(Sorry, folks, for NYC and London blog interruption! This is a quick post for the “family” who’s on the way to Paris).
The easiest is the tastiest..
L’Avant Comptoir is a hole-in-the-wall “tapas” bar attached to Hotel Relais in St Germain des Pres, Paris. Unlike the hotel’s popular but booking-essential bistro Le Comptoir, you can just walk in at L’Avant pretty much any day and any time you’d like. The menu featured a decently priced wine selection (French, of course) and a joyful range of charcuterie (€4-€22) with a few tapas-sized cooked dishes (€3-€7). The majority of the menu were laminated and hung loosely on the ceiling of the bar. You need to be able to read a bit of French or make some random guess from the printed photos as to what these dishes are.
Boudin Noir (€3.50) was flash grilled for a moreish effect and presented sandwiched by soft and sweet meringue discs. A bloody (pun-intended) brilliant savoury macaroon. The platter of Jambon Noir de Bigorre de Pierre Matayron (€22) was generous in size and divine in taste. I liked a touch of fat, a hint of salt and a pronounced porky flavour but I loved the fact that it was also thinly and expertly sliced. Tuna Tataki (€4.50) – a chunky piece of tuna torched on both sides and served with acidic puree and cress – was less successful. My issue was not so much about the tuna but the redundant olive oil underneath. Grilled Scallop with Jambon (€LostTrackOfPrice) was just cooked but could have done with more snoozing on the grill for a charred effect. Deliciousness was restored by Roast Beef (also €LostTrackOfPrice). The roast beef was paper-thin and a little pink in the middle. The light dressing of pepper and parmesan helped bring out the genuine beauty of the beef.
By far, the meat dishes were very commendable..
Oh my crepe!!
I rounded up my meal at L’Avant Comptoir with their OTHER great thing: a creperie stall at the front window (!!). My Ham+Cheese+Egg below (made from buckwheat flour) was a killer and could have been a meal in itself. Good quality ham; gooey Emmental cheese (I assumed); unctuous egg yolk; a note of black pepper; and the crepe base that achieved a good balance of soft and crispy texture. While this was not the best crepe I’d ever eaten in Paris, it was a well-conceived one.
L’ AVANT COMPTOIR
9 Carrefour de l’ Odeon
Tel. +33 144 27 07 97