Braised cochon de lait.
Monsieur le Prince
12, rue Monsieur le Prince, in the 6th Arrondissement.
01 43 54 74 59. Tues–Sat, lunch and dinner.
The old Chez Maître Paul has been turned into a prince.
The room has been freshly painted in cool grays, with contemporary photos and prints on the wall. An old zinc service bar and a tiny Parisian spiral staircase help the place retain some of its charm.
The menu is mostly classic bistro fare, updated with a few twists. Starters include a market-vegetable salad with a beet vinaigrette, a charcuterie plate, bellota ham from nearby Da Rosa and some more-intriguing options like oyster “bonbons” with sorrel, stuffed duck’s neck, and a pot-au-feu in terrine form. There’s also a potage du marché, on the day of my visit an intense carrot and orange soup, the sweet orange roots brightened by citrus and enriched with a touch of cream.
Main courses are mostly straightforward—braised beef cheeks with seasonal vegetables, grilled entrecôte with new potatoes, veal chops with a gratin—though cod with Camembert sauce is unexpected, and steamed daurade gets a dose of flavor from clams and briny seaweed. For nostalgic locals there is an homage to the old tenants, a cassolette of chicken with morels and vin jaune façon Chez Maître Paul. I had braised belly of milk-fed pork served simply with its own jus. The flavor was sweet like cochon de lait should be, and good flavor made up for the texture that was not quite tender enough. The accompanying jar of springlike peas and artichokes was not exactly autumnal but nonetheless well cooked, aromatic with herbs.
An otherwise fine tarte tatin was garnished not with classic crème fraîche but a white chocolate cream that didn’t do the apples any favors. Some classics shouldn’t be toyed with if you ask me. Luckily the tart was good enough to stand alone.
The all-natural wine list is not copious, and if you’re looking for sub-30-euro gems, you may be disappointed. The good news is that the 21 euro lunch formula may leave you with extra change to spend; that’s a great price in any neighborhood, but especially in the 6th Arrondissement.
In a nutshell: Monsieur le Prince charms with solid bistro cooking.
Price check: First courses, 9–16 euros; mains, 18–27 euros; three-course lunch menu, 21 euros.
If you like the sound of Monsieur le Prince, you’ll also like past Foodie Fave Philou, a newcomer near the canal St.-Martin:
12, ave Richerand, in the 10th.
01 42 38 00 13. Tues-Sat, lunch and dinner.