Destinations Magazine

Comptoir Tempero in the 13th: This Guy is Exciting; the Food, the Feeling, the Friendly Prices, Wow!

By Johntalbott

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7.8 Le Comptoir Tempero, 124, Blvd Vincent Auriol (you remember him, the first president of the Fourth Republic from 1947 to 1954, well I do) right off the Square Pinel (he who took the chains off mental patients), 01.45.84.15.35, no reservations at least at lunch, (Metro: Nationale), closed weekends and Monday, is the off-shoot of Tempero, also in the 13th, where the Brazilian-Franco-Viet Namian couple set up their first place.  Confession: I never went because "Brazilian-Franco-Viet Namian food" sounded confused, how wrong I was.  The outside is the now-standard minimalist gray gun-metal, the inside raw wood and cool walls.

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The amuses were those spicy little balls, the bread good, no very good, really really good and the wines, starting at 23 E a bottle - impressive.  Oh and the menu/carte seemed Ok, but nothing out of the ordinary - how wrong I was.

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Oh, how wrong.  My first was called gyozas of lamb with beets, but the raviolis were perfectly cooked and perfectly set off by a spicy beet sauce; my main was called seabass with black rice, but the bass was perfectly sourced and marinated in some tasty thing, and its skin was crispy crunchy and came with beets two ways (confited and cooked) and a huge 1/2 carrot; and my dessert, a cheesecake the likes of which Philadelphia has never seen - about the best ever.

So to the bill.  3 courses here are 20 E (no, not kidding), a bottle of wine 23 E, so for two, with no bottled water but coffee (superb, beans ground before your very eyes), tossing in a supplement for the bar, a couple can easily exit starting at 64 E.  Decibel level = 82.3 dB.

Go?  Lordy me yes.  I've been reading reviews and Hounders talking about 400 E - $1000 meals that may be nice stuff from Ducasse & Savoy (both of whom I've eaten with) but this sort of place with a young exciting chef is more interesting to me at this point in my life.  BTW, the tables were full by 13h00.


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