One of the things we continue to learn is that reservations are a good idea if you want to eat dinner in Paris. We walk in, they ask, we say “non” and then they look around and shuffle their feet and find us somewhere to sit. With a tiny bit of disapproval in their voice. Last night we sat at the bar which turned out to be a fantastic choice. Tonight we were shown to a table in the back room across from a British family with two young- children. Being a parent, I am not against kids in restaurant. Being a consumer, I am against loud kids in restaurant. I hung up our coats, scanned the menu and after the little boy had yelled 4 times at his father, I decided that in no way did I want to pay for a 100€ meal while being jolted every 30 seconds by a 10-year old yelling. So I grabbed our coats from the coat rack and we headed to the door, stopping to tell the second in charge that our fellow diners were just too loud. I managed that in my best French and I expected the owner to say “au revoir” but instead she took us to another table, removed the reservation card and told us that it’s very hard these days because children often tend to be so disruptive. We sat down, she brought us some wine and we ordered. I ended up with a wonderful Tagliatelle with a spicy red sauce and big chunks of tender lamb. MLW had a cutlet with a salad of fresh greens. The wines were excellent and so were the deserts (mousse au chocolat and tiramisu.)
After the bill arrived the owner offered us a free aperitif, limoncello for MLW, Grappa for me. The evening turned out to be splendid, a real save when we just as easily could have been out on the street in the rain, looking for another restaurant. As we were putting on our coats to leave we got talking with the owner about the need for reservations. She said “it depends,” but since the attacks in November, reservations were perhaps less necessary on nights away from the weekend. She said that here in the 7th Arrondissement, on the street where the Prime Minister happens to live, with 24×7 police presence at both adjacent intersections, things continued to be peaceful and secure. And that the 7th is probably the best neighborhood in Paris. Along with the 6th. She was so pleasant and so gracious that we went away wishing we had more night available. Sometimes a business just impresses you that much.
It’s a short walk home from there, but not without entertainment. A man approached with an absolutely robotic dog – a terrier – pig-eyed and white, off the leash but clearly capable of being untethered. Another guy with a Rat Terrier approached from behind us. We heard snarling and turned to see the Rat Dog going after the Robot Dog, who didn’t flinch. Rat Dog owner threw an embarrassed smile our way and continued on, finally dragging the little monster into doorway up the street. We walked on, stopping to take a photo of the inside courtyard of the Italian Embassy – the front façade of the main building was gaily lit in the hues of the tricolor – green, white and red.