Everyone who has lived in Paris for an extended period of time knows how much waiting is involved in every single administrative procedure related to settling here (and there are quite a few). After many months of not needing to go to neither the Prefecture de Police nor OFII, we found ourselves back in line getting P’s driving license converted. By the end of that long and arduous morning, we were starving and looking forward to a delicious and stress-relieving lunch.
From Porte de Clignancourt we made our way to Le Pantruche in the Pigalle district, a bistro recently awarded with the Michelin Guide’s bib gourmand status, a designation that recognizes restaurants to offer excellent rapport qualité-prix. Le Pantruche’s 34E dinner menu barely makes Michelin’s 35E cut-off, but at lunch, the value-proposition is further enhanced with a 18E 2 course menu composed of entrées and desserts of choice paired with a plat du jour.
Between the two of us, we shared a lukewarm bowl of creamy watercress soup, the centerpiece a scoop of fresh chopped oysters flecked with salty fish roe. Despite the assertive ocean scent emitted by the briny oysters, the flavors of the sweet meat and the slightly bitter watercress was very gentle. It would have been too gentle if not for the surprising kick of wasabi stealthily added to the cress.
The main course consisted of flank steak (bavette) accompanied by a tall disk of roughly mashed potatos. The meat was well-cooked, juicy and very flavorful though the potatoes were a little dry and bland despite the spices added into it. I decided to forgo the potatoes eventually to concentrate on eating the meat and the excellent bread.
Dessert was a textbook Grand Marnier and salted caramel souffle, like eating sweetly spiked air. It would’ve been perfect as an individual portion, as there wasn’t enough to split between the two of us.
After the delicious lunch, we left le Pantruche in much better spirits than when we first arrived. Still, our time was not completely relaxing. First, due to the spontaneous nature of our plans, we had not reserved a table for lunch and were offered the 2 bar seats at the counter, not the most comfortable place to be in a tight, animated restaurant. We witnessed the phone ringing off the hook and quite a few people who arrived after us being denied entry by the servers with a Gallic shrug and a “nous sommes complet” apology. So we plan to reserve in advance before our next trip. Second, the restaurant was packed and the staff, both kitchen and front-of-house was jammed, resulting in very long waits between courses even during lunch when at least 80% of the diners were having the same main course. Hopefully, they’ll have found their rhythm when we return.
Address: 3 Rue Victor Massé, 75009, Paris