We were looking for a secluded neighborhood place away from the central arrondissements, with a focus on distinctive wines, and where we could get a light lunch. Simone was on our radar because of a brief reference by Ptipois, but it had no mention here, and when we researched, we found only one review in English on TA (along with a number in French, mostly quite positive). From that promising start and this post (http://www.legastronomeparisien.fr/pa...) we learned that there’s a connected wine shop specializing in natural wines, especially Loire. This was all sounding pretty good . . . .
It ended up being not quite as light as we planned because we could not resist ordering the reasonable menus (20 euros for two dishes, 23 euros for 3, with three choices in each category) -- and then they went and gave us extras . . . .
For entrees we started with, for my wife, fresh pea soup with “crème” (so light it was almost a foam) of asperge; and for me, diced tartare de veau with apples and dark specks of some kind of a savory herb. These were accompanied by two distinctive whites by the glass from the Ardeche and southern Rhone. After we expressed appreciation and mentioned to the quiet and yet friendly proprietor that we especially enjoyed Jura wines and were on a quest for vin jaune, he smiled and brought us an extra glass -- a lovely and dramatic orange creature from the Loire.
Plats were roasted chicken with olives, pureed celery, and beautifully curled mushrooms (not exactly light but so good); and for me, a dish of sautéed beef slices (the blackboard read “Boeuf fin Gras” I believe?) with rather Asian spices, radishes and broccoli -- nice, but the least memorable of the four savories. With these we had two distinctive glasses of rouge -- a nicely funky Loire, and the other a bold southern Rhone.
Dessert was a fine crème brulee (“avec deux cuillères”) and then two coffees. The young chef, who we’d enjoyed watching in the open kitchen with his two assistants, apparently thought we looked hungry still, so he brought us a chocolate-hazelnut torte that was not on the carte. Paying our bill at the back desk, we had a nice chat with the proprietor, who eventually gave his name as Alain Muzzi (he’s Italian) and a hand-written list of producers for us to visit in the Jura. He suggested we walk outside and meet him around the corner at his small cave. There we admired some of his natural and biodynamic wines -- including he pointed out, a pinot from Oregon. He has seven different Jura wines from Domaine Ganevat, which bottles 20 different wines each year -- “one in every price range,” Alain said with another smile. But I had purchased my allotment, and was worried about fitting all those bottles of vin jaune into our bags, and so I had to pass, tant pis.
Was this top of the line cooking? No, and we did not expect it to be -- but we found it to be high quality, fresh, honest, friendly, and served with distinctive wines by the glass -- just what we were looking for. And so we’ll happily return for lunch and a visit to the cave -- and perhaps even for dinner.
Notes: It’s best to reserve, even for lunch. We walked in at 12:10 sans reservation last Tuesday. The room was full by 13:00, and even most of the six small outside tables were eventually taken. There are two evening services, like so many other new small hip places where we dined last week. For days and hours: http://www.simoneparis.com/
I’ll attach a few pictures, including of the room (with its open kitchen -- the chef is to the far left, clearing tables after most customers have headed back to work) and proprietor Alain Muzzi, after lunch in his cave. -- Jake