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Le Réminet – On a tiny, completely peaceful micro-street just across the river from Notre Dame, this narrow restaurant’s chief appeal – especially to the tourist – is that it’s a quality restaurant that’s open on Sunday and Monday. And indeed, it’s loaded to the gills with Americans when we arrive.

On a whim, our friend decides to join us, which greatly displeases the hostess. But it’s the restaurant’s only misstep of the night. Perhaps it’s a linguistic issue; most tables don’t appear to even be attempting to speak French, and our service improves throughout the night as we do, our principal server (apparently, the proprietor) gaining enthusiasm with each visit. Even the hostess turns warm and friendly by the end of the evening.

The food is solid, not groundbreaking…but then, that’s not why one comes to Paris. There’s a livery duck terrine, with the traditional accompaniment of cornichons cleverly rendered as a mousse. A fine loin of rabbit in a simple cream sauce is next. The wine list has an interesting selection of older vintages, but mostly not from my preferred regions, and so I’m eventually moved to do something I almost never do: order a white Burgundy.

Dessert is a bracing round of pastis ice cream with a fennel tuile and mint sauce; the vivacity of the flavors is absolutely exciting. The proprietor returns for a conversation about digestifs in which, to my surprise, I’m able to participate without once having to lapse into English, and he seems so appreciative of my efforts that he takes the menu from me and leads me to a back room, where he offers me a much wider selection than that on the menu. I think he undercharges me, as well. Not that I’m going to complain. (4/06)


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