The food at Moustache offers a judicious fusing of East and West.
Cons: Not in my neighborhood, a bit pricey
The second time I went to eat at Moustache, my date pronounced its steak tartare the best she had ever eaten – no small compliment from a woman who is a superb cook herself and has long experience with bistro food.
The menu is short, but the food I’ve tasted there was unfailingly interesting, largely, I think, because the chef is deft at mixing good ingredients with a touch of Thai. The green asparagus starter I had first time round came with a parmesan crisp and a vinaigrette sauce that discreetly stated its Far Eastern provenance. The salad of shrimp and squid, with pretty little rounds of zucchini in a checkerboard pattern, was a delight to look, with a zesty dressing that spoke of lemongrass and nam pla fish sauce. The textures were perfect, especially that of the squid.
I then ordered the suprême de pintade, a big fat side of guinea fowl, which came with the chef’s dipping sauce and a generous plate of stir-fried Mediterranean vegetables – again a very judicious fusing of East and West. There was also a very fine Easternized grilled fillet of beef with a sate sauce, served with fries or mashed potatoes – the latter were good, and the fries (tried the next time round) were pretty good, too, although we have yet to reach the heights of my local greasy spoon, the Cadran du Faubourg in the Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis, which even serves them instead of the trendy popcorn during happy hour.
In addition to the good food and a well-chosen, inexpensive wine list, you get fine service and no shortage of space. The affable chef is working hard to please his customers. After dessert, he came by with a dish of sabayon he was considering for his next menu change. Nice touch.
The decor is understated, with brick and bistro tables and a fine bar, but the dining room could possibly get noisy with a full house, which was not the case on either of my visits. There’s a lovely big street window with close to 100 separate panes of glass, very old-fashioned, which would delight my girlfriend, who is writing the history of an English country house right now and is endlessly informative about 17th-century sash windows, staircases and ceilings.
All in all, this is a great little neighborhood restaurant totally lacking in pretension. It is successfully ringing the changes on traditional fare for its happy patrons.
Moustache: 3, rue Sainte Beuve, 75006 Paris. Tel.: 01 42 22 56 65. Métro: Vavin or Notre Dame des Champs. Nearest Vélib stations: 41, rue Notre Dame des Champs; 18, rue Bréa. Closed Saturday lunch and all day Sunday. A la carte: around €40.
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