7.8, yes that's right, 7.8 Freddy's, 54, rue de Seine in the 6th, no telephone, no reservations, no seats or tables, only stools, no desserts, no coffee. You look in the place and it's like a circus tent, with lights saying "Freddy's", a menu with a picture I seriously mistook for me, and about 5 specials written in chalk at the last minute. I was a few minutes ahead of my old pal, the Real Food Critic, but at 12h30 on the dot ordered up some wine - "Hummm," he says ""Good choice, everything OK?" "Actually no" I say, "my knees and back are rebelling," "Lemme see what I can do," and he does, and pretty soon Chef Eric Tronchon and he are in deep and continuing discussion about the meal.
I tell my friend, I'm not really hungry, he says "Don't worry." "All I want is the escabeche and merlu." "Don't worry." The chef comes over with two pipes of Japanese charcoal just like I had at Pages yesterday - "Yah, this is what were using, it gives a great taste." He bangs them together and they make the sound of a percussion section of a fine orchestra.
Then the food: of course the escabeche of mackerel I coveted, then beignets of zucchini, beignets of cod (accras), beignets of pied de cochon, figs (sublime) with cecina (ham), my also-coveted merlu en colere with outasight tartare and finally wonderfully tender duck hearts with sliced raw mushrooms (like Dans Les Landes used to serve up). Wow!
I am besides myself; "When can I come back with my wife" I beg the chef? And it's #1 on her schedule.
The bill? I snuck a look although my friend picked it up after enough protestation on my part to be civilized. With 2 bottles of wine, no bottled water and great bread = 76E. No, not really; the chef sent nextdoor to Semilla (this is after all part of the Dernier Goutte/Fish/Cosi/Semilla Empire, for the coffee (comp'd, and 2 of the dishes came comp'd due to my famous friend) but nonetheless the prices are extraordinary.
Go? Well I'm returning as soon as possible.