On Boulevard Montparnesse, next to four more storied neighbors — La Coupole, Le Dôme, La Rotonde and Le Relais de L’Entrecôte — sits Le Select, a more dress-down Brasserie with worn wooden tables and chairs, big mirrors, beaming brass and tiled floor. This is old Paris, exuding its worn charm from when it was established back in 1923 and Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Picasso were regulars.
It’s perfect for sipping Whiskey — it has pages of liqueurs to choose from — and since it’s more casual, it is actually a great place to bring children on a Sunday afternoon for lunch. We checked all of the other restaurants and none had any dishes for children (La Coupole had a menu enfant, but that consisted of salmon and veal scallops — fine for experienced little gourmands raised in Paris — but not a fan favorite for less worldly little American travelers), but Le Select had a plat of saucisse frankfort, i.e., hot dogs, with frites (at only 10 Euros per plate).
So as we had no other choice we went, and what a pleasant surprise. First, we had our labrador pup, Cosmo, who was treated by loyalty by our waiter, in his lovely white jacket and green Le Select tie. Our waiter was smiling and cheerful, and truly one of the most splendid and gentile waiters we have ever had in Paris. He told he us had a five year-old labrador, and his affection for dogs showed. He came back with ham, on Le Select china, not for us, but for Cosmo to eat, gratuit. And when he finished that, he came back and gave him a second helping as well.
I ordered a dozen fresh oysters, served on a large tin plateau and with shaved ice, buried under seaweed. As in any good brasserie, these oysters were freshly shucked and simply superb, and, for under 30 Euros, a relative bargain (about 2.50 per oyster). My two boys each had a plate of saucisse frankforts — two very large hot dogs — New York style, sizzling hot and served on a heaping plate of luscious golden, fresh hot frites, cut bite sized and delicious. My wife had an entrecôte with bernaise sauce. It didn’t look spectacular, but was flavorful, tender, perfectly seasoned and quite delicious, even if the bernaise itself was only satisfactory.
After Cosmo wolfed down his second helping of ham on Le Select china, we saw another visitor peering down at a fat cat – so fat in fact, it could easily have been mistaken for a puffy fat poodle. The cat, it turned out, was Mickey, the house cat. He normally sits near the bar, but apparently grew jealous over the waiter’s affection for Cosmo. Mickey jumped back up on the bar once Cosmo waddled towards the exit.
In short, if you want to experience a bit of tradition, and find something suitable for kids, Le Select is a nice choice, and reasonably priced, especially for a leisurely Sunday brunch.
Address: 99 Boulevard Montparnesse, 75006 Paris
Open seven days per week. Reservations unnecessary.