Les Canailles

No-Frills Comfort South of Pigalle

June 19, 2012By Heidi EllisonRestaurants

Paris Update les-canailles

The food and decor are simple and pleasing.

The ninth arrondissement is turning into a hotbed of good little neighborhood restaurants. We have already reviewed a number of them here (including Le Pantruche, Les Saisons, L’Office and Le Garde Temps), and we recently tried one of the latest additions, Les Canailles, in the SoPi (South of Pigalle) area.

“Canaille” means “rogue” or “rascal,” and there is probably a pun intended on canard (duck) as well. The man who waited on us—co-owner Yann Le Pevedic (his partner is the chef, Sébastien Guillo, formerly of Dominique Bouchet and the Georges V)—was no scoundrel, however, but a real gentleman with a ready smile and welcoming air. We liked the spacious feel and simple decor of the place, with its black-and-white-tiled floor, big red lampshades on the hanging lamps and a few prints on the wall.

The menu offered four choices for each course, with a set menu of €33 for three courses or €25 for two. The food, like the decor, was simple and good. Nothing too fancy, just hearty, tasty dishes with fine ingredients. Comfort food. Bonnie started with the crisp, fresh asparagus served with a fried egg and Serrano ham. Hard to get any more comforting than that. I had the nicely cooked encornets (squid) with Provençal vegetables (zucchini, tomatoes, pepper, etc.) topped with arugula in a lovely vinaigrette.

None of the main courses (cod, pork belly, calf’s head and rib-eye steak) particularly appealed to me, but I chose the rib-eye steak (faux fillet) because it came with my ultimate comfort food: macaroni and cheese. The generous, flavorful steak was served with pleurotes (oyster mushrooms) in a rich sauce, with the mac/cheese hot and creamy in its own cast-iron casserole on the side—just the ticket for a trip back to childhood. Bonnie’s perfectly cooked cod came with spinach and herb butter.

We decided to share a dessert and were glad we had when the Breton cookie with strawberries and rhubarb arrived, prettily arranged in a geometric pattern on the plate with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and a zigzag of strawberry sauce.

Accompanying it all was a light, enjoyable and reasonably priced (€18) 2011 Cheverny from Clos du Tue-Bœuf.

After that satisfying meal served with such kindness by Le Pevedic, topped off by a warming Calvados, we left feeling thoroughly comforted and fortified.


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