Regulars help themselves to a glass from the mismatched set.
This unusual restaurant is easier to define by what it is not. It has no trendy (or otherwise) decor, no arty food presentations, no flashy service. And yet it is a delightful place, where it is easy to feel at home and enjoy a very satisfying meal at a reasonable price.
The first creature you might meet when entering the restaurant is the friendly and very relaxed dog. Don’t worry, he won’t steal your food, though he might try to charm you out of a few morsels.
The open kitchen looks more like one you might have at home than the space-age stainless-steel wonders that seem to have become the norm. The tables don’t match the chairs, which don’t match the glasses, which don’t match the plates. At least if you break something, you know you won’t be ruining a set.
If you’re lucky enough to become an habitué (and there are many), Kevin, the American who runs the place (and cooks) is likely to offer you a glass of one of his newly discovered wines. Organic and natural are the operative words here, so you might be in for an excellent surprise (or not).
The menu changes all the time, which makes it a good place to come back to. On my last visit, I enjoyed a crisp and tasty salade thaï au boeuf (Thai beef salad). It’s unusual to find exotic fare here, but this was a real success. The Thais of Thailand probably wouldn’t have approved of the slightly rough presentation, but they couldn’t fault the tangy flavors. Other choices included soupe de poireaux (leek soup) and poêlée de girolles (sautéed chanterelle mushrooms). Next, I had a tender selle d’agneau, which came with a gorgeous gratin de pommes de terre, the kind people think their grandmothers used to make. The red salad leaves on the plate were a useless concession to color and a bit out of place.
For dessert, the tarte au citron (lemon tart), was good, once again, without looking fancy. The other choices were yaourt au miel (yogurt with honey) or crumble aux pommes (apple crumble).
Bottles of wine can be purchased to go at the price you would pay in a wine shop, and all wines are available by the glass.
Autour d’un Verre: 21, rue de Trévise, 75009 Paris. Tel.: 01 48 24 43 74. Métro: Cadet, Le Peletier or Grands Boulevards. Nearest Vélib station: Folies Bergère. Open Monday-Friday for lunch, Tuesday-Saturday for dinner. Dinner: starter and main course for €20, dessert €6.
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