Au Bon Coin
I will post photos when I go home.
Based on a few CH recommendations I used LaFourchette to obtain a reservation at Au Bon Coin. It is in the 5eme on Rue Collegiate. On Sunday there is no promotion but the prices were ok. 18E for a main and 7E for dessert. The service was fast and friendly. There was only one server and a few full tables but it was obvious that she knows what she is doing. I did not order a starter because I was planning a little food pit stop latter but she gave everyone a small glass of asparagus cream with olive oil and spices. It was excellent! I could have eaten that as a soup. I choose the Sea Bass with zucchini as my main course. The presentation was great, the skin was crisp and the zucchini was properly prepared. The flavors of the sauce blended very well with the moist fish. For dessert, I tried the millefeuille. I was surprised because it did not have many layers and I thought that made it not qualify. But my first taste was extraordinary. When I took the first bite, I was in Heaven. I always like to sample the different components of my dessert alone to see how they stand up and I was a little disappointed in the bites that did not contain the cherries. The flavor was a little too mild and the green cream was somewhat pasty. Not serious flaws but it was perfect with the cherries and okay without. Overall, a very good experience.
Thanks to everyone who has suggested it!
"It really is a delightful bistro du quartier that deserves more attention from Chowhounders."
Rarely do I disagree with the encylcopedic Parnassien but his description of it as a bistro du quartier undersells Au Bon Coin in the 5th (the one in the 18th isn't worth mentioning.)
I ate there for the first time today with two food-nuts who are ultra-critical bloggers and we thought it was the place we'd recommend to visitors as an authentic, fun, good, try to get this in San Francisco or the 16th type of place no matter what the schlep. Now, in fairness, we didn't truly "test" the carte because we all had the fat sliced liver, the likes of which I haven't seen since Chez Les Anges circa 1968.
Kudos to Parnassien, t19103, Arago and my friend Deluca.
(And, I shouldn't reveal my biases, but no English was heard.)
re: John Talbott
So there would be, at last, a good bistrot (aside from Dans les Landes) in my immediate neighborhood and I've never been there? Shame on me.
For some reason, the lower-cinquième is a Bermuda triangle for restaurants, with a definite black hole between the Jardin des Plantes and boulevard Saint-Marcel. If that one is as good as you say, the average rating of the area would rise vertiginously.
Thick-cut calf's liver is a thing of beauty. So far, only Jean-Paul Arabian at Le Caméléon served that. It is actually a rather rare kind of dish (I mean slab-cut, not just thick-cut). Maybe there's a connection.
I also discovered Au Bon Coin in the dog days of August and second the recommendation. It sounds as if the same server was on duty, she was kept busy but remained charming and friendly and everyone received good service. My main course was their unusual thick cut of calf's liver which was perfectly cooked. I didn't think the millefeuille was a complete success, the pistachio cream was a bit cloying.
Two points I would add: portions are generous and this is definitely a family-friendly bistro. There were two or three families with young children or babies all of whom seemed very happy. There are often questions about where to go with young kids, this would be a good option.
It was also a dog-friendly restaurant, but that's another story.
I'd just say that of the two, I preferred Le Buisson Ardent which I reviewed mid-August. For a price only a couple of euros more expensive than Au Bon Coin (with a LaFourchette deal), the cooking is definitely more creative.
OK, due to the great praise of this thread l went to this spot in driving rain tonight with a couple other hounds and l concur completely with all positive reviews. The highly praised liver was just that, a large chunk perfectly cooked, wonderful.
Their bottled sparkling water is Chateldon, at 5.5 euros, a great bargain. Our wines were a white manyied grape wonder from the Languedoc and an older Bordeaux at a nice price.
First courses were a crab salad, nice and Tada one of my favorite foie gras entier, large slice EVER. Housemade and dense and so luscious with toast and a gingersnap type puree.
Desserts were a watermelon and whipped cream, a chopped nectarine with cookie and sorbet, and mango sorbet.
Place looks right out of central casting for small Franch bistro from the 40's. The waitress was gangbusters, you cannot best her, totally competent and charming.
total 165 euros for three.
When Deluca praises, it's sorta like a papal pronunciation. Usually infallible (except for-- sticking tongue out-- L'Ami Louis).
But very chuffed you enjoyed the very enjoyable Au Bon Coin. It's been one of my secret favourites in the last year. But not so secret anymore. I'm beginning to regret I recommended it. Just joking (sorta)... everyone needs to sample a Paris bistro like Au Bon Coin to know what happiness is.