5.0 Willi's Wine Bar, 13 rue des Petits-Champs in the 1st, 01.42.61.05.09 (Metro:Pyramides) declares on its front window that it's been open for 30 years and Mr. Williamson (disclosure) wrote me a nice note many years ago inviting me to drop by. I read somewhere recently that it had a new chef so I used that as an excuse to inveigle one of my seeming 100 friends from San Francisco who lives here to go today. It's a great looking place with goofy pastel lettering sitting smack across from the Bibliothèque nationale de France and featuring (Pudlo says) 200 wines. Well a lot of them were crossed off and the number under 30 E was pretty slim.
We started off with two hard-to-screw-up firsts: sliced artichoke hearts with salad and an egg on top and three gambas on top of minced vegetables half of which (on one side) were warm and half were cold (a most strange sensation). Then we made the classic error of both ordering the same main course, which meant that we really didn't test the chef and kitchen's mettle; the pintade was nice enough although not classicly prepared but more like a cabbage stew, the wild mushrooms were there but the aftertaste was entirely one of cabbage, cabbage and more cabbage.
It was filling, however, and we declined dessert. Our bill, with a bottle of Spanish Penedes Tempranillo, one coffee, OK bread and no bottled water, was 87.20 E.
Go? Boy, you've got me there. Everybody, especially the posters on English-language food websites, loves it and maybe we hit it on an off day, but I can't be as enthusiastic.