41, blvd Pasteur, in the 15th Arrondissement.
Tues–Sat, lunch and dinner. 01 47 34 15 50.
Though I used to live on the left bank, I never did make it to L’Epigramme, a well-priced bistro with a solid reputation and loyal following. It still exists but has recently changed hands, and the reports since the new team took over have been mixed at best.
The good news is that the old owners have launched another endeavor: L’Epicuriste, in the familial calm of the 15th Arrondissement.
While perhaps not the most exciting place to live, this part of Paris has plenty to brag about in the bistro department. I would happily be a regular at Le Grand Pan, Le Troquet or Jadis—if I didn’t live in the opposite corner of the city. I would add L’Epicuriste to that list now, too.
The space is much larger than its old address, with an almost American amount of distance between the tables and a large and bright open kitchen at the back of the room. It felt a little bare and bland in its newness, but that will change with time, when the shelves are more fully stocked with wine and the walls hung with a bit of art.
We were warmly greeted and seated, and left with the ardoise. My friend chose the scallops, roasted in their shells with parsley and salted butter, classic and delicious. On the eve of a trip away from France, I decided on a slice of foie gras terrine, served with course salt and, as always, an inadequate amount of toast.
I don’t know if the pot-au-feu of cod with baby vegetables was good or not; presented with richer and meatier options, I always cave. The poor fish was outnumbered heavily by a faux filet with carrots cooked in marrow, a pork chop with an endive gratin and leg of lamb, among others. I chose a saddle of rabbit, stuffed with savory-sweet prunes and served with a boulangère of celery, the stalks cooked in stock until tender and deeply and roundly flavored. Across the table, a slow-cooked pork shoulder fell apart easily under my friend’s fork. The accompanying sweet potatoes were slightly too assertive, but the meat was superb. A Morgon from Foillard carried us through.
Unfortunately, my riz au lait was undercooked, which is too bad because the flavors—plenty of vanilla and a gorgeous caramel on top—were otherwise fantastic. The pain perdu with pear compote was simple and not too sweet.
In a nutshell: With L’Epicuriste, the residents of the 15th get lucky yet again, with another solid, reasonably priced bistro.
Price check: Lunch, 24 or 28 euros for two or three courses; dinner, three courses for 34 euros; wines start around 20 euros.
If you like the sound of L’Epicuriste but prefer the right bank, try Le Pantruche, another recent opening. Read a full review here.
3, rue Victor Massé, in the 9th. 01 48 78 55 60.
Mon–Fri, lunch and dinner.