7.0 Garance 2012, 34, rue St-Dominique in the 7th, open weekdays, 01.45.55.27.56 (Metro: Invalides) is so cool outside with its gun metal sign with a splash of red, its open kitchen with a rough wood counter for about 6 customers, looking into the kitchen. The grey stone staircase leads up to a lovely dining area with perhaps 24 covers at tables and 6 at the bar.
There is a 34 E for 3 course menu at lunch (50-60 E a la carte for dinner). The Master of the Room, Guillaume Muller shook my hand like he truly remembered me from my last visit to L'Arpege 20 years ago and Guillaume Iskandar at the piano chatted up one of our company like he truly remembered her more recent visit, and ours, to Septime not so long ago.
They started us off with two amuse-gueules, slices of cured ham with marinated microtomed beets and tiny radishes, and a warm mini-brioche with a soft white cheese and basil-EVOO sauce. We began with a wine that only a sommelier like Guillaume M. and I could love - named Syrah de Papa. (Actually one of us had arrived an hour early and they plied her with a fresh tangerine juice, bottled water and white wine to keep her occupied.)
Two of us started out with the soup of mushrooms with petit roses and huge chunks of smoked farm pork and the other two had pink trout, crisp leeks and a horseraddish sauce - delicious both.
At this point we were inundated by what we ordered and what came with it including one dish intended for the table next to us (hey the staff has been at it only 2-3 weeks); in any case they included a lovely lotte with a "zambiglione" of beurre noisette, veal with potatoes and an anchovy paste (I didn't think they "played well together"), the pigeon special with its legs served separately and slightly later and two dishes of veggies of various fall-winter sorts and pied de porc raviolis which we treated as "family style" dishes. Delectable.
We passed on the cheese (+11 E) and one of us had a dessert which was included but the other three could not manage shoving it down the gullet.
On the way out we all utilized the bathroom which is an astronaut's dream; the toilet seat raises on entry, there's a control panel worthy of the Mars Lander and the toilet flushes automatically.
The sound level (which Colette insists I take out of my title line) was deafening (85.5dB) at the start with the room full, but after everyone had cleared out about 3PM, we could actually talk among ourselvers.
Our bill, let's just play it safe without the hour delay and supplements and say that for a couple with two lunches, two coffees and a bottle of "Papa" one gets out only 94 E lighter.
Go? Oh ho, you think I'm not going back soon?