Destinations Magazine

Miznon in the 4th: The Wackiest, Weirdest, Wonderful "food Experience" of 2014.

By Johntalbott

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4.0 Miznon (as you'll see, I thought the food was a 6, my dining partner a 4 but the service was a solid 0), 22, rue des Ecouffes in the 4th, (don't bother telephoning or, just show up early if you want a table), open everyday 12-12 except Shabbos (Metro: St Paul) is a "trip."  When I first read about it, its food was described as Tev Aviv street food and the service like one finds in a kibbutz.  Sounded right to me and perfect for my old Franco-American friend who lives and works nearby, is a passionate Zionist and knows from Tel Aviv, where the Mothership of Miznon exists.  So, you walk up the rue des ecouffes and there's this minimalist place, OK, normal in Paris these days, whose windows and interior are filled with piles of fresh veggies; a carte on a blackboard written as if in a children's cantine, also routine here these days; and a wooden spoon for the handle in the toilet - now that was different. 

But the sense you get from the place is utter chaos - chefs are scarfing down food at the counter, hued guys (Sri Lankan, African, who knows?) are schlepping boxes of stuff in and to the cellar, tables aren't set (when they are it's only with a big aluminum bowl and a napkin dispenser - for forks you have to climb over the owners discussing business on a couch) and they're in no way ready to receive customers at 12 noon.  I think it's a hoot; my guest enters and says "I've ever seens anything so disorganized in my life, are you sure this is a restaurant?"  No, I say "it's an experience.  Lighten up."  "But I know Tel Aviv, this is nothing like Tel Aviv."  "Let's see." "Did you look at the carte when you came in?"  "No"  "So go now."

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"I can't see much to eat, except the lamb kebab."
"Me too, why don't you go order two please."
Long wait, she comes back
"We have to order and pay now at the counter but I told her you were a food critic so we'll get served quickly."
"Oh no you didn't."
Approach counter-lady.
"That's all you want?"  "No vegetables?"  Throws out suggestions.  "Cabbage, sweet potato, ratatouille, artichoke?"
"It's not ready yet."
"OK, so just two kebabs a tarte tatin and some wine, you have a list?"
"List?"  "Hey, Youssef, what'd'we got for wine?"
"I'm busy."
3 minutes later, anothe wait-lady schleps in a case of Merlot (Kosher of course).
We take condiments to table, sometime later a woman shouts "E., sweet potato."
"Well, I'm E. but we never ordered one."
"Yes you did."
"Can we have our money back or some other vegetable?"
Minutes pass,
"E., kebabs."
But what they really were, were lamb meatballs in a pita.  By my lights, darn nice, crisp meatballs, OK meatballs, I'm happy."
But she says "this isn't a kebab, none of those things on a chalkboard described the real food."
"Hey E., this is an experience."
"And who ever saw a tart tartin like this?"
"Come on, it's dried apple slices, warmed up with caramel with a pseudo-hot-dog-roll made of pita, it's cool."
She exits to return to her cabinet to work.  I exit but try to get our veggie - no way.

The bill, including our undelivered veggie, was 54 E.

Go?  Me I would, but Colette never will (dB level over 80 dB) and my friend E. will cross the road before going by it again.

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