On a recent visit to the Left Bank we had limited time, but sufficient to visit two old friends Les Papilles and La Cagouille, both of which were on their game, continuing to impress with their rather simple versions of market-fresh, traditional cuisine. They remain two of our favorite restaurants in Paris.
But we also had the opportunity to sample a newer candidate for our list. The area around rue Mouffetard is replete with ethnic and cheaper restaurants, catering primarily, it seems, to the tourist and student trade--a neighborhood, with its great markets, more likely to furnish memorable ingredients for a picnic or a hotel-room dinner than a serious restaurant experience. But although we only had the chance (and capacity) to share a single item from each of the menu categories (entree/plat/dessert) at Le Comptoir des Arts, the velouté (accurately described as "onctueux") of sweet potato, crab, and hazelnuts; the caramelized pork chop, as moist as a cooked inch-thick chop could be; and a fondant of chocolate noir (a term I vastly prefer to dark chocolate), convinced us that there was one serious chef in the kitchen. We hope to have the opportunity to explore its menu in far greater depth soon.
LE COMPTOIR DES ARTS
100 rue Monge
10 Place Constantin Brancusi
30 rue Gay Lussac