Unpretentious, with friendly staff, smiling cooks in an open kitchen, and daily specials with delightful surprises, restaurant Caillebotte is a welcome addition to a neighborhood that’s already a food lover’s delight.
We arrived for lunch on a rainy afternoon after a stroll down the nearby market street, rue des Martyrs. Our appetites were already stimulated by rotisserie chicken sputtering on the sidewalk, and Sebastian Gaudard’s tarte au citron and almond croissants (reportedly the best in Paris).
A smiling hostess seated us just inside the front door, at a square marble-topped table the color of clouds. We looked out on a group of 20-somethings from a nearby office, middle aged regulars on stools at the counter, and three cooks in an open stainless steel kitchen whipping emulsions with hand blenders and sending out copious starters and plats.
The menu offered modern takes on French comfort food: velouté de potiron with potato-comté gnocchi; parmesan risotto with Brittany shrimp and chorizo; milk-fed pork; roasted duck; lotte meunière with bacon et pain brulé.
We started with ravioles de légumes in pot au feu, an aromatic broth that demanded sopping with freshly cut bread. A few greens atop the large, tender pasta brought a freshness, color and crunch to a dish that otherwise had me imagining a fragrant, long-simmering stew on a winter day in a village in the Alps.
Everyone around us ordered the plat du jour, and we took our cue from the crowd. To be honest, the formule encourages this, as the plat du jour with starter or dessert is just 19€, and mains à la carte start at 21€.
Our poached chicken with hand-cut veggie chips and parsnip purée (the last infused with white chocolate!) was light and luscious at the same time. Served in a shallow white bowl, it was a splendid combination of flavor and texture. The chicken was melt-in-your-mouth tender, the chips, made from beets and sweet potatoes, satisfying. The white chocolate added richness to the parsnips without making them sweet.
8 Rue Hippolyte Lebas, 9th, no website. Closed on weekends, reservations suggested, +33 1 53 20 88 70