Saturday, August 29, 2015

Paris -- Cinq-Mars: Bistro Near the Orsay

Last night I had a very good meal at Cinq-Mars, a simple but stylish bistro in the seventh arrondissement, near the Musée d'Orsay. I never would have found this place, which gets one cocotte from Le Lebey des Bistrots and a mention in Pudlo, if I had not read Chris Kimball's most recent "Letter from Vermont" on line just before leaving for Paris. Kimball is the owner of America's Test Kitchen and publisher of Cook's Illustrated and many other cooking publications, and this is his and his wife's favorite place in Paris.

While Kimball is not a food critic, I took a chance and was pleasantly surprised. Cinq-Mars is an attractive restaurant with about 36 seats, most of which were filled, that are serviced by a pair of capable young servers, one male and one female, who do everything in the front.

The food is classic, but very well prepared with excellent ingredients the provenance of which is often noted on the menu. I had a classic but delicious oeuf mayonnaise, a specialty, and a truly superb veal chop. The veal was amazingly tender and sported a gorgeous and tasty deep crust. It was served with classic peas and carrots, with a few (too few) spring onions and a couple of (undercooked) slices of potato. The menu was loaded with fish and meat dishes that I would have liked to try: unfortunately, dining alone provides no sharing opportunities.

Oeufs mayonnaise at Cinq-Mars
Côte de veau at Cinq-Mars
Desserts are very classic: île flottante, mousse au chocolat, mont-blanc, etc. I was feeling a bit full for any of these, so I went with the sorbets, an excellent mara des bois strawberry and a really dense chocolate which, while very good, should not cause the folks at Berthillon to lose any sleep.

All in all, a lovely meal at a reasonable price (about 60 euros, including wine; there is a 21.5 euro two-course lunch menu). I look forward to returning with J.

Cinq-Mars, 51 rue de Verneuil, 75007 Paris (Métro Solférino or Rue du Bac).

Bobby Jay

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