From the outside, Le Tabarin seems unremarkable, one more awning-fronted café near the Bastille. But look in the window, and you’ll see soft light coming from table lamps, red banquettes lined with mirrors, and jazz posters plastering the ceiling.
A slate easel near a window lists daily specials, and a smaller ardoise catalogues the wines. Gathered at square tables on weekdays are young people who work in the neighborhood; Sunday brunch attracts shoppers from the Marché Richard Lenoire.
Salads are a good bet here. Salades composées – main course salads – are rich in charcuterie, fruit, cheese. My favorite, though, was a starter: émincé de boeuf cru avec gingembre et citron vert. The beef was in fact not raw, but seared and sliced super thin, atop endives. Light and refreshing, it made me eager for the next course.
Confit de canard was just as I was hoping for: a dark, rich thigh that came with crisp fries and a pile of greens. I don’t remember the name of the wine, except that it had a nice smoky flavor that complemented the duck beautifully. (As usual, I asked the staff to choose.)
The crême brulée was crisp on top, creamy and warm inside, and a delightful way to end the meal – which cost less than 20 euros!