4.7** Le Dodin de Mark Singer, 42, rue des Acacias in the 17th (Metro: Argentine), 01.43.80.28.54, closed Sundays and Mondays is an upper-scale recreation (complete with voiturier) of his resto in the 19th and was drooled over by none other than the Pudlo himself.
Let me start with a declaration of my prejudices (that is pre-judgments):
+ This site (the ex-Petit Colombier) is where I held my never-to-be-forgotten 60th birthday party in their private room on Etage 2.3,
+ I desperately want to see Yanks do well in Paris, from Daniel Rose to Braden and Laura to the brash newbies at l'Office from Del Posto.
- My beloved game resto - Le Petit Colombier - is gone forever, alas,
- Mark Singer was never consistent at the old Eric Frechon location in any of its (I figure) 3 formulas/incarnations he tried.
So -2 +2 = 0 right? No prejudices/pre-judgments.
I enter and am seated and note M. Singer talking to three customers of my young age in what my tin ear perceives to be pretty flawless French - impressive. Madame my eating partner enters later than I was was late due to (oh you don't want to hear about dsk, the banks/Euro failing, light-bulbs blowing out and wonderful painter) circumstances.
There's a nice looking 35 E 3-course menu which compared to the prices on the carte, that quickly add up to the 60's and 70's, was what we wanted. The Jerusalem artichoke soup amuse was quite decent but the bread quite dreadful.
Her Essau lentil soup with floated bacon was alright and my terrine of bunny with chopped veggies equally OK; so far, no fireworks.
Now we come to the mysterious muddy middle (and not just because of the herky-jerky photo). Her dish was described as pork gnocchisotto - so me, practicing my Italian for tomorrow's trip to Bologna, superciliously says to the waitguy - since sotto means low/under, "the pork is under the gnocchi right?" (Meanwhile Madame is wildly semaphoring - "Jerk, it's a play on words - he means a risotto.") "No" says the waiter "it's like a risotto." Except it wasn't. It was gnocchi - look at the blurry pix. Score one for the Bologna FC Calcio. And my dish of a panache of poisson with lobster was, how shall I say it nicely?, oh, come on John, out with it, well it was awful/tasteless/yuck, there.
Now we come to the high part of my meal. But first, Madame's apple tart with ice cream. Hummmm. OK. But my white chocolate thing was divine, saving the day, leaving me with a great taste in my mouth, sending me off to FNAC in a fine state of mind. So Mark, if I run into you in a dark alley some night, remember this nice comment I made.
Our bill, with a bottle of sparkling water, bottle of cheapo wine and two coffees, was 106.50 E.
*Apologies to George M. Cohan, he of "Over There," written in 1917, but I'm not going "over there" again.
**4.7 You think these numbers are pure baloney don't you?, well, just you wait until my essay on the subject of the dismalest science of ratings comes out in living technicolor January 10th. Can't wait? Tough.