5.5 Blue Valentine, 13, rue de la Pierre Levee in the 11th, 01.43.38.34.72, closed Mondays and Tuesdays and brunch on weekends, (Metro and bus: you're on your own; walk, it's good for you) has been open since mid-November and gotten rave comments, especially regarding its charming owners/servers, its "hot" cocktail scene and Mandarin Oriental-trained chef Saito Terumitsu. I entered a few seconds before my two invitees from the 15th and scoped out the menu and 6-choice wine carte. My male friend took one look at the lunch "menu" and said "Not for me," and the about the 6 wine selections by the glass, 50 cl and liter but no 75 cl bottles "any more" - remarked to me "52 E for a liter out of a box, come on." But charming polyglot that he is, he charmed our hostess into charmingly letting us taste the three reds on offer.
So here's how it went:
- Madame had the mijote of vegetables appropriate for the season with a Maltaise (orange added to a Hollandaise) sauce that I thought was Zen, tasty and perfect; they demured.
- Monsieur and I had shaved seiche and beet roots surrounded by squid ink that he thought was tasteless and boring and I considered Zen, tasty and perfect. (no picture, sorry)
- Next he had the sliced rare onglet (of beef of course) with a salad and "Japanese" sauce that I think we all agreed was "Zen, tasty and perfect".
- And Madame and I had crisp battered rollatines of rabbit with carrots that they considered too refined but I again thought was "Zen, tasty and perfect."
- Finally we all shared a vacherin with raspberry sauce that none of us deemed "Zen, tasty and perfect.
Our bill with a liter and glass of wine, no bottled water, surprisingly nice looking but nul-tasting bread and one coffee, was 156.50 E; thus 104.33 E a couple.
Go? I rarely disagree with my friends' palates but this time we were on different sides of the street and like Presidents Lincoln and (FD) Roosevelt and Judge John Hodgman, I rule me right. Yes, go, but not on a day when 16 very nice, upper-middle-class women are having their monthly lunch - dB level 89.1 = vacuum cleaner.
Oh, BTW, the name, Blue Valentine - one web-commentator thought it was named after Tom Waits' song but take a look at the wall posters and tell me it's not the film. PS We forgot to ask.