Pre: the first question I’m always asked is “why here?” The second is “what’s the name mean?” And the third is “what do I order, what are you ordering?”
Ok. 1. It’s May Day, except for hotel restaurants, almost everything is closed except places catering to their local populace. 2. Mr Culbuto is a tipover toy that goes back to the Middle Ages whose popularity is sort of like nested Russian dolls or dipping swans or waving cats or snow globes, they’re kind of cute for 5 seconds, and 3. “I have no frigging idea, but look for stuff that’s fresh, cannot come from Metro, and go for it.”
5.0 Mr. Culbuto, 294 rue des Pyrenees in the 20th, 01.47.97.32.02, open 7/7, is the sort of banal joint on every street corner in Paris that serves up the usual banal dishes at banal prices. But, Emmanuel Rubin, my lodestar, in Le Figaroscope, wrote it up, so it must have some redeeming virtues, eh? Maybe.
I entered to an almost full restaurant which had a mid-century football game and wouldn’t you know, got seated besides the only loud Yankees I’m sure, who have ever been here. Yikes. 77-88 decibels and up just from them.
My great French friend who lives not far away entered and we both shrugged “who knows, it could surprise.” She was seriously considering, discussing and conferring with the incredibly tattooed waitlady whether to have burrata vs asparagus, pork vs chicken; me I knew the safe way to go.
She started with green asparagus arrayed in a classical parallel manner froufrou'ed up with some cured ham I think and I had leeks in a most unparallel tangle with some sort of froufrou'ed up crumble on top, weird to say the least.
Then she had chicken breast on top of more asparagus, this time intermixed white and green and I had half a duck breast which I tried to order blue, “rose?” “no, blue” “no, Rose”, “no blue,” at this point my friend said “the most rose you can make it please”. “Ok.” It was still overcooked, could we have been any clearer?
I insisted we share a dessert and we had a fine Metro chocy mousse with caramel beaten in and more crumble on top.
(I was tempted by the Oreo tiramisu but resisted the impulse.)
Our bill with a bottle and demi of wine and 2 coffees was 101€.
Go? If you’re French, stuck in the darkest 20th with a poussette and screaming kid on Labor Day, and have forgotten the words to the Internationale, which the folks protesting up at the Place des Fetes, had not, sure.