Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Au Pied de Fouet

As I mentioned before, I've got quite a few reviews in the queue. I'll start with a great discovery, Au Pied de Fouet. This tiny bistro is tucked away in the 7th, a good walk from the Bon Marché. I made reservations based on its listing in this year's Routard guide for Paris restaurants & bistros (talk about a leap of faith!), which highlighted the bargain prices and the authenticity of this rare, old-fashioned bistro.

I'll let the menu speak for itself: Bargain prices? Check. But is it good? You bet. We LOVED our meals. For appetizers I got the rillettes d'oie, which is mashed up meat (usually pork, goose, or duck - I got goose). Mashed up meat? Well, think of it as a soft, unformed pâté, that you spread on bread. It had been on my mind since I had bought some at the Grande Epicerie on my way to the restaurant, and it didn't disappoint. Other entrées were the pâté de campagne (thumbs up), the green salad (the usual), and the assiete variée - it was a wild card since the description means everything and nothing, but it ended up being a plate of green salad, lentil salad, and the carrot salad.

For the main dishes I got one of the daily specials - the noix de pétancle. I asked the waitress and she said they were like small scallops; I believe they are called bay scallops in English. They were served with the orange muscle intact, over a bed of chopped leeks and a white sauce and with sliced, baked potatoes. What a deal at 13€; I polished them off! Other dishes on the table were the steak and mashed potatoes; the duck and mashed potatoes; the farm chicken "au maury" - I didn't asked what it meant but it was served with rice and the sauce that you use with blanquette de veau; and the trout with saffron. We were all delighted with our main dishes.

The bill came to ~110€ for 4 entrées, 6 main dishes, 3 apéritifs, and a bottle of wine. Is your jaw dropped to the floor? It should be because I have never had this good a meal for this cheap in Paris, much less in the 7th. You have to go to the cash register to pay, and the bartender reduced the bill to 105€. When I asked why, he responded with a smile "on est commerçant!", which a guess would roughly translate to "good customer service!"

We didn't get desserts because we had picked up this enticing assortment at the Grande Epicerie on the way there, and it was probably a good thing because the dessert selection at the restaurant is weak. Clockwise starting with the upper left corner - gateau rose; royal; tonka chic; feuilleté pommes; multifruits. The prices for the cakes were very reasonable, especially for the Grande Epicerie - between 2.20 and 2.85€ each, which is the normal price in your average corner bakery. For anyone thinking about coming to Paris, the Grande Epicerie should be a must-do. Think of Dean and Deluca but bigger and better. I am truly astonished by the prices, and I can't imagine grocery shopping there for real (the people who do must be mega mega rich), but I will cave for their cakes or their deli, or even just the insane selection of fruits they have year-round.

Au Pied de Fouet is great for what it is - quality food at bargain prices. Our waitress was very nice, as was the bartender, who shouted warm greetings at each customer as they walked in the door. As I mentioned before it is miniscule; the guide routard warns that the ceilings in the alcove are only 1,75m high, and the tiny staircase to get up there is daunting. Seating is cramped, but what can you expect? Enjoy it for what it is and you will have a great time. I don't know if reservations are necessary but it can never hurt, and I would recommend picking up desserts at the Grande Epicerie on your way there to enjoy afterwards in the comfort of your home ;)

Au Pied de Fouet
45, rue de Babylone
75007 Paris
01 47 05 12 27
M: Sèvres – Babylone
Closed Sunday

La Grande Epicerie
38, rue de Sevrès
75007 Paris
01 44 39 81 00
M: Sèvres – Babylone

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Samantha said...

Man, how do you guys have money to eat out so much, and at such nice restaurants?? We're lucky if we can manage going out once or twice a month!

Etienne said...

Well, March and April were crazy months because of the influx of friends and family, so I definitely went out way more than usual. Luckily I was always treated by the latter, so I got to experience quite a few restaurants that would have otherwise been out of my budget. ;)

future parisienne said...

LOL. That's what I've been wondering since I've been reading your blog.. but it's nice that you get to go out that much and experience different things. Once again, I have to say, you bring France to life for me! Merci beaucoup ~

Sandy said...

Thanks so much for the great review of Au Pied de Fouet! I was online looking for something about their menu when I found your blog entry. Every review I've read has said it's very good and inexpensive, but not what's on the menu. It was great to have a rundown on the menu and even a photo of it! I'm definitely adding it to my list for our next trip to Paris :-)


Anonymous said...

Au Pied de Fouet... yay!!!!! First discovered this little gem when I lived in Paris in 1997 and could never find my way back after I left the city. So, glad to hear that it's still the way I remember. Great food, great price... not the best friendly service BUT the ambiance is worth it! I feel like I'm eating in my attic with character and history! Gotta love it!

RGSOUNDF said...

Very good and detailed description. One typo though - it's the noix de petOncle not petAncle.