In Paris, you never know where you’ll find a good restaurant. Busy streets and boulevards are often lined with mediocre ones, while a little treasure might be hidden away on a quiet backstreet. That was the case for Le Cadoret in the 19th arrondissement, which I may never have come across if it weren’t for a friend who knows people who live in the neighborhood.
Le Cadoret looks like an ordinary corner café, except that the blue facade is brighter and shinier than those around it. Inside, all is simplicity, with plain wooden tables and chairs, a large bar, metal hanging lamps and a terrazzo floor to add a little color.
While waiting for all four of us to arrive, co-owner Louis Fleuriot, who handles the dining room while his sister Léa does the cooking, served us a marvelous natural sparkling rosé (2015) from Alsace made by André and Yann Durrmann. Fleuriot informed us that all the wines he stocks are natural, and I was impressed by both those we tasted. Making good natural wine is a real challenge, and he seems to have a talent for seeking them out.
We all tried different things for the first course. I ordered the beignets de lieu noir, which I expected to be something like fish tempura, but they turned out to be more like accras, or fish croquettes. Very tasty, they were served with homemade tartar sauce.
For my money, the best starter was a dish of fresh peas with salt cod and caper butter, but the unusual terrine of blood pudding with pickles and beets, and a dish of white asparagus with rouille, sorrel and toasted buckwheat were also delicious.
Only three main courses were offered, and we tried two of them. I had a generous helping of tender roast chicken with crispy skin and slightly cooked radishes and green asparagus. A special touch was added by the smoked boiled potatoes that came with it.
My three companions all had the lieu (pollock) with crab juice, marjoram, broad beans, turnips and baby leeks. They loved every bite. We all used the crusty/soft dark bread to thoroughly clean our plates of the lovely sauces.
The desserts were up to snuff, especially the apple tourte, whose all-over pastry crust was wonderfully flavored with orange-blossom water. It was perfectly complemented by crème fraîche and thin slices of citron. The poached rhubarb with rice-pudding mousse and shortbread was good, too, but not as original.
The other wine we loved, by the way, with the punning name Sec Symbole, is a 100 percent Chenin Blanc from the Domaine le Sot de l’Ange in the Touraine made from organic grapes with minimal sulfur.
I only wish every corner in Paris had a restaurant like Le Cadoret: friendly and laidback, and serving good, fresh, seasonal food and great natural wines, all at reasonable prices.