5.9 Racines (2), 39 de l'Arbre Sec in the 1st (Metro: Louvre-Rivoli), 01.42.60.77.34, closed weekends, opened last October and my intelligence and instincts warned me off going. I passed it a lot on my way to & fro Spring and the Boutique and liked the exterior and open kitchen. But then I kept seeing nice reviews appearing every few months, a distinct reversal of everybody going the first week. So I figured, what have I got to lose?
Nothing it turns out. The "menu" is a very reasonable 29 E for 3 courses, but a la carte we're dealing with double that, and that's before liquids. But I rather liked the "menu" and so in the absence of my planned eating pal, I plunged in.
My first was a tete de cochon with a ravigote sauce which had salt added to it, overpowering the cornichons and capers which (of course) were already salty, but with a deft swipe of the knife I resolved that problem; the main consisted of 4 slices of a perfectly cooked duck breast with a ton of vegetables which I knew from my first visit to the original Racines was its hallmark; and my finale was a chocolate mousse with grilled nuts. All were much above average and looking at my rating from February 2008 of Racines the First of 5.7, an improvement.
Any issues here? Well, when they turn the vacuum/extractor on - it sounds like you're stuck in a Boing test lab; I don't like the huge high common table (which I was not at luckily); and the clientele is weird, featuring everyone from TV-stars to what shall I call them, rich-looking administrators of chest-enhanced young ladies, parked illegally outside without a whisper of trouble.
Go? On the odd chance Spring has a power failure, you could do worse.