Windows on three sides let the light in.
It’s a sure sign of approaching gentrification when a restaurant like 975 opens in one of Paris’s quartiers populaires, in this case the area around Métro Guy Moquet in northwestern Paris, not far from the Périphérique. Nothing against the restaurant, of course, which is a fine example of bistronomie, with its carefully selected ingredients and well-prepared dishes. The friendly service is provided by two young men who actually seem to enjoy and take pride in their work, and the decor is simple but attractive: black tables and classroom chairs in an aquarium-like space with big windows on three sides, their frames painted acid-yellow inside and out, so that you can’t miss the place as you approach it on the street.
The lunch menu here is a real bargain at €16 for a starter, plat du jour, dessert and coffee. Granted, the first and last courses were half the normal size, but that seemed appropriate at lunchtime, and the main course was generous. I chose this formule, and it was just right. It started with a small bowl of corn soup with
hazelnuts, lardons and spice-bread croutons. Creamy and delicious. My friend John, who had ordered two starters from the menu, liked it better than his own lettuce soup with
cockles, lardons and more of those spice-bread croutons, but I thought his was pretty tasty, too.
He continued with a fine, fresh-tasting tartare
of Salers beef, spiced up with Espelette pepper – green, not the usual red – and adorned with lovely tiny grilled red onions.
We shared my dessert, a mini-lemon tart (as
tart as a lemon tart should be) with a lovely crumbly shortbread crust, topped with a meringue kiss. Perfect.
The waiter recommended a fine, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine François Cartier in the Touraine, priced at only €21.
I’m not sure I will make another special trip to the outer reaches of Paris to return to 975, but if ever I am looking for a restaurant in the environs, I will definitely go back.