Destinations Magazine

Le BAT in the 9th: Just a Bar a Tapas/tartares - Not!

By Johntalbott

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7.6 Le BAT, 16bis Boulevard Montmartre (Metro: Grands Boulevards),, closed weekends, is supposedly named Le BAT because at lunch it is a bar a tartares and at dinner a bar a tapas, but that's a gross understatement of its food. It's located in the weirdest restaurant location, on the Grands Boulevards among the McDo's, Indiana Cafes, Hard Rock and Chipotle's of the world - and I passed it twice before realizing it was there.  It's got a very open bar/kitchen and a lot of wines (starting at 5 E) open and by the bottle (25 E and up).  But first, some:

Backstories and disclosures: My oldest food critic pal, whom I refer to as the RFC (real food critic) in an attempt to shield my friends from unwanted negative publicity having eaten with me, emailed me in November when it opened and suggested we go for lunch.  I read the reviews and called and asked - "Is it true you only serve tartares for lunch?" "Yes, and tapas in the evening."  Told the RFC - "Nah" he said. But then as I read more & more I figured out it was based on a tartare concept but broke out of the reins reliably.

So, I said, "will you reserve?"  "Sure, in your (that is my, name)."  OK, understandable, since he's fairly well-known -so well-known that upon leaving the resto a young couple asked if the male half could take a photo of him with the female half of the couple (of course he was flattered and agreed).  Anyway, he said he couldn't get there at 12h30 so 13h00 would be better and he'd try to negotiate more than tartares with the chef.  Well, I enter at 12h55 and there he is at the counter in a heated discussion with Chef Yariv Berreby, whom I recognized from the Ledeuil Empire. Oh yah, I recalled, the place is staffed with ex-ZKG and KGB folks.  Indeed within seconds JeromeTaverny appeared and said "Mr. Talbott, how's your wife?"  Jeez, did the air go out of my balloon.

Final backstory and disclosure: I love William Ledeuil, ZKG and KGB beyond measure and could not imagine any of his culinary progenies failing to deliver really interesting food.

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We wrestled over what to have with both the chef and Jerome and finally settled on an attempt to try a lot of different things, including one tartare.

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Our first - shared - was a seafood (mussels, razor clams, clams, cilantro, leaves of this and that and the sort of spices and herbs one loves at ZKG/KGB, were there - it was the highlight of our meal.  But not shabby were the plates of lightly smoked carpaccio of monkfish with radishes and tartare of veal.

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Now Nosy or Nosey Parker that I am, I spotted some vegetable tempura headed towards another couple and said to my pal "That wasn't on the menu - did you see it? - we gotta get some."  The chef with a big smile said "Nope, no more" and promptly delivered an order.  Apparently it accompanies another dish but we settled into my fine barbu with slices of big differently colored Japanese radishes and my friend's quasi of veal which he took a few bites of and said - "boring."  I misheard him and had a piece but dropped it inadvertently in my condiment of kumquat "chutney" (my descriptor) and the veal came alive, wonderfully alive.

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At this point we were out of wine and after much discussion settled on glasses of La Rosine, described as a "serious Syrah" and they showed us the evening tapas menu (above) which looks really good.

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Our bill was picked up by my friend, but if one had 3 courses (at 25 E) and wine and coffee and a half-bottle of water, I'd guess it to be 100-110 E per couple.

Go?  Fast, it was full of locals at 13h00, but also visit the loo to see some great whimsical art.

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