I feel like I’m at risk for becoming one of those people who never leaves her neighborhood. A person who, to the great annoyance of friends, only agrees to do things within walking distance.
There’s a fantastic newish rotisserie on rue Faubourg St. Martin that has made it unnecessary to ever roast my own chicken. I get a certain sandwich from a nearby Lebanese traiteur with embarrassing regularity. And I’m singlehandedly keeping El Nopal in business. Just a bit further away, Le Verre Volé is the default choice for an evening out.
And now there’s Philou.
The terrine of foie gras was silky and perfect. A generous sauté of early cepes, well-seasoned and brightened with herbs and a splash of vinegar justified its supplemental charge. Roast grouse hid a stuffing of foie gras, and crisp skinned chicken was almost upstaged by the accompanying girolles. A strong roast duck (the wild canard colvert – a different bird entirely if you’ve only ever had farmed fowl) was well complimented by juicy figs, and bar (sea bass) benefited from the depth of earthy girolles sauced with a bit of savory, meaty jus.
We had more figs for dessert, in a classic tart, along with a delicious “poire croustillante” – a crisp and hot envelope of feuille de brick (like filo) holding aromatic pears, served with caramel ice cream.
The chef is Philippe Damas, who ran the beautiful Square Trousseau until 2008. Philou isn’t bad looking, either. The dining room is anchored by a horseshoe shaped bar, the banquette is bright red, and a terrace takes advantage of the wide sidewalk on avenue Richerand.
Wines are natural and affordable, and many are available by the carafe. Before wine, if you avoid the supplements, you can easily spend under 3o euros, particularly at lunch, where one, two, or three courses go for 15, 20, or 25 euros.
Any neighborhood would be lucky to have a restaurant like this. Lucky for me, Philou is in mine.
Philou 12 avenue Richerand, Paris 75010, +33 (0)1 42 38 00 13 Lunch and dinner, Tues-Sat