Toque Saint-Germain
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Heather Stimmler-Hall in 1st arrondissement, Dining €30-€50, Historic

La Toque Saint Germain
4 rue Bertin Poirée, 1st
Tel 01 43 29 01 22
M° Châtelet


www.latoquesaintgermain.fr

Gourmet French cuisine in a 17th-century dining room in central Paris. I went to this restaurant because, a few years ago, it used to be the sister-location for a wine bistro I really liked around the corner. When I used the old card to call, I noticed they answered the phone with a different name, but thought, “hell, why not?” 

toque1.jpgThe décor is very charming, with old wooden beams, pretty chandeliers, exposed stone walls, and a piano in the corner (they have live jazz on some evenings). My Swiss-living American friend Peter and I had reservations, but were shown upstairs to the mezzanine area. Also nice décor, but, oddly, the ceiling is so low that everyone has to duck while walking (except the short waitress), a bit like in the film “Being John Malkovitch”.


“I don’t think you could get away with this in the US,” says Peter. Amazing what we tolerate here in Europe for lack of space! We had a nice view over the main dining room and promised ourselves to limit the wine intake in case we stood up too fast and knocked ourselves out!

The menu has so many great dishes – particularly with duck -- it was hard to decide. I ended up getting the grilled magret de canard with plum sauce and sautéed potatoes. Peter got the faux fillet with black pepper sauce and house fries. There are also several vegetarian and fish dishes.

The food was excellent, the house red (Merlot) not over-priced, so we even went for desserts (a so-so white and dark chocolate mousse for me, a huge fromage blanc with honey and almonds for Peter).

The service was very friendly, and the brunch menus look interesting. Only one other odd note (to add to the ceiling), regarding the bathrooms. They seemed perfectly fine to me, but I guess the owner Julie (her name is everywhere in case you forget) has had “issues” in the past. So she posted a long, printed sign to the attention of the clientele. It starts out well enough, along the lines of “Please leave the restrooms in the clean condition in which you found them”. But then it continues with a long list of things that are unacceptable, using the words “urine” and “excrement” (they are very similar in French) in case you needed it spelled out. If there are two words that should never be spoken, nor seen, in a place where you’re trying to eat, those two would be at the top. I’m glad I had already eaten. I’m curious if anyone heard me laughing in the bathroom.

Really, Julie.

Recommended, quand-même. ;-)

Article originally appeared on The only authentic insider guide to Paris. (http://www.secretsofparis.com/).
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