6.6 Le Verre Moutarde, 145, rue de Saussure in the 17th, 01.42.27.35.55, closed weekends (Metro: hummm, Wagram) is hidden behind the cleaning structures that Haussmann called for every decade to cleanse Paris' face, a law that wasn't implemented until the 1960's. However, one enters to a full salle, turning tables over as businessmen come in, have the two-course, wine and coffee formula at 13.90 E and exit. The tables are set with mustard pots and glasses for kids circa 1940 that they either picked up for 10 cents or 10 euros apiece.
We looked at both the 13.90 and 29.50 E menus and decided to try almost everything.
Our resident sculptor had the ceviche of crevettes marinated in lime with a guacamole of avocado and mango (the chef is Columbian but has spent time under the banner of Gordon Ramsay and Joel Robuchon); and Madame, the chefesse in our party, "had" to test the formula and was very taken by the "salad" of crevettes in an artistic mound, which once warmed up a bit, were splendid; and I got a most unusual presentation of escargots with garlic cream and pepper coulis - at this point we all three knew we were in the hands of someone with vision and daring.
Then Madame had the very rosé duck (which they apologized for giving her a magret rather than the advertised cutlet) and was she and weren't we happy; Monsieur had a Thai Bo Bun that had enough shaved vegetables and rice noodles for a week; and I had the only clunker of the meal (because I can tell when lamb is not milk-fed but trending towards mutton) a slice of gigot with 24-hour sauce - it's my fault, I should have asked - "Pascal or not?" But I didn't.
Our desserts (shared three ways) were just as inventive and interesting as the other dishes - what was called a pain perdu with caramel but was really a new sort of innovation of the chefs and a cool young grenadine/strawberry jelly with pineapple ice cream - equally new to me and us.
Go? My glory be, you need to ask? - between the inventive chef and our two really pleasant, almost manic owner-hosts Christophe and Mathieu, who from the cards scattered about seemed to have passed through the doors of L'Avant Gout, L'Ecole Buissonniere and L'Escargot in Puteau (two of my top meals in 2012), we had the most unexpectedly interesting meal of the year.