The cheese tray.
6, rue de Belzunce, in the 10th Arrondissement.
Mon–Tues, 11:45 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.–11:30 p.m.
Wed–Fri, 11:45 a.m.–11:30 p.m. Sat–Sun, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
01 48 78 28 80.
Just one door down from its more famous (and more expensive) sibling Chez Michel
, this Paris bistro
has been on my list for a while.
When we arrived on a mild evening last week, the place was packed. So was the terrace, mostly with locals, mostly happy, and for good reason: at Chez Casimir, 32 euros gets you four courses, including a stab at the old-fashioned cheese tray.
Starters were split between earth and sea: poached langoustines with mayonnaise, a terrine of foie gras, an odd-parts terrine of beef tongue and foot. I started with a thin mackerel fillet, served with delicately pickled ribbons of summer squash and a fine pile of mesclun. A cobbled slab of pâté de campagne was textbook, a sensibly sized portion served with cornichons that had plenty of kick, thanks to the peppers that shared the brine.
Given my experiences next door at Chez Michel, I had little doubt that Casimir has a way with meat and fowl. But I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy our fish dishes so much. (At some Paris bistros like this, the seafood dishes seem like wan concessions to the few diners trying to eat light. But not here.) A fat piece of cod swam in a delicate, herb-laden broth among tender quartered artichokes. Rich monkfish was served with a delicious eggplant purée, spiced and caramelized, with no small amount of olive oil.
Monkfish with eggplant purée.
At this point we were full, and the poor cheese tray had seen better days by the time it reached us (and some of our fellow diners could have used a refresher course on how to cut the stuff), but still I couldn’t resist a bit of Selles-sur-Cher, a blob of Reblochon. And then, of course, dessert. The clafoutis of Reine Claude plums was a touch dry, but the roasted figs with lavender ice cream and almond lace cookies worked.
On weekends Chez Casimir offers something like brunch—inexpensive lunch menus that don’t insist on four courses—as well as Breton-themed picnic baskets to go. Something to consider before my next train trip out of nearby Gare du Nord.
In a nutshell
Chez Casimir offers a big bistro experience at a small price.
32 euros for entrée-plat-fromage-dessert.
If you like the sound of Chez Casimir
and are feeling flush, visit Chez Michel. Read the review.
10, rue de Belzunce, in the 10th.
01 44 53 06 20. Closed Sat and Sun.