We ended up at Cassé Noix last Monday when our original plans fell through and we had to scramble for a last minute substitute that was preferably close to home. For a hastily made plan though, dinner was not bad at all at this unassuming bistronomic spot under the eaves of the Eiffel Tower. The setting was quaintly retro and “spacious” for Parisien standards (“spacious” in parentheses because our American guests did not think so at all), conducive for small talk in between bites of smooth complementary terrine on crusty bread.
Like its brethren of modern bistros in the city, Le Cassé Noix offers a well-priced, well cooked 32e menu as well as certain specials that may or may not require supplements. My salmon millefeuille was one such special, a substantial starter of creamy salmon rillette deftly lightened with light-as-air pastry, pesto and a generous cap of chopped parsley and dill. I had just eaten something similar at Le Belisaire, and look forward to trying more iterations if the savory millefeuille dish indeed becomes a trend.
The rest of the table, somewhat lacking in imagination, all chose the warm scallop salad. Though the size of those scallops could’ve been bigger, the natural sweetness of the mollusks was a perfect foil with the earthiness of cooked beetroot, the spiciness of mache and the savory bite that the cheese shavings brought. As we did our meal recaps after each night of their stay, A would still refer back to this as the restaurant dish she enjoyed the most.
The mains were similarly well received, with P and A taking the succulent pork chops bathed in chorizo jus and TPS and Thomas recipients of a fat white steak of roasted whiting.
I ordered the guinea fowl, eager to eat it once more as game season draws to an end. With the delicious meat stuffing and the accompaniment of sour braised red cabbage, the dish reminded me of Christmas in Alsace. Of course, this dish was way more refined than the vats of chou-croute and fat boiled sausages that we made meals out of there.
Of the desserts, the ile flottante elicited the most wows, not least for its size, a gigantic cube of quivering egg-white bobbing around in a deep pool of sinful creme anglaise. Toasted nuts and caramel added extra flavor and texture, while the fleur d’oranger added another dimension to the taste. Yummy!
As previously mentioned, Le Cassé Noix is extremely well-located for tourists who fancy a bite before or after scaling the Eiffel Tower, and for that reason, we weren’t surprised to see a mix of both French and English speakers at the restaurant. But it still remains under the radar when compared to restaurants on the 7eme side of the Champs de Mars that get all the attention from guide books and newspaper write-ups. For those willing to veer away from those well reviewed restaurants however, Le Cassé Noix is a worthy option to hide away for a cozy dinner.
Address: 56, rue de la Fédération, 75015 Paris (closed weekends)