When Joel Robuchon ran Jamin and later Robuchon, he was without doubt the best chef in the world, and served the best food I have ever tasted. He retired at age 50 and has not opened a place under his own name until 2003, with this simple “tapas” style place on the left bank following an identical format in Tokyo shortly prior to this. Here you sit at bar stools and order from an appealing menu of “small dishes” (at around EUR 12) as well as starters and main courses. Perhaps three or four small dishes would be good for lunch. Although he is not cooking here himself he shows the same gift for training he had at his earlier restaurants, and the dishes that appear are very fine indeed.
A red mullet was stunning, served with a little jus of saffron sauce, and would have been at home in a top 3 Michelin star restaurant (20/20). A single scallop was perfectly cooked, though merely excellent compared to the divine red mullet (17/20). Spaghetti with black truffle was superb, the pasta firm and yet having creamy taste (19/20). A poached egg on a bed of pureed parsley, topped with girolles in a creamy sauce and finely chopped chives also worked very well (18/20). For dessert the star was six mini tarts all featuring dazzling pastry: chocolate, cinnamon, pear, apple. There was a stunning passion fruit and raspberry clafoutis (20/20) while a green apple sorbet was even better than a fine chocolate ice cream (18/20). The great thing is that you sit here eating food that would shame all but a tiny number of top restaurants, and yet the prices are less than half that of one of the grand dining rooms of Paris.
On a second visit things were also good. A single langoustine in batter with a little pool of basil sauce was exceptionally tender (19/20). A pork chop was cooked simply but was enjoyably moist (17/20). A langoustine ravioli on a bed of cabbage with a shellfish sauce had tender pasta (18/20). Egg cocotte with baby morels with cream sauce was very pleasant (16/20) but better was a gazpacho with croutons, a sprig of basil and balsamic vinegar (18/20). Best dish was a piece of perfectly tender monkfish, with a julienne of courgette, tomatoes and peppers and a light, creamy sauce. This was as good a piece of monkfish as I have tasted (20/20). A chocolate tarte with a pistachio and almond ice cream had excellent texture (17/20). Coffee was very good. Please note that, contrary to popular belief, they do take reservations here, but only for the first sitting at lunch (11:30) and dinner (18:30).