Our Sunday started as a clear, bright day, the kind that makes you want to go walking. Our plan for lunch was to see if the new bistro opened in the 5th Arrondissement by the chef of the fine restaurant at the Meurice, lived up to its credentials. We loved his food at the Meurice, in fact on one trip not so long ago we loved it so much that we cancelled our other reservation for the following night and went back to the Meurice for exactly the same delicious dinner. Every dish was an achievement. So we thought that if the same sense of perfectionism was behind the same guy's bistro, what could be bad? Well, nothing, but frankly, nothing stood out either. I liked the navarin of lamb, didn't love it. We didn't bother with dessert/coffee.
Sunday's plan then called for a long, leisurely after-lunch stroll on the left bank, winding up at Au Petit Marguéry. We took a quick break at the ancient Roman arena - people just come to sit and bask, or sit and read, and at the same time feel virtuous about doing something that isn't lazy because it's classical.
After about an hour of walking, the weather turned gray, damp and chilly. So much for leisurely strolling. We decided to return to our hotel for warmer clothes and then decided we needed to rest up for dinner, since there are a lot of subway stairs on the way to Au Petit Marguéry.
We got there hungry, and jumped right in. I started with white asparagus with mousseline sauce, a little early in the season but delicious anyway. My main course was breast of duck with honey and thyme sauce (thoughts of the Roman arena?), and then! the Grand Marnier soufflé. A classic. But you knew that. Times are tough, and the restaurant is not too old-fashioned to have a web site and an email newsletter. Shortly before we left, the newsletter arrived, with of all things a coupon for one free Grand Marnier soufflé, good on weekends. Times are tough, indeed, but the soufflé was tender, airy and float-y.