The sixth is the center of our Parisian universe.  Though we take up just a tiny sliver of its 0.8 square mile (about 300 square feet to be exact), we have spent a large chunk of our dining hours within its boundaries, everywhere from hole-in-the-wall joints to nicer sit-down restaurants to the well-frequented Monoprix supermarket for a meal back at home.  There remain many known and unknown gems to be sampled but we have no doubt that we will get through most of them, or fail trying.  After all, we love eating as much as we love living where we live.
 
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Four Baguettes
   
Polidor
41, rue Monsieur Le Prince
01.43.26.95.34
M° Odéon

 
Euro - 9 to 16
You’ve got to love a restaurant with a wry sense of humor.  On entry, a large sign up above, in the center of the place for all to see, reads:  “Le Polidor n’accepte pas les cartes crédit depuis 1845.”  (There is also an English translation for the healthy international share of the clientele.)  While it has not accepted credit cards in over a century and a half – or ever – all told, Polidor has been serving diners ever since in a cozy interior full of mirrors and period details.  We’ve been living within a stone’s throw of this historical place for over a year but did not know about its existence until we came across it in a pre-movie advertisement.  The ad was a convincing piece with a smattering of words heralding the food (typiquement française, authentique) along with a long list of clienteles (écrivains, artistes, intellectuels).  We decided that if it was good enough for those great men and women, we just had to check it out ourselves (if it wasn’t too expensive).
 
 
 
 
 
  Goes well with bread:  The confit de foie de porc.
 
 

 
 
 
 
  Just a barebone starter, there is more going on with the table mat:  The oeuf mayonnaise (3.50€).
 
 
When we arrived the place was full but the waitress found us a spot.  We squeezed into a space between two sets of diners at a long table with red-and-white checkered tablemat.  We remarked that this place was very much in the same vein of our favorite “working-class” restaurant, Chartier in the 9th.  We eyed our neighbors’ food and studied the menu while stealing looks at the harried, middle-age waitress running to and fro.  When she came by at last to take our orders we also asked for the usual carafe d’eau.

Food wise, Riot went with the decently-priced 22€ menu, selecting the standard confit de foie de porc and boeuf bourguignon.  Because the menu choices did not include her favorite oeuf mayonnaise (3.50€), Nez got that à la carte along with the joues de porc au curry de Madras  (11€).  Our starters came out immediately and so did the delicious chilled rosé (the wines are very nicely-priced here as well).  But where was our water?  We each grabbed a piece of bread from the basket and dug into our simple paté and egg dishes.  Both were as expected; we, however, might have consumed too much bread.
 
 
 
 
 
 
  I want what my neighbor is having:  The joues de porc au curry de Madras  (11€).
 
 
 
 
 
  A simple rendition of the classic:  The boeuf bourguignon.
 
 
 
 
Nez’s main course would not have been her first choice because curry is not what she typically thinks of when she thinks of French food.  She only ordered it because she thought it was the same dish as the lady’s next to her.  It wasn’t.  Nevertheless, it was enjoyable and came with a large scoop of mashed potato.  Curiously, we could have sworn that the “pork” tasted exactly like the “beef” in Riot’s boeuf bourguignon.  Was “joues de porc,” or pork cheeks, a play on word and was in fact a bovine term?  We scoured the web later but found nothing of the sort.  Riot’s beef dish was a fine tender stew whose sauce was rich in flavor from the garnished herbs.  It came with a couple large boiled potatoes.

Excusez-moi, madame, une carafe d’eau s’il vous plaît?” we said again halfway through our main courses.  The waitress said yes as before, delightfully, but this time the water finally came.  We enjoyed the rest of our meal and watched in amusement as she fumbled the orders of the girls next to us and, of course, forgot their water request time after time.  It wasn’t us and it wasn’t the water, our waitress was just losing her mind.
 
 
 
 
  No room for dessert:  The tarte aux pommes that came with the 22€ menu; it was all right.
 
 
We ended our meal with the tarte aux pommes.  It was OK and we were already full but it was a choice with Riot’s menu.  We looked around at all the diners engrossed in their conversations, engrossed in their simple food.  In the course of our visit, our bread basket had been passed along the entire length of the table.  When we were done with it, it went to the girls to the left.  When they were done, it went to the couple to our right.  It was just that kind of place where the sense of communal dining pervaded the air.  We paid with cash for the very affordable and satisfying meal, like everyone before us for the last 164 years.
 
 
 
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