Destinations Magazine

L'Insolite in the 18th: Aux Armes, Citoyens De Montmartre, We Gotta Winner Here.

By Johntalbott

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5.4 L'Insolite, 58, rue du Poteau in the 18th,, closed Sundays and Mondays (Metro: Jules Joffrin), opened a few weeks ago right across from my new flat - Colette said "let's go."  I said "Minute, Papillion, lemme try it first." 

Now, we live on this incredible market street (Poteau, Duhesme/etc.) but until the Table d'Eugene (Sue) set up shop, we've strived to find walk-to-food-places.  I won't bore you with the stories of places moving, in, glowing, dying and dead within months but if there's an opposite of Nancy's Feng Shui food streets/quarters, this is it.  The Bermuda Triangle of ambitious restaurateurs.

So it was with great hesitation I called to reserve today.  "Yikes," I said, "you just have brunch today?"  "Oh, no, we have a regular carte." Whew.  I enter and have the house to myself.  Window seat; wonderful.

Enter the wait-guy who has a few teeth issues (my best friend, the dentiste, lives but a few meters away.)  "Because it's the school holidays, we don't have everything, but I would recommend, blah blah blah. And everything is fresh, made in house, bio, nature, blah blah blah."

"So I'd like the blanquette de veau."  "Sorry." 

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For a first I went with the assortment of tapas (they feature many tapas at their Happy Hours).  They ranged from a curried cake to potato to pulverized oeuf mayo on toasty (very good) and a nice salad with a terrific dressing.  Then (told the blanquette, which I'd hankered after, was unavailable - School Holiday week and all that jazz) I had a magret de canard that was not half-bad, with fries that were not crisp.  I finished off with pain perdu (that on my bill said "lost toast") that was a good endiing.

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Pauses: Between courses, I sipped my wine and watched an astonishing parade of folks going by the window; old folks, young folks, gay guys and mixed race couples, blacks from the ex-colonies, Muslims, long hairs and short hair and no hair and one guy whose hair levitated from his head like an American Indian headress, women (not men) smoking, ugly people, beautiful people, people with dogs, henna, bleached and shocking pink hair.  All this on the street in from of my apartment building.  It was like a choreographed line from a Broadway musical.

My bill, with three courses a la carte, 50 cl of wine, no bottled water and Ethiopian (there were three choices) Illy coffee, was 42.50 E.

Go?  While not usually a subscriber to the Randy-of-Paris philosophy of the "total restaurant experience" this time I was - the welcome, service and au revoir, from waiter and owner, was great,  the food as advertisedwas fresh, made in house and reasonable and the passing scene a great distraction.  A destination, no, but for the 'nabe, good choice.  And the music was terrific French stuff that never caused the noise level to exceed 64.6 dB's.

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