Pros: fresh food; easygoing, accommodating service; pretty decor; reasonably priced wine
Cons: out-of-season asparagus, desserts lacking in oomph
At first glance, Le Bien Décidé seems to be a meat-eaters’ paradise – the extremely limited menu the other night offered pied de cochon, côte de bœuf (for two), faux-filet, souris d’agneau and no fish option, with only two nods to non-meat eaters: organic tomato and mozzarella salad, and sautéed girolles – yet when one of our party of four said she was a vegetarian and two others asked for combinations of first courses and cheese plates rather than the usual entrée-plat-dessert, the charming waitress didn’t bat an eye. She offered an omelet with girolles (chanterelles) to my vegetarian friend and accepted two orders for green salads that weren’t on the menu. It was the opposite of the famous diner scene in the film Five Easy Pieces.
Another strong point was the wine. The restaurant is co-owned by French actor Gérard Depardieu, who owns a vineyard in Anjou,
and the waitress suggested his 2009 Château de Tigné “Les Terres Chaudes,” which turned out to be a marvelous choice – rich and slightly spicy – especially since it was priced at an incredibly reasonable €18. The bottle comes complete with a separate label bearing a pencil sketch of a younger, much slimmer version of the actor, along with his signature. By the way, don’t show up at Le Bien Décidé with your autograph book, since apparently Depardieu never puts in an appearance, although he lives nearby.
Another heads up: before you order here, make sure to ask the waitress what else is available – she admitted that she found it boring to change the chalkboard every day and only wrote out a few dishes.
The food was good and unpretentious. The deboned pig’s foot I had as a starter was very
tasty and would have thrilled those who love odd animal body parts, but was just a tad too piggy for me. My (huge) souris d’agneau (lamb shank)
was rather dry on the outside but juicy and tender on the inside. It was served with a generous mix of nicely fried potatoes and not-overcooked carrots, asparagus (oddly out of season) and turnips in a flavorful jus.
The rest of the offerings were equally simple: arugula salad with Parmesan cheese and tasty sautéed girolles for my light-eating companions, followed by a cheese platter (a tradition that seems to be disappearing in Paris restaurants) with a good selection of excellent cheeses: chèvre, Rebluchon, Brie, Cantal and Fourme d’Ambert.
The two available desserts, both of which we tried, were a blueberry clafoutis and a poached
pear served with a fresh fig, both enjoyable, but nothing to sweep you off your feet
With its laidback atmosphere, simple but good food and pretty modern decor – dominated by a wall of bright green wine-bottle-filled shelves – Le Bien Décidé is a great little place for a casual dinner among friends.Favorite