. I'm beginning to think while good, this place lacks something.
I then had a pineapple clafoutis with ice cream and he had the strawberries with a basil ice in the same two-piece glass thing he got for his entree. Now I think I've got it. The food, is, like the decor, expensive, well-done but lacks passion/warmth.
With coffee (generously doubled and offered ristretto, cappucino, etc, by our Italian wait-guy), the house water and a bottle of wine, our bill was 108.20 E.
Go? Well, if it's any hint, I decided not to make a reservation for Colette's next visit. There was nothing wrong, I can see where the 3 hearts or 3 dots come from, but I personally much prefer Doucet's passion to Simonin's rectitude.