5.6 L'Essentiel, 168 rue d'Alesia in the 14th, 01.45.42.64.80, open 7/7, (Metro: Plaisance) has great origins: Olivier Gaslain of Villaret and Rudy Marton, formerly at the Bistrot des Soupirs « Chez les On ». And its cool exterior is matched by cool wall chalk drawings and a cool metal frame over a big (maybe 8 or 10) common table.
And the prices are right: 17 E for a three course "menu" at lunch even on weekends, wines starting at 17 E a bottle and even wild duck and hare for no more than 15 or 16 E. Colette took one look at the "menu", saw riz au lait and that was that.
So she started with the Jerusalem artichoke and chestnut soup; while our two invitees had rillettes of rabbit and a terrine of wild boar; and I had rognons blancs with a spicy sauce and salad (now I had to ask our genial host what rognons blancs were - at which point he pointed with both hands to his kidneys then dropped them to his crotch - ah, prarie oysters.) All 4 dishes were very good and very filling.
Then Colette had the breast of chicken with creamed leeks; two of us had the thigh of hare cooked in red wine and with lots of veggies, including most succulent mushrooms; and the other the female pheasant with cabbage. Now here's where Colette and I had some difficulty finishing so much hardy food; so doggy-bags were summoned.
But she didn't have so much that she missed out on her specialty - rice pudding - and our guests shared the creme tendre (really a pot) of chocolate with warmed poundcake, that the female side of, being a pastry chef, commented on most favorably.
Go? On a cold day, for hardy food, well cooked, at reasonable prices, you bet.