7.9 La Cantine de La Cigale, 124 Blvd de Rochechouart in the 18th (Metro: Pigalle) is the fourth creation of Christian Etchebest, he of Le Troquet, La Cantine du Troquet and La Cantine du Troquet Dupleix, all of which I've loved and so when it was announced that he was taking over this venerable spot, I was Johnny-on-the-spot. The interior is a mixture of a music-hall (think the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Charles Trenet, Johnny Winter, Bonnie Tyler - oh you're all too young!); an homage to Greek tragedy/comedy; and a modern besides-the-theater cafe/cantine with a giant screen to show Etchebest's beloved Basque ruggers matches. And even though you cannot read the chalkboard, it had double the offerings of his prior ventures.
We started off with some classics - 2.5 oeufs Mayo (which my pal declared had the true Mayo made today), piggies ears not crisp but plenty and plenty good and a bottle of very acceptable red Graves.
We went on to an onglet cooked "Bleu" in red wine which was indeed bleu as opposed to mine at Les Provinces yesterday, showing that some waitfolk and cooks know how and something I've never seen - Giant Sardines from the Midi cooked with tomatoes, olives and carrots - delicious. We both got Freedom Fries which I improved immensely by asking for vinegar - not Malt mind you, just ordinary.
Then my friend, a guy I really liked 'til he abandoned me to marry a fair lass in Brighton last year, and I were discussing with passion what we would share for dessert, and ordered the mirabelle tarte and our 6 foot plus much more tall black waiter who understood and spoke English better than we said - "watch out for the pits." A huge portion arrived and it too was wonderful.
The bill, ah the bill. Well, I'd greeted Chef E. on sitting down and chatted him up later complimenting him on the food and joking that I'd see him tonight on Masterchef, mistakeningly thinking it was on tonight (Monday) not Friday. quelle gaffe. In any case, he forgave my stupidity and treated us to the desserts and coffees. So our bill came (without those charges) but with 11 E more for some Madiran we had while talking and catching up, to 81 E.
Go? Silly, silly readers - 7.9 on the Richter/Talbott Scale? Run. And don't worry about the 81.9 dB level d/t trucks, buses and assorted vehicles on the street.