Wed 10 Oct 2012
1, rue Christine, in the 6th Arrondissement. 01 40 51 71 64.
Open for lunch Mon–Fri and dinner nightly.
The giant fork hanging above the doorway of Le Christine had me smiling before I even got to my table. I like a Paris restaurant that isn’t afraid of having a little fun.
Le Christine continues this playfulness inside. Rustic wood beams on the ceiling transition to whitewashed brick walls. Splashes of red dot the decor and color the banquettes.
This quiet spot in bustling St. Michel must be on local concierges’ hot list, judging from the amount of English spoken both by our fellow diners and the friendly servers, who easily flipped between languages. Le Christine is understandably popular: there aren’t many worthy restaurants in this tripisty area, and this one is a nice find on a tranquil street with good prices to boot. The menu has several reasonably priced suggestions for any combination of starter, main and dessert. If you can’t decide, try the 60 euro tasting menu, as we did, for a sampling of the best house creations.
We kicked things off with a light, palate-cleansing melon soup topped with a tiny piece of bacon and mint. It put a spring in my step and primed me for the meaty piece of cold but creamy foie gras that followed. Bright red chunks of sea salt were scattered on top and brought further dimension to the dish as I slathered it across the toasted bread. Two marinated sardines followed, next to ribbon-cut vegetables drizzled with a buttery olive oil.
Pan-seared maigre with red-pepper sauce and green beans.
We then moved on to the cooked dishes, starting with a delicate pan-seared maigre (a white fish) resting on a mound of just-past-al-dente green beans. A rich red-pepper sauce rounded out the dish, and I’d certainly come back for this one, as well as the other main, which was a nice cut of beef on a bed of sweetly mashed potatoes nestled in a pool of butter sauce.
A duo of cow cheeses and lightly dressed greens prepared us for the final plate: a savory strawberry soup with notes of pepper. The mint on top left a refreshing taste and an overall good mark on an enjoyable meal.
In a nutshell: Le Christine is a solid choice on a quiet street near chaotic St. Michel, offering a good food option in an area without many. The cooking is steady across the board and well priced.
Price check: Menus range from 26 euros for just a main up to 60 euros for a seven-course tasting menu.
If you like the sound of Le Christine and don’t mind signing on to a no-choice tasting menu, you might also enjoy Itinéraires. Read the review.
5, rue de Pontoise, in the 5th.
01 46 33 60 11.
Lunch and dinner, Mon–Fri.
Editor’s note: For a gourmet walking trip, check out our DIY downloadable Paris trips.