OK. This is one of my blow-by-blow descriptions; I cannot do a normal review because the experience was so unique. Here goes:
No grade. Le Passage, 46 rue des Fosses St Bernard in the 5th, 01.43.29.37.24, open 7/7 (Metro: Cardinal Lemoine) is not to be confused with Au Passage in the 11th or Passage 53 in the 2nd or Le Passage Secret in the 17th. From outside it's an interesting corner bistro just across the street from the Universities V and VII, now cleared of their asbestos one hopes.
I look at the ardoise outside facing the University and am not terribly interested, but....
There's another one in front of the resto that is much more encouraging, so I enter.
It's really cool, I mean Victor Baltard-like iron-work and glass, antique clock and timeless slicing machine. Cool.
I order a bottle of Merlot from the Pay d'Oc (18 E a bottle versus 19 E for 50 cl of another which had been sitting on the counter for who knows how long?) I look at the label that is really interesting, never mentioning the silly stuff about oaky, smoky, hokey flavors. Anyway, so far so good.
My first was a friand of snails; OK, basically a double-faced pastry envelope filled with a meat-pie mix of snails surrounded by a sauce influenced by parsley, anise and chive bits. House made perhaps but not astonishingly light pastry nor trail-blazing snails.
Next, my main of a Cote de veau with mushrooms - Don't see anything? - well I didn't taste anything either - except an overcooked piece of veal and mushroom that were beyond overcooked as well as semi-cold, not even lukewarm, potatoes. After tasting each I went back to reading about Trump, much better than the dish. And then my charming wait-lady picked up my dish and asked how it was and I answered honestly. She offered another main in its stead. No, I said.
I then asked for the dessert menu.
The Front Room Manager came over and asked what was wrong, I answered, she offered a substitute that would be blue and the mushrooms properly cooked and the potatoes warm but I made the International Sign of Stop/No More, crossing my arms between us and saying just dessert.
A few minutes later, she appeared with a new version of the veal, having interpreted my International Sign of Stop/No More to mean bring on another.
So looked at my choices of dessert and went for the sable of nuts with an interior of vanilla and drops of caramel around the plate - this was superb! And I said so.
When I got my coffee I noticed that the name of the restaurant had been as if burned into the tables - that shows care and thought and money behind the restaurant.
My bill, ah my bill. They charged me only for the wine, snails and coffee, writing off the mains (2x) and dessert; so it was 29.20 E, a very nice gesture.
Go? Unfotunately no; Despite the front room folks kindness, I don't think I'd encourage you to go until they bring the kitchen up to the level of the service, décor and hopes that its owners had.