Back story 1: I freely admit to being one of the people who snobbishly believes that one cannot find great food either in my neighborhood (NoMo) or the Marais (whether Haute or Bas).
Back Story 2: I have a great friend, a year younger than I am, whom I've known since we biked around France in 1953 - 1953! mind you, who has lived and worked practically ever since in the Marais. Every month or so we establish a day to meet for lunch, but of course she has a doctor's appointment at noon and a patient to see at 2, so could we possibly meet in the Marais? There goes another clump of hair, torn in frustration. But wait....
6.8 Le MaZenay, (yes that's the way he spells it - Zen, get it?), 46 rue de Montmorency in the 3rd, 06.42.83.79.52, closed Saturday lunch, Sundays and Mondays (Metro: Arts & Metiers) opened a year ago and has not gotten a lot of press which is mindblowing, given the packed house, innovative cooking and wonderful staff. Oh well, who can figure out French tastes and trends? It's tucked into the corner of a bulge-out in the Rue de Montmorency and if one looks across the street there's a plaque dedicated to Mr and Mrs Nicolas Flamel who lived there - remember them? Ah no.
So a quick history lesson; he was reputed to have discovered the Philosopher's Stone - ah now, is it coming back? No. But when your grandchildren were reading Harry Potter, they knew. Ah now it's dawning on you - the Stone was "an alchemical substance capable of turning base metals into pure gold and granting eternal life" (ref Wiki of course). In any case, I hoped that Chef Groison could turn his sourced, named products into gold as well.
I admired the 18 E for 2-courses, 24 E for 3 6-choice "menu" but passed it up for the 39 E menu-carte. I started off with a cold vegetable gazpacho-like but less spicy soup with a tower of chopped veggies and Breton lobster bits - the ingredients were impeccable but it lacked oomph; the warm, crusty bread from Thierry Breton, though, made up for it. Then I had the perfectly roasted pigeon with divine mirabelles and a lot of string beans in a weird sauce of hands of Buddha citrus, both of which could have been left off - the pigeon and mirabelles alone were spectacular. Finally, I had a dacquoise dessert of layers of nuts, tuile, sable, strawberries and rhubarb with a light vanilla cream that was simply out of this world.
A bill for 2, with no bottled water, no supplements and a bottle of wine would have been 110.60 E, but of course I had the lobster and pigeon.
Go? Despite my split feelings (let's not call it schizophrenia please) I would encourage you to. Not that I need to; the joint was jumping with locals, most of them appearing to be regulars, and despite the noise - dB=85.9 - which originally I blamed on the Yankee jazz music, actually came from those pesky French women with a glass of wine on board celebrating the end of the work week.
PS. I had a lovely chat with the chef on my way to the loo; turns out he spent many years in Singapore (Raffles) and Viet Nam (the Metropole?) which explains his perfect English, his wife, as well as the Asian twists to and ingredients in his dishes. And he truly wanted my opinion on his food. As I say - Lovely.