Aux Verres de Contact, the new trendy cave a manger, is sited at 52 blvd St-Germain on the corner of the Rue de Bièvre where I'm told Francois Mitterrand used to hang out at the then-Restaurant Vartan. But when my date and I showed up it was dark with an ominous bunch of back-hoes, dug-up sidewalks and a hand-lettered sign saying "Closed exceptionally due to power cut-off." "Plan B." But I had no plan "B"; maybe Atlas Gourmet or Le Reminet or the Rotisserie de Beaujolis; first closed, tramp to other two. And, on our way we passed two intriguing looking places - 1st one's door open only to air it out, but the second looked promising despite being in tourist central.
5.9 Beaurepaire (de Stephane), 1, rue de la Bucherie in the 5th, 01.43.29.73.57, closed Sunday and Monday nights, has apparently been open just about a year and we did something I shudder at when friends tell me they "were walking by and stopped because it looked so nice, so we went." Shocking.
She had the divine-looking and divine-tasting sliced green asparagus in a zippy butter-cream sauce and I stared at my Basque pate from Jean Haget which was straight out of a tin which tin sat there full of cornichons; well, I was screwed, clearly, how could I be so dumb, so naive, so.......wait a minute, on the terrific toast it was spiced heaven, oh my!
We had ordered a lamb chop, rare and a very, very, very rare, almost blue slice of veal liver with Balsamic sauce and we waited and waited and waited for them to come. When they did the waitlady said to me "here's your very, very, very rare, almost blue" dish and to her just set it down. We bit into our respective dishes - hers was very, very, very rare, almost blue and mine over-cooked - whoops; half-way-through we essentially swapped and were both happy. BTW the room temperature puree of zucchini with herbs and warm puree of cauliflower and parmesan accompaniments were also wonderful.
Finally there was one miss - her strawberry cake was not much of a much but I tried to compensate by liberally sharing my fine chocolate mousse that was gold standard.
With a bottle of their house red (a never-heard-of-it Cote de Thongue L'Arjolle Cab-Merlot mix from Pouzolles in the middle-of-nowhere Languedoc), 2 Illy coffees and no bottled water, our bill was 101 E for two.
Go? Boy, if you have friends who want to plotz and eat after a tiring climb up the Notre Dame Tower - this is the place; even if not, it's a gem in the middle of tourist-trap heaven.