1, rue de Condé, in the 6th Arrondissement.
01 43 54 18 21. Noon–2 a.m. daily.
This Paris restaurant has glam, beauty and all the makings for a fun girls’ night out. While the name Le Schmuck may not conjure images of beautiful people, believe me, they’re here. They’re sitting on the small terrace watching and being watched, and they’re also waiting on the tables and serving drinks. I’m sure the restaurant has hired models as servers, which might explain a few mishaps, but we easily overlooked the mistakes while watching the handsome waiters come back and forth to our table.
Le Schmuck has several investors behind it, including actor-comedian Gilles Lellouche. They already have a successful bar of the same name in the 8th, and added this St. Germain bar and restaurant to their repertoire about a year ago. They also have a notable name in the kitchen, with Chateaubriand alum Victor Marques at the helm.
Our group of gals arrived on a lively Friday night. We started off with a refreshing ginger basil martini. It was a touch of spring and a perfect start to the evening. Beyond the nice-looking people, the dining room is also a wonder to take in. There is ivy on the ceiling, with multiple chandeliers hanging down in every direction. We sat in baroque armchairs with a tufted sofa opposite, under a windowed wall. Large framed mirrors and paintings adorned the other wall, contributing to Le Schmuck’s eclectic mix of British and baroque styles.
With all the eye candy, we barely needed to eat, but we decided to dive into the small menu. We started with a large slab of foie gras that was fine but not particularly flavorful or memorable. Our mains were much more interesting. My scallops had a nice sear on the outside, providing a good contrast to the rich, lush potatoes and their hollandaise-like sauce. The presentation might not have been as sleek as the surroundings, but the flavor was top notch.
The lotte, or monkfish, may have been the winning dish. It was perfectly cooked and served in a cast-iron skillet. Large pieces of fish sat atop a warm bed of mixed root and aromatic vegetables, surrounded by a light cream sauce.
For dessert we enjoyed another drink and further people watching before heading out to our St. Germain evening.
In a nutshell: Le Schmuck offers an eclectic dining room filled with beautiful people. Grab some girlfriends and enjoy a few cocktails before an evening out in St. Germain, or make a night of it with a full dinner.
Price check: Lunch menu, 15 euros; dinner, 15–25 euros à la carte.
41, ave Montaigne, in the 8th.
8 a.m.–2 a.m. daily.