PARIS — Anyone who has asked me for restaurant recommendations in New York knows that one of my favorite spots there is Buvette, the tiny French cafe in the West Village. Wonderful food, great list of wines, excellent service from friendly engaging people. Always a joy.
So upon hearing that owner Jody Williams had opened a Buvette in Paris, I knew where I would be going as soon as I hit town. And I wasn’t disappointed.
The Paris outpost of Buvette is in the Pigalle quarter of the city’s 9th arrondissement. Like the New York restaurant, this Buvette is small, cramped even. The decor is similar, right down to the large blackboard with a chalklike outline of France's wine regions. And it's very popular. When we arrived, however, there was an open table available — which we turned down. In Greenwich Village, we always opt to sit at the bar where we can watch the plating of the food and the bustle of the amiable staff. We wanted the same here.
It took a little hovering and scoping to determine which stools would open first, but we were seated before too long and looking over the very familiar menu.
Actually, the same menu now serves both New York and Paris. And both places specialize in small plates of classic French dishes.
I chose the coq au vin, served in a small, cast iron cocotte. Rick had the hachis parmentier, which, in very general terms, is a sort of French version of shepherd’s pie. We were both in heaven — we had the best of both worlds, a taste of New York in Paris.
I wasn’t entirely surprised to hear the woman serving as lead behind the bar speaking English to the servers as she passed plates over our heads, so I asked her if she had come over from the New York restaurant. She said no, that she was from the West Coast. I told her that the New York Buvette was one of my favorite restaurants.
“Mine, too,” said the woman sitting next to me at the bar. She was a New Yorker, in Paris for a couple of days before going on to Italy.
We spent the rest of the evening, as we usually do at the Village Buvette, chatting with people around us, enjoying the fine wines and, just this time, because it was a special evening, a nightcap of negroni.
Is it any wonder that the URL for the restaurants is ILoveBuvette.com?
Check that website for details on either Buvette. If you’re in Paris, the restaurant, on Rue Henry Monnier, is an easy walk from the Pigalle Metro stop.