Le Verre Moutarde
145, rue de Saussure, in the 17th Arrondissement. 01 42 27 35 55.
Open Mon–Fri, 11:45 a.m.–11 p.m.
In most Paris restaurants, the lunch formule is an offering of typical, typically boring bistro fare, riskless dishes that are more modestly priced than dinner but still cost a hefty euro for just two plates. But the neighborhood pocket of deliciousness le Verre Moutarde offers a dynamite lunch special, a more-than-generous two courses along with a glass of wine AND a coffee for just 13.90 euros. What’s more, the food there is seriously fresh, and seriously good.
Unassumingly situated on an awkward street in the 17th Arrondissement, in a no-man’s land of almost no surrounding attractions, le Verre Moutarde draws locals and businessmen to its cozy wooden tables and chairs. Alternating exposed brick and a comforting shade of purple cloak the walls, and travel guides to the world anchor the blackboard panel listing the ever-changing daily specials. Adding to the homey element, each table boasts, of course, a jar of Amore mustard, and water is served in kitschy Disney collectible glasses.
My opening dish was an elegant dollop of freshly ground hummus spotted with additional chickpeas, dabbled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for punch. Sparse, yes, but the hummus’s solitude on the plate, with no other elements to compete with its flavors, gave me the opportunity to appreciate the genuine freshness of the spread and its simple standout flavor profile.
Next up was a roasted guinea fowl. Two delicate thighs lay atop a bed of lusciously creamy herbed risotto, surrounded by a sauce of the meat’s natural juices: a bird on an island in a salty sea. The risotto was lightly savory, a mere platform for the guinea fowl and sponge for the sauce. The bird itself had a salty/sweet tinge to it, a glaze that slipped alongside the meat as the flesh tenderly tore away from the bone. With all that dark meat, the dish was a tad heavy for a warm day in Paris, but the symphony of complementary flavors and textures was a good excuse for my later neighborhood walk to the Parc Monceau.
As the lunch was so well priced, I sprang the seven extra euros for dessert to go with my coffee, and it was a fine decision. In front of me arrived a tower of white with splashes of color in the form of yogurt sorbet, a mix of red fruits and a delectable sauce of lemony fromage blanc. The secret ingredient came in the form of sprigs of basil dotting this waterfall of creamy, tart delight, and the extra zing of the herb added a true shine to this refreshing burst of a dessert.
By that time I was definitely ready for a walk. My 20 euro lunch was worth every penny and better than some dinners I’ve had in Paris. Combined with warm, welcoming service, le Verre Moutarde makes for the perfect lunch spot.
In a nutshell: Cozy ambience and traditionally French flavors make le Verre Moutarde a neighborhood bargain.
Price check: Lunch, 13.90–20 euros for 2–3 courses, including wine and coffee; dinner, 29.50 euros for three courses.
If you like the sound of Le Verre Moutarde, you might also like Chez Casimir. Read the review.
6, rue de Belzunce, in the 10th Arrondissement. 01 48 78 28 80.
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.
Le Verre Moutarde