7.4 The Bistrot Belhara, 23, rue Duvivier in the 7th (Metro: Ecole Militaire or #80 or 92 bus), 01.45.51.41.77, closed Sundays and Mondays, opened to great acclaim recently and has a chef (Thierry Dufroux) who hailed not only from the Bistro Volnay but worked for/with Michel Guérard, Bernard Loiseau and Alain Ducasse. Plus my friend and trusted source, Laidback, loved it a week ago or so. On entering I was warmly greeted and overwhelmed by the the chalkboard shown and specials (not shown but having sauteed girolles, chicken faisane and sweetbreads [as well as palombe at night]). Tough decisions.
My Cantabridgian friend, straight off his flight, was a tad later that I arriving so I ordered a bottle of red to pass the time and read the Figaro - the restaurant filled full with largely local folk excepting one Yankee couple and an old food writer/website manager/friend and her eating companion, and the decibel level moved from the 60's to 82 dB. He ordered the potiron and chestnut soup which he quite rightly declared had an over-dose of chicken stock and under-dose of other stuff - it almost had no pumpkin taste even with some pepper - but, but, but, I saved the day with ham three ways (boudin, fresh and cooked with nuts and mushrooms [and while the chef and waiter deny it, olives]) - very, very, very good.
From then on it was scores-ville; a wonderful warm "rustic" pate en croute with foie gras and duck and a rich red wine sauce and sweetbreads just like I love them - crispy outside, moist inside with perfectly cooked teeny tiny potatoes. Then my friend ordered the coulant chocolate dessert that was also "top top" as the President of the Republique twice removed, would say.
Our bill; well, it's complicated, but let me say that "Honesty is the best policy." I pointed out that they'd not charged for my pal's San Pellegrino and so they added it on, but subtracted our coffees as offered, so we wound up paying 87 E not 89 E.
Go back? Definately and perhaps one Sunday night when one can rent it out if one has 25 folks so inclined.