5.0* Bagatelle aka Les Jardins de Bagatelle, official address 42 route de Sèvres à Neuilly in the Bois de Boulogne, real address southwestern edge of the Bagatelle Gardens, in the 16th, open 7/7 12 AM - 6 PM, but also open for real dinner between friends Sunday night to Friday lunch, telephone: well, that's a problem, they list 01.40.67.98.29 and 01.40.67.16.49, but neither are terribly eager to respond so I actually schlepped over from the Jardin d'Acclimation last week to reserve. On the other hand, give them credit for calling me at 9h30 this AM to warn me that they were anticipating bad weather and sitting outside would discomfit me and because two parties were booked inside I might be in serious doo-doo, did I want to reschedule? (I looked at the meteo: prediction 20% rain, radar: awful - so a crap shoot eh?).
When I entered, the din from the terrace was really loud, but nice loud, with middle-agies, youngies and infants schmoozing and mingling around having drinks and salmon, salami, etc. served flawlessly by a huge waitstaff. To my right was a room of oldies and less-oldies, who except for a song from a black-tee-shirted guy apparently singing from his and their native repetoire were very sober in their celebration. The terrace emptied (a few restless kids continued to play games in the garden), the private room was served, and the level of contentment rose everywhere.
I hadn't eaten here in 20 maybe 25 years and the carte was rather ungroundbreaking but much more pricy than I recalled then (about 70-100 E for 3 courses). So DEEFense, right? First, gaspacho with crunchy minced vegetables and an awful cheese stick; Colette woul'a died; it was nuttin'. Then an entrecote (blue as ordered), standard, with an exceptional shotglass of "its sauce" and quite good allumette potatoes if I do say so.
So what's the deal here John? Well let's do my friend Richard's exercise:
Pluses: Fantastic setting, reasonable food and a clientele of all French folks of all ages except for 4 Amuricans of the "don't let the gov'ment take my money-type."
Minuses: Just reasonable food, so-so bread and pricy prices.
The bill: Oh oh, how do I explain this to Colette when the Visa bill comes in? With 1/2 bottle of wine (24 E), two courses and coffee = 73.40 E.
Go? Hummmm. For a special event in a special place for not terribly special food OK.
*The right time - sunny and warm - the right place - a big bunch for lunch.