Cafe Trama, on rue du Cherche-Midi in the 6th, serves comfort food, memorably prepared. When I arrived for lunch on a Friday at 12:30 sans reservation, the only open seat was at the white marble bar.
The place bubbled with conversation, and as I studied the chalkboard menu, servers moved among tables flanked by comfy looking banquettes with the plat du jour: large plates of roasted monkfish with apple confit and puy lentils.
I decided that was too much food for me (as was the black angus steak with girolles, pan fried in duck fat — how I regretted my small frame).
I ordered the croque Monsieur Poujauran, au fleur de sel de truffe. The explanation for the dish came in two parts: Monsieur Poujaran is the artisan baker who supplies the neighborhood cafe; the sel de truffe was the transformative ingredient.
The bartender recommended a glass of light, fruity Beaujoulais, Morgon de Py, which he asked me to taste first. I was delighted with the wine — and with my vantage point. The cafe’s full tables, spare lines, shelves of gleaming glassware, and warm, Art Deco lamps gave the restaurant an animated brasserie feel.
There was some sort of mix up in the kitchen, and when I was still waiting for my meal 20 minutes later, the manager approached, apologized, and said my wine was on the house. The bartender offered me a slice of St Nectair cheese with onion-apple jam to tide me over.
When my sandwich arrived, the aroma won me over immediately. The scent was delicate and intense at the same time. Unlike most croque monsieurs, which can be dry and overcooked, my sandwich was moist, chewy, and the flavors of cheese, ham and truffle mingled wonderfully. With a lovely side salad, spiced with slices of house-pickled onion, they had turned a casual, everyday dish into something special.