We both had visitors last weekend and needed to find a restaurant close to home, yet also convenient for guests. Since the Eiffel Tower was also on our friends’ sightseeing list, we proposed meeting at Thoumieux for dinner before strolling over to see la Tour Eiffel blinking at the hour (though that never happened due to an electrical malfunction that night).
Our group of 5 devoured the fresh, slightly warm bread, served with good butter and tins of tuna rillette. The bread came in whole loaves, a nice touch from the usual baskets of pre-cut and perhaps recycled slices.
Our server highly recommended the calmar sauvage, and it was definitely a great appetizer. The squid, cut to resemble fat fettucine noodles was ultra tender, and dressed in the heartstoppingly rich carbonara style, a perfectly poached egg, crispy bacon lardons and a shower of parmesan cheese all included.
There were quite a few non-French culinary influences on the menu though my husband dutifully ordered one of the most traditional menu item (the other husband had the most traditional, a steak), a slow cooked veal dish. The 2 medallions of veal looked puny on the vast white plate, so it was surprising he felt full afterwards. But, the two slices of meat was very nicely done, flavorful and juicy, with a condiment of tuna belly paste that added a funky kick to the dish.
My plate of seared bonito looked much heftier in comparison. 3 thick slices of fish similar in taste and texture to tuna were accompanied with cured ham, a pepper and potato hash and dashes of red pepper powder, evoking Basque notes. I did not try the other entrees, but our friends seemed to be enjoying their food, though I note the miniscule portion of shrimp on the ex-housemate’s plate.
The dessert list looked a little humdrum with the usual suspects but we were again pleasantly surprised with what we ordered. An order of the tart of the day yields petite slices of the 3 tarts on offer, the rhubarb sadly a sour disaster though the strawberry and ultra-dark chocolate slices were well received. The upside down creme caramel had excellent texture and taste and my vacherin glacé, with the mellow sweetness of banana married to the tangy notes of freshly zested lime reminded me of summer, which alas, has not yet arrived in Paris.
Thoumieux was the first Costes establishment we’ve visited since moving to Paris 3 months ago. True to form, the decor was extremely handsome, the sumptuous red banquettes looking richer under the dim glow of the antique green lamps and candlelight, its mirrored walls looking much more modern and chicer than the garden variety bistro or brasserie. We had also expected the fashionable crowds and the indifferent service. And yes, it was somewhat overpriced for the portions and type of food being churned out. But as for the purported mediocre and identikit food? Well, there must be some advantages of partnering with Jean Francois Piege, a talented and pedigreed chef. If anything, it makes me excited about trying out his fine dining spot upstairs soon!
79 Rue St Dominique, 75007, Paris