Le Temps au Temps. . . – Time Is On My Side

When you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll. Fresh off the very satisfying dinner at Casa Olympe, a visit to the even more spatially-challenged 24-seater, Le Temps Au Temp, resulted in an equally favorable dining experience.

After a bit of typical Mortstiff chicanery, leading Co. into thinking we were returning to one of our frequent haunts, Le Bistrot Paul Bert, I grabbed her hand and led her across the street explaining we should check out Le Temps, a “place where it’s virtually impossible to get a reservation.” Hey, have to keep things lively and fresh. It didn’t take Co. more than two seconds to see through the ruse, and it didn’t take me more than a week in advance to get the reservation. Thinking that the recession might finally be denting the Paris restaurant scene, that idea quickly evaporated as the tables started to fill up at this tiny little spot (a dozen tightly-packed tables) in one of my favorite non-touristical areas for dining in Paris. Rue Paul Bert has its aforementioned namesake and next-door seafood counterpart, L’Écallier du Bistrot; around the corner is one of the better Moroccan restaurants in Paris, Mansouria. In short, if you’re up for a good meal, you can’t go wrong by getting out at Faidherbe-Chaligny metro stop. Just make sure you’ve reserved someplace first.

More casual and welcoming than Casa Olympe, Le Temps is without pretension. Thus, despite the tight squeeze, the experience tends to be pretty laid back. Forget about Fodor’s promise that single diners can sit at one of the stools in front of the bar. That’s a no go - no stools during our visit, but sure enough, behind the bar, mounted on the wall was a large facsimile of a clock – hence the name (‘Time to Time’). A single diner seemed to be enjoying herself at one of the two outdoor tables set up in front of the restaurant.

Taking the place of a fixed menu was a chalkboard listing of the day’s 30€ fixed price offerings. I’ve already lamented my distaste for the largely illegible chalkboards hanging from Paris est to Paris ouest. To its credit, Le Temps had at least one blackboard in full view on every wall, which didn’t necessarily make the task any easier for your’s truly. It’s not my fault my eyes aren’t getting any younger, and poor Co. isn’t faring much better. Together, we mounted a full-blown effort and made our choices. I opted for the linguine de saumon marinee with avocat moussiline and mint leaf. Co. went with the queu de langoustine au fenouil. Both dishes were creative and tasty. Now for the embarrassing part of this review. After the entrees, I settled into an eating groove and stopped taking notes, thinking I could not possibly forget the specific details of all that ensued. Well, beyond the memory of a fish plate with celery mousse for me, and an immaculately prepared plate of lightly cooked chunks of duck for Co., I am at a loss. Instead, have a look at some representative photos that I borrowed from a foodie froggie’s blog. I do remember our wine, a lusty domaine des Vercheres Bourgogne 2006 (27€), which did the proverbial job and then some. Although forgotten in detail, the overall experience was of an above-average, understated, but thoughtfully prepared dinner. We’ll definitely revisit, a compliment if I’ve ever heard one.

13, rue Paul Bert
75011 Paris
tel.: 01 43 79 63 40
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