French Restaurant in Paris, France: Le Comptoir | Natural wine

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Review
 
Le Comptoir HeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Paris
Location: 48.851885,2.33885
Open: Lunch and dinner daily
Price: Moderate
Score (/20): 16.5

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: 01 43 29 12 05
Address: 5 Carrefour de l'Od?
Paris, 75006
Country: France
Food Style: French

We didn't know what to expect the first time we arrived at Yves Camdeborde's Le Comptoir on the Left Bank of Paris. Would it be like La Regalade with dozens of guidebook toting foreigners lined up impatiently at the door and with harried staff trying to cope with the increasing lines and full tables? It was not to be. Most of the tables were occupied by locals seeking the 'vrai' cuisine that Yves Camdeborde is famous for.
We were delighted with the warm welcome we received and the relative ease with which we scored a good table. It was not until later that a queue started to form. The service, however, remained professional, smooth, timely and friendly, tolerating our poor French language skills with good humour.
Ever since our first meal we have returned once or twice every year. It is now the place that tells us we are back in Paris. It is where we get grounded again and learn to relax and enjoy the French food and wine experience. It is where we head for for perfectly executed true French dishes such as braised tripe or a parmentier or perfect oysters shucked to order. And it is one of the best places to look for emerging natural wine makers chosen from the extensive but reasonably-priced wine list.
The menu is surprisingly extensive for a restaurant of this size (we counted fifty seats). A printed menu lists most dishes and daily specials are written on the large mirror that dominates the back wall.
We had to start with the charcuterie plate that Camdeborde is famous for. A wooden platter came to the table with a selection of stunning salami, blood sausage, rough-textured pate and other meaty delights along with some good cornichons and strong bread.
This turned out to be some of the best charcuterie we have eaten is Paris and set the meal off to a very good start. We accompanied our meal with a gutsy, natural, biodynamic wine from Richaud Les Garrigues Cairanne Cotes du Rhone.
An artichoke salad was our other first course. This saw four quarters of very good artichokes resting on pieces of cos lettuce dressed perfectly and covered by four thin slices of foie gras. The richness of the liver was perfectly offset by the sweetness of the lettuce.
And a note here about the wines. The selection is short but brilliant. Many of France's great modern winemakers are represented. We honed in on the Les Ardilles from Herve Villemade from the Cheverny appellation. This Pinot Noir and Gamay blend is a beautiful example of what can be produced in the Loire. It also shows why we do not need to accept the orhodoxy of brutal, over-extracted, highly alcoholic wines that are promoted by current wine magazines.
This sensual, light, elegant wine is perfect for drinking with delicious food. It complements rather than dominates.
And that is just one example of what is available here. You will also find the natural Binner Alsace Reisling, the Valette Cotes du Roussillon, the wonderful Puzelat Cheverny, the Maxime Magnon Rozeta from Corbieres, a Lapierre Morgon and even a wild Claude Courtois - a 'very' natural wine.
And the best was yet to come. A dish of tripe was a stunner. We have eaten tripe in every corner of the globe, but this dish with its deeply rich flavouring and well-cooked carrots and potatoes was as close to perfection as you are likely to find. Our other dish was Cochon au lait which saw a thick cylinder of meltingly tender pig sitting on a bed of stewed lentils.
The daily special for dessert was Figues au jus de Sangria glace lait de brebis which saw poached figs teamed with a lovely fresh sheep's cheese. A great way to finish a most enjoyable and satisfying meal.
Review: November 2006
We returned in 2007 for dinner this time. It was during the school holidays therefore the restaurant was open to the public serving a similar menu to that offered at lunch.
Once again it confirmed in our mind that this is a very good restaurant serving soulful food and a great selection of wine.
We also had a breakfast here which was one of the best we have had in Paris. Lovely breads and pastries from nearby Mulot accompanied by Curtelin confiture, a boiled egg, lovely butter, great Bordier yoghurt, fresh pampelmousse juice and nice coffee.
As a postscript to this review we have returned here every year since the original 2006 review. We have been every year from 2007 to 2012 and every year we have been served amazing food and great natural wines.
 
     
 

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