Café des Musees, Paris.

May 2015

One of not very many places open on Sunday in this otherwise famously sophisticated town. It’s a businesslike and fast-moving bistrot on a corner in Arrondisement 3, not far from Place des Vosges (home of L’Ambroisie), but a world away gastronomically and pricewise. Atmosphere is friendly, bustling and traditional, and the smell is reassuring. We were promptly seated next to two Australian couples.

Server was a delightful cheerfully bilingual girl completely in the establishment’s spirit of getting the job done. Somehow, similar to other places in Paris, I didn’t find the very substantial noise offensive as I do at home.

The food was variable, Robin’s ris de veau definitely better than my pigs feet. We started with a lentil salad that came cold, salty and pleasantly full of oil, wrapped in duck prosciutto. The sweetbread was quite lovely, crispy and flavourful, and accompanied by lots of nicely prepared little vegetables. My pigs feet arrived a disconcertingly geometric-looking brown deep-fried cylinder about the size of two thirds of a saucisson sec. Its interior reminded me of andouillette, but alas lacking in its flavour. Gooey and really without much taste of pork. I wondered whether the thing had been put together in advance, breaded, frozen, etc.

A very nice 2011 Beaune 1er cru from a producer I wasn’t familiar with set us back about $75. Overall €124 equals C$168.

We’ve decided that where there isn’t a fixed menu it’s a completely positive strategy to share both the entrée and the main. Less caloric, less cost. All you have to do is agree on what to eat. Next time.

Food 8.1/6.7, service 8.0, ambience 7.8, value 7.3.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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