The new owner of L’Envie du Jour (for the last year and a half) confessed to us that they now change the menu every week instead of every day, as the restaurant’s name would seem to imply, because it had proved too complicated for the small restaurant. We completely understood and approved – any customer who ate there every day (given the quality of the food, it’s a possibility) would surely be happy to eat the same dishes more than once in one week. We knew we would.
My visit to L’Envie du Jour with my friend Terry was part of our continuing campaign to eat at all the best restaurants in her neighborhood, Batignolles. So far, we are scoring just about 100 percent. The last three, Salicorne, Mova and Truffaut, were all excellent, but now Terry’s absolute favorite is L’Envie du Jour.
We ate outside on the temporary summer terrace, certainly less comfortable than the interior, which was full, but safer now that Covid is raging again in Paris. At €36 for a three-course meal (€46 for the tasting menu), the price was right, and all the fixed-price menu choices were appealing, so we ordered one of each.
After a highly pleasing amuse-bouche of creamed fish and fennel, Terry went into ecstasy – and rightly so – over her starter of heirloom tomatoes with strawberries – both ripe and flavorful to perfection – with basil and a wonderful vinaigrette. It was a perfect balance of sweet and acidic, cut with a touch of heat provided by Capsicum frutescens, an as-yet-unclassified type of wild chili pepper the French call piment oiseau. She won’t soon forget that memorable dish.
My starter of eggplant and burrata with pinenuts seemed less interesting at first, but grew on me with its subtle melange of flavors, pepped up by pomegranate and mustard seeds, and fresh mint.
Terry lucked out again with the main course of pintade (guinea fowl), served with a stunning ratatouille, a spicy sauce and a sort of savory flan. Once again, she was ecstatic, although the tomato/ strawberry starter was definitely her top choice.
I was very happy with my fish of the day, maigre (stone bass) with a sage-flavored emulsion and wonderful accompaniments of fava beans, fresh peas and samphire (pickleweed), a comforting and healthy dish.
We shared the two desserts. The standout was definitely the amazing chocolate combo, with chocolate ice cream, chocolate ganache, a chocolate cookie and salted caramel sauce, but the nectarine tart with a wonderfully buttery shortbread crust, whipped cream and apricot sorbet was delicious in its own right and not to be scoffed at.
For those who want something fancier, the menu also listed a few higher-priced items not on the fixed-price menu, including lobster and prime rib of Angus beef.
We were delighted with the service, partly provided by a charming intern, and by the white wine by the glass suggested by another server: Romain Paire’s La Colline en Flamme Chardonnay, a Vin de France from the Loire Valley.
Kudos to chef Marc Fontaine and sommelier and restaurant manager Camille Aldon. I wouldn’t be surprised if Terry went back every week, and I would be happy to return anytime.Favorite