Every try and ask that someone special for a date, only to be turned down again and again, with the usual excuse that they are already ‘’busy ?’’ So it was for Le Temps Au Temps, as every time I called – usually only a day or two in advance – to be told by politely ‘’desolé, nous sommes complet’’ (sorry, we are full). So this time when I called for a date, again, just one day in advance, I expected the usual turn-down only to be told I could get a table for two at 8 :30 (but not 9 :00, as I originally requested).
Le Temps Au Temps comes from the French saying ‘’Il faut laisser du temps au temps’’, which loosely translates to the English phrase we all know, but with the usual French elegance : ‘’Time will make things right if you just let it.’’ So it was through time (and perserverance) that things would be right and we would have the opportunity to enjoy probably the best fixed price menu in Paris for under 30 Euros – a fabulous bargain for an entrée, plat and dessert.
A truly classic bistro in every way, Le Temps Au Temps squeezes a mere eight tables – seven side by side – in a narrow dining room that is barely the size of a large walk-in closet. The decor is sparse and simple in decor but people are here to enjoy the food. Even so, the restaurant remains comfortable and charming, with lively conversation among all of the Parisian diners (no tourists at this place!). With a single waiter gliding between the tables, the partially open kitchen seems even smaller, and quiet, when you notice the chefs working their magic in dishing the food before it is swiftly served to the table.
Large chalkboard menus in elegant cursive writing showcase the daily menu on the walls for all diners to see. The waiter handed me a carte du vin, which provided an extensive choice of wines, champagnes and spirits. Wines by the glass are available for as little as 4 Euros per glass, and we had a solid 2005 Saint Joseph red (33 Euros), as recommend by the waiter to complement our varied dishes of filet de bar (sea bass) and rôti d’agneau (roasted lamb).
Our dinner was delightful. The pumpkin soup with crisp bacon was a perfect starter on a cold rainy night, and my champignons fricassés with a poached egg cooked to perfection was equally delicious. Joy’s filet de bar (sea bass) was sautéed perfectly, had a delightful crusted skin formed a nice tasty crust, all served over a mélange of roasted vegetables. My roasted lamb was meaty and tender, with a nice complement of vegetables and a beautifully seasoned rich jus. In terms of flavor, the desserts were standouts as well. The tapioca pudding contained a spoonful of orange marmalade and was topped with a dab of chocolate, and my mousse au chocolat noir, topped with a pistache sorbet and a crisp cookie wafer, all came together for a perfect ending to an outstanding dinner.
Located on Rue Paul Bert in the out-of-the-way 11th arrondissement (a few minutes from Bastille), this tiny street has become a gastronomic destination, along with a number of other nearby chic bistros and restaurants, including Bistro Paul Bert and Unico (a former butcher shop turned into a sleek Argentine beef restaurant). Le Temps Au Temps is not only a standout on Rue Paul Bert, but a standout in its class throughout Paris.
Make your date with Le Temps Au Temps at least one week in advance, though two weeks’ notice would even be better. See http://www.tempsautemps.com/page.html.
Faidherbe – Chaligny ou Charonne
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
13, Rue Paul Bert
Contact Information :
Tél. : 01 43 79 63 40