During my recent book tour around the United States, many people asked me if the wilting dollar had made Paris completely unaffordable. I was happy to share the good news with them--even though the dollar is soggy at the moment, Paris offers the best-value dining of any major European city. Proof perfect is Le Hide, a fantastic new bistro run by genial Japanese chef Hide Kobayashi, a very talented chef who trained with Joel Robuchon, Dominique Bouchet, Jacques Cagna, and a variety of other French cuisine chefs before going out on his own and opening this very jolly, friendly little bistro not far from the Arc de Triomphe.
Hide's 29 Euro three-course menu changes according to the seasons, but our table of four loved starters of white asparagus with a mimosa (seized hard-boiled egg) vinaigrette, a superb terrine of duck foie gras, and marinated salmon with a warm buckwheat crepe and a dollop of unctuous Creme d'Isigny, an ivory-colored creme fraiche with so much butter fat a spoon stands up in it, and also a succulent braised shoulder of lamb with white beans and tomatoes, an excellent faux filet (steak) from star butcher Hugo Desnoyers, and carpaccio of scallops with white truffle oil and a salad of lamb's ear lettuce. Tarte tatin offered another excuse to consume some more of that Creme d'Isigny, while ile flottante (floating island) with salted-caramel ice cream was bliss. The wine list offers a variety of nicely chosen and fairly priced bottles, and service couldn't be friendlier. I left looking forward to my next meal here, and since I'm not alone, make sure to reserve, since word is getting around on this one.
Le Hide, 10 rue General Lanzerac, 17th arrondissement, Tel. 01.45.74.15.51. Metro: Etoile