Paris restaurants with a soul; what would they be?
OK - So, Parnassien started this off on another thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/897113 with
"Ok, I start with Taxi Jaune in the 3rd, Les Pipos in the 5th, Ober-Salé in the 11th, and Etchegorry in the 14th.
And I'll plunge in with the Dernier Metro, the original Regalade and Vivant before Jancou took leave.
The most soulful restaurant I can think of right now in Paris is the Beninese bistrot Fifa, rue Joseph-Dijon, in the 18th.
Nioumré on rue des Poissonniers is not bad either.
Before the food, I find soul in the passion of the chef and how it flows onto the plate and out into the dining room. Original Spring had soul. So did early Les Papilles. Rino then and now. A handful of other tiny modern kitchens have it, all oozing with pride of creation.
Sometime it is the waitstaff who provide it. Machon d'Henri has it as the waiter pops out into the alley to shake hands when we pass during the day. So does our touristy Sunday night pizza place but only because of our waiter with whom we've grown old.
I second La Régalade for soul.
I would add "Gustibus" on rue St. Sébastien in the 11th. It's Italian, I wouldn't say the food knocked me off my socks, so I wouldn't make it a "destination restaurant", however all the dishes were generous, hearty, good, and soulful (so was the service). A special mention to the homemade 4-hour panna cotta (made without gelatin)... a true soul gem.
"Soul", of course, and especially in English, is a word that can have practically any meaning you choose it to have.
I assume we are not talking about Southern US style, here, rather an essence or a feeling of a place.
My vote is for a little place that actually does small plates only, Vingt Vins d'Art in the 4th on rue de Jouy. It's combined with an art gallery atmosphere with some museum quality exhibitions, a couple of which have made me breathless, they were so fabulous.
As far as Taxi Jaune, it's excellent if you like to eat Horses, otherwise it's an unremarkable (if a bit above average) French bistro. My opinion.