7.1 Le Bistro Volnay at 8 rue Volney was reported to have recently changed chefs, bringing in Shimpeï Oïe from Stella Maris, but our gracious hostess, Delphine Alcover, who with Magalie Marion, oversees it as well as opening a new place (Les Jalles) around the corner at 14, rue des Capucines Wednesday, updated those reports, saying he wasn't totally new to the kitchen, perhaps intending to reduce any fears I might have about radical revolutions at the piano. No sweat. The place still looks lovely with its 1932 lights over the bar, deep interior and bright ambiance.
For starters, Colette had the petit pois soup, Elan the salmon confited with citrus fruit, Paga the foie gras with dried fruit chutney and I the pigs' feet, parmesan and cured ham; all were great although if there was a winner it was the salmon.
Then, the ladies both had the rable de lapin special, Paga had the pigeon and I the tourte of duck Rouenaisse with foie gras: this time the pigeon scored, being one of the best any of us has ever had.
For desserts we had from top to bottom, the rice pudding, soup of strawberries, chocolate tart and Grand Marnier souffle; and I be hard-pressed to pick one above any other.
The wine? Yes the wine. Now, I am known to the house, having eaten here some half-dozen times, but I didn't realize my wine perversion was so widely understood: when handing me the wine list, the woman acting as sommeliere in the absence of the two principals, suggested a Gaillac Syrah from Robert & Bernard Plageoles and I immediately ripped it out of her hands expecting an astronomical price - but no, she had found Waldo at 22 E a bottle, and she was right, it went perfectly with our meal.
The bill, with two bottles of wine, no bottled water and three coffees, was 214.50 E or 107.25 E a couple.
Go? Certainly, and not only that, if it isn't over-booked due to the big boys' rave reviews, in two weeks time I'll be going to their new place around the corner, which Ms. Alcover invited us to inspect after lunch. It looked pretty nifty, with the chefs working away in the semi-open kitchen.