Just wanted to thank everyone on this board for their help planning this dining itinerary. We picked the restaurants that appealed to us but I can't help but feel somewhat disappointed considering our high expectations. This happened last year as well. We had a great time but had mixed dining experiences. Here's where we ate:
Monday dinner at Le Grand Bain was okay but largely forgettable for the food. Nice crowd mostly filled with locals. I believe I saw one other American couple. We had maybe 8 plates in total including two desserts...all served tapas style. Razor clams with salsa verde were served lukewarm and the salsa verde was poorly flavored. Celeriac Tonnato was probably the most interesting dish but tasty. The celeriac coated in tonnato sauce was texturally an interesting alternative to veal. Bavette with roasted fennel, chickpea fritters...everything was fine but it felt like the equivalent of wine bar food. Totally inexpensive meal. I believe 8 courses with 2 glasses of mediocre natural cabernet franc was 75 Eur. I wouldn't return but I didn't leave disappointed either. Service was super friendly and professional.
Tuesday lunch at Le MaZenay was good. I think this is not a destination place but if I lived nearby, it would be a standard option in Le Marais. I had the set lunch for 19 Eur...a house terrine was good as was the roast cod with winter vegetables. Everything cooked absolutely perfectly. Service was friendly and professional. Solid option for an inexpensive lunch.
Tuesday dinner at Le Servan. Surprised that it was almost all locals at 9pm. I liked this place but the food was merely good, not great. The bulots were sold out by the time we arrived so we had their signature clams in chili broth which were (once again) served lukewarm and a tasty scallop with bone marrow starter. Entrees were a perfectly fine roast duck and a pork belly dish. I can't fault it but wasn't blown away either. Service was great. I liked this place overall just wished the food impressed more.
Wednesday lunch at Le Bon Saint Pourcain. This was a hit. Expertly cooked upscale bistro lunch. Definitely higher prices but the service, the place and the food were all excellent. We had a fantastic house terrine and a leeks vinaigrette that were some of the best we've ever had. They ran out of steak so they made us a filet of pork that was perfectly cooked. The chef was japanese! Of course it was cooked perfectly (bad joke). Lunch for 2 courses each and a glass of bordeaux was close to 100 Eur but we enjoyed this place and would return. Crowd were mostly french businessmen on their lunch break.
Wednesday dinner at Tomy and Co. Probably our favorite meal. All locals, no americans. I think the patrons were surprised to hear english being spoken. Staff were super lovely. 45 Eur for 3 courses of that caliber was a steal. Very classy place...but very approachable. We had the famous gnocchi which were delicious and its usually not a dish I go for. My wife had the winter vegetable salad that was excellent. I had the oxtail with truffle over a bed of cauliflower. She had the roast duck. I think my dish was better. I had the Ossau-Iraty not realizing that it was mostly a savory cheese dessert. It was fine but not expected. With a glass of Saint Joseph, dinner was roughly 125 Eur including some extra supplements. Very impressed with this place.
Thursday lunch at Alliance. Uff...before our flight, I urged my wife to try Alliance instead of Les Climats. Perhaps we weren't in the mood for the food at such an early time (1215), but we went anyway. Beautiful little room in the 5th, super friendly front of house (gentleman in the glasses couldn't have been more friendly), we sat down for a calm, relaxing meal that just felt meh. We opted for their base lunch...4 courses plus some canapes. Service was exemplary and truly 1 star quality. I just couldn't help but not be impressed by the food. The technique was perfect. The pollack with asparagus was great as was the venison with beet root but it felt very formulaic. Perhaps it wasn't for us. Perhaps it was too early for a meal of that caliber. Perhaps we went overboard after eating this food for the last three days but I started to actually feel ill. I believe it may have been the starter of house terrine en croute that tasted undercooked. I ended up feeling ill all throughout our flight home. I can't pinpoint it to them nor do I want to but it happened. For 39 Eur, you do get quite a bit of food and try the chef's food but it wasn't for us...at least at this time.