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Oct 29, 2012 03:43 AM


As Septime is one of the few restos that does internet reservations, I went ahead and booked it for lunch. And so glad I did.
We had a wonderful lunch at Septime. Great corner table, nice room with good acoustics and a really fine waitstaff. We choose the three course lunch as the five course was not possible dining with a vegetarian.
We had the egg in mushroom broth and blood sausage in celery for starters. The blood sausage was excellent and the celery puree served with it was a revelation. Who knew celery could taste that good? the egg and broth was very good, with an excellent mushroom broth. I had the hake with shallot sauce that was light, sweet and tender. The assortment of vegetables served with it were especially well done - and I really liked the cabbage with a slight char to it. My dining partner had the breast of duck with corn. The duck was done perfectly and the corn was good, but coming from corn country, it was not great. I don't believe it detracted in anyway, nonetheless. Our vegetarian was served a plate of perfectly cooked vegetables with the same shallot sauce, that she declared were the best veggies she had ever eaten. High praise from a vegetarian who doesn't like vegetables (don't ask).
Dessert, a chocolate mousse with sour apple puree was probably the low point. It was good - but nothing outstanding. If I had not taken a picture and made notes, I would not have remembered it.
The room was filled with a nice mix of what appeared to be locals and tourists. With cameras. Taking pictures of their food.
A high point in our week for sure.

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  1. There has been much discussion here about the difficulty getting into Septime (as there has about Spring, Frenchie, etc.)
    So, I have a solution (all of you who want to keep these places secret, please cover your eyes and ears).
    Bertrand Grébaut opened a third place on Charonne, dedicated to seafood a few weeks ago and because I'm a lunch-only guy I put it on my famous "dinner-only-wait-til-they-come-to-their-senses" list. But yesterday a dear dining friend said they are open for lunch weekends - with no f****ng BRUNCH.
    No reservations, lots of stools at the counter/bar, while I was there for a Sunday lunch they only turned one couple away.
    And the food is simple (not as in simpleton but as in identifiable seafood with clear, clean, fresh tastes), from good products, without frou-frou frills, in moderately small plates.
    In short, food-frenzied-folk, you could do worse. (Plus my bill was 76 E.)

    19 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      As far as getting into Septime and Spring and Frenchie is concerned, I have another take: Don't sweat it. On a recent trip to Paris we ate at Hugo Desnoyer, reserved well in advance, and at Clandestino, which was perilously empty on the evening we were there. Both meals were excellent, both restaurants provided distinctive experiences. The cooking at Clandestino was some of the most refined, and simple, that I have ever tasted. The spicing of the dishes was sublime.

      1. re: bcc

        "Hugo Desnoyer, ....Clandestino"
        Right now Hugo D. is #1 on my 2013 list and Clandestino not far behind in 2012, actually after Masa, L'Escargot, Flora, Pirouette, Vivant, and Pierre Sang etc etc, So are these places now chopped liver?
        As many of us here (Parnassien being the champ), keep saying, you don't need to just go to the "Top 10", there are many other wonderful opportunities, even in - gasp - Boulogne-Billancourt or Levallois-Perret.

        1. re: John Talbott

          I should have specified that I chose the restaurants based on your recommendations.

        2. re: bcc

          "Don't sweat it" is indeed the best advice. Some hard-core foodies and the FOMO folks might get a thrill from suffering for their pleasures but we less masochistic types do not. As for Septime (love it!), I usually survive as a cancellation-vulture and give them a ring the day before or the day of. My success rate in getting a table at short notice is about 60%. If they are full, I try Rino or La Gazzetta or Le 6 Paul Bert or any of the other 2 dozen excellent eateries in the same neighbourhood. Aucun problème.

          I totally agree with JT's assessments of Hugo Desnoyer and Clandestino. But at the moment Desnoyer is too way too hot for us last-minute Johnnies and I haven't had much luck with my cancellation vulturing except at lunch... and Auteuil is not exactly full of alternatives to risk trying Hugo D without a rezzie. But even with Desnoyer, if I can't get a table I just shrug my shoulders and try somewhere else. Clandestino on the other hand is magic... after a bout of FOMO-type frenzy, it's now an easy rezzie... stuck at the dull end of the rue Crozatier and little removed from the action around the Aligre quartier, its location works against it (which is fine by me).... given the quality and unbelievable value, I am however surprised that it gets so little traction on Chowhound while the less good places (i.e. Frenchie) are still the subject of anguish and desire... and bravo to bcc for following the JT trail to Clandestino... and bravo to JT for signposting the trail.

          And please Chowhounders, let's enjoy and discover Paris rather than follow the very rutted tourist path to the handful of better known but often over-hyped restaurants on your bucket lists. JT's list of "Masa, L'Escargot, Flora, Pirouette, Vivant, and Pierre Sang etc etc" is a great start (but shhh, I do have some misgivings about Vivant).

          1. re: Parnassien

            "I do have some misgivings about Vivant"
            Ah ha, Parnassien, what have you heard since Jancou left; I was assured that all was kept stable.
            Maybe I need to demote it.

            1. re: John Talbott

              JT, my misgivings about Vivant Table are purely subjective and mostly non-foodie ... cuisine is still very good and the art-nouveau "cadre" is superb but the prices have risen, the clientele is more monotone and earnest, and the electric presence of Pierre Jancou is often missing.

              1. re: Parnassien

                Thanks Parnassien; I've been tracking Jancou for about a decade and his presence is truly important; even at La Crémerie, where he was cranking the sausage machine in freezing weather, chatting away - that's worth something.

        3. re: John Talbott

          Yeah, this is good news, for all the reasons you stated. I hate brunch, I just don't get it. It is often difficult to find a normal lunch on the weekends, if places are even open then. BTW, I never found it difficult to reserve with Septime, maybe I was lucky, but I just kept watching for open days on their website. They are fussy about reconfirming, however. I think our next stay will be in the 11th - lots of good eating in this hood.

          1. re: francaise

            "I hate brunch."
            One trick I've found is to ask if it's only brunch or if they also have a regular carte (as Jeanne A. has). Someimes write-ups and websites say Sunday brunch but a place has regular food too.

            1. re: francaise

              "I hate brunch"
              Of course. People who truly appreciate food hate brunch. Brunch is "do" food, as in "this'll do".
              And when you "do" brunch, all you can hope for is a good bloody mary to enhance good company. Food is not the issue. In some good burnch places (like "military intelligence"), one should eat before going.

              1. re: Parigi

                I love it kindred spirits - I so agree brunch is really two good meal ruined.

                1. re: Parigi

                  I like brunch when it's good. Duh.

                  1. re: Ptipois

                    If it is congee, or a curry tiffin, duh !
                    But i'd just call it good breakfast, or good lunch. :)

                    1. re: Ptipois

                      The problem with brunch, for me, is that way too often it's prepared by hungover cooks for a hungover crowd, so that the standards are not particularly high.

                      1. re: Nancy S.

                        "hungover cooks for a hungover crowd"
                        Actually, I think/suspect that places serving brunch have the junior varsity or maybe the red-shirts doing it not the regulars.

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          Agree--I was going to add a "B-Team" reference . . .

                        2. re: Nancy S.

                          Hence Bloody Mary ! Just writing it makes me feel better. :)

                      2. re: Parigi

                        Pfff, some foodies are such fundamentalists!... so many do's and don'ts. At the risk of having fire and brimstone raining down on me, I do like a good brunch... great time for us flâneurs for socializing and punctuating a parisien Sunday. Even the old-testament prophet-type foodies might enjoy Auberge Flora in the 11th after a wander through the Marché Bastille, Colorova in the 6th or Les Enfants Perdus near the Canal Saint-Martin if they give it a try.

                        1. re: Parnassien

                          As if brunch wasn't bad enough, now we have "lunner" and "lupper" in our North American vernacular, which is a merging of lunch-dinner, and lunch-supper. A lunner or lupper is an early dinner, for those that can't or won't commit to a proper dinner time. (Or for those who ate "brunch", and are now looking for "lunner" ;)