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Sep 1, 2012 07:41 AM

Pirouette in the 1st: Perfection on the beaten path, hidden in plain view.

Recently, several posters have commented on places some of us eat at that are not on "the beaten path." Well, how about this one? Smack at Les Halles, like Poe's Purloined Letter or Ugati's Letters of Transit Pirouette, 5, rue Mondetour in the 1st,, closed Sundays, (Metro: Etienne Marcel) is a gem sitting in the sea of dreck, flotsam & jetsam merrily going its own way. Opened just 6 days ago, it has the coolest decor, the nicest staff and the best eel, langoustines and baba I've had in a very long time.
The not so pseudonymous Olivier Morteau in “Food Business: La face cachée de la gastronomie française” said the formula for a good restaurant in Paris was to "find a culinary dessert, a bold chef and set easy prices." Well here you have it. What could be more on and off the beaten track for good food than Les Halles?

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  1. Wonderful to hear. Merci, JT.
    I don't mean to doubt your words, but do you mean "culinary dessert" or "culinary desert" ?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      I do indeed think Morteau said desert but heck - desert/dessert, poisson/poison, "Iceberg, Goldberg, you are all the same." ...

      1. re: John Talbott

        Because one man's fish is another man's poisson....

          1. re: Parigi

            I know the original saying....but thought this version might be vaguely amusing in this context.

    2. Ms. L. and I lunched yesterday at "Pirouette" and were more than pleased. The decor is modern with blond wood, floor to ceiling wine cabinets and 2 level seating. There is an affordable lunch with 2 choices for €15, but we chose to order à la carte to try this Meurice alumnus' specialties. Our entrées were gnocchis with sliced pumpkin and parmesan and smoked pork belly...generous and delicious, and their dressed up version of "alouettes sans tête" which featured minced veal and chunks of foie gras wrapped in lardo de colonata in a mushroom sauce.

      Mains were pluma d'Iberica, which is the shoulder end of the pork loin, served with roasted sweet peppers and a side of thinly sliced roasted potatoes and pigeon royale which was the breast roasted with a rosy interior and the remainder minced, roasted and wrapped in a lightly wilted sucrine leaf. Both were better than good.
      The service was pleasant, the wine list varied and explanatory; this may be the best new opening of the Fall.
      Thanks to the constant searching of JT for this find.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Laidback

        Dear Laidback,
        You're welcome.
        It's always a pleasure to have you find pleasure where I have.
        With Pirouette, Vivant, Pierre Sang Boyer in Oberkampf, L'Atelier Vivanda, L'Office and Au Passage either opening or getting new chefs it has been a fine Fall indeed.

        1. re: Laidback

          "Thanks to the constant searching of JT for this find."
          well Laidback my friend, search no more. Their second place - Zebulon at the Palais Royal is every bit as good as the Mothership. A Cameroonian, via Kyoto, has arrived and every dish we had today hit a home run.
          I hesitate to say this, but given its location (Le Louvre etc) and Pirouette's clientele already, I suspect it will be in all the Chinese and Japanese guidebooks soon, so go. I intend to.
          Details at

          1. re: John Talbott

            *quickly trying to book flight to Paris*

            JT, you have such a following, I think this place will have hordes within a month or two.

            1. re: LulusMom

              Although I did not report back on our trip to Paris as I should have, due to some serious family craziness upon our return to NY ( 2 little kids sick for a LONG time each!), I will tell you that Pirouette was our fave dining experience of the whole trip b/c we felt the food and vibe was so on point with what we love. Innovative, relaxed, delicious food and drink. A wonderfully chilled out atmosphere and terrific service. I had the pleasure of talking with the chef after our dinner for a bit, and I was warmed and charmed by his approach and his outlook on food and dining in general.
              We enjoyed Bistro Paul Bert very much. We called it our " traditional" night and it didn't disappoint. wonderful food and tremendous service as well. Our server, the food and the lovely people sitting around us made the night very special for 1st time visitors to Paris
              I didn't love our dinner at Caius or Jules Verne, although JV had a fab experience and view. if I could do it again, and I hope to soon, I'd put one of the other highly recommended spots in that slot instead. But, The Husband really wanted to go.
              We had talked about on returning this Spring, and we look forward to re-vistiing our new favorite city.

              1. re: MRS

                Thanks to JT I have also enjoyed a wonderful diner at Pirouette. Totally agree with your feelings about it. Now I need to find a way back to Paris to try Zebulon.

                1. re: MRS

                  Very sorry about kids' sickness. Don't worry about reporting back. You can always report back after they get well and let us know how you put to use the 100+ replies to your threads.

              2. re: John Talbott

                JT, Zébulon must already be a strong recommendation in Japanese blogs. At dinner there last week, 3 or 4 tables of very trendy Japanese. And the same at Pierre Jancou's new and very good cave à manger Heimat on the rue Montpensier. The presence of hip Tokyo-ites or Japanese expats is one of my barometres for how good a resto is.

                I have always liked the Palais Royal quartier for the quality of its restaurants but now with the addition of Zébulon and Heimat (which I slightly prefer for the fun factor), it is now more than ever my favourite resto cluster in central Paris. Le Lulli, Aux Bons Crus, Franck Enée, Juvéniles, Le Grand Véfour, etc etc.

                1. re: Parnassien

                  We have always felt that a table of enthusiastic Japanese has validated our dining choice. We have found that as a culture, the Japanese do their homework in terms of politesse and cuisine, appreciate quality and enjoy trendy when it worthwhile. Their advance scouts are formidable.

                2. re: John Talbott

                  The pigeon I had tonight was just … porn !
                  Deluccacheesemonger: are you reading this ? Remember our pigeon in the Basque Country, at Olhabidéa ? It was that level. Hubby Poo think's Zébulon's was better: so tender that it could be cut with a fork, and juicy. - Ma non troppo, not like the time when Souphie-Julot and the selfsame DCM and I had a pigeon so bloody chez l'Ami Jean that blood ran on our thighs.
                  And with well thought-out garnitures: mine was the illusive crosnes. There were also topinambour (Jerusalem artichoke) purée. Hubby Poo had creamy Bokchoi and chouxfleur and little bit of agrumes (persimmon ?) with his coquille St Jacques, perfectly defined.

                  My starter was already an unbeatable quail, tender inside, crisp skin outside, fat nowhere, accompanied by well-textured couteaux. I could have already committed harakiri then.
                  Hubby Poo's starter was fried egg with dried beef. I wished I had 2 starters, his and mine. I wish I had everything to me.
                  Completely defeated, we had no room for desert.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    No, this POST is porn! Comparing it to l'Ami Jean. And the garnitures. Too much. Too much.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Major yum, will do when l get there in May.
                      Also interesting on restos using crosnes and topinambour in same meal. Same thing happened to me at a lunch at Porte 12.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Crosnes and topinambour are often on tasting menus this time of year.

                        1. re: mangeur

                          I often find topinambour in the markets, but rarely crosnes, except at the Weird Vegetable Lady's stand atPlace d'Anvers.

                          1. re: Parigi

                            (I found topinambour at the Clement St. farmers' market several weeks ago. The seller said that his friend sold crosnes at Stonestown. Both markets on Sundays. Haven't had time to get to Stonestown.)