L'Antre Amis - Hidden Lair

Without asking an expert, I've done my best to understand the meaning of  antre amis, and I'm left with two choices - 'friends' lair' and 'home depot'.  I'll go with the former, because call it what you will, L'Antre Amis, the satisfying bistro situated on the cusp of the 15th and 17th arrondissements is enough under the radar to rank as a hidden gem.  Well, not completely hidden, given the restaurant's proximity to the UNESCO headquarters and various sundry foreign embassies.  And not completely unnoticed, either, despite what everyone who has noticed seem to suggest, and I hope you get that paradox.  My much more widely read counterpart John Talbot veritably glowed about L'Antre on his blog, titling his review, "Wow, Zowie, Pow, Zap: where have all the critics gone?  Far far away."  And not unnoticed in the 2012 Le Fooding guide, which boasted the following description:

Chic but discreet neo-bistro.  Daily set menu at the standard, unobjectionable price of 32€.  Beautifully presented dishes, cooked to perfection.

One year later, that 32€ 3-course menu (plus amuse bouche) now stands at 34€, but that's a minor quibble, it's still a great deal.  

I chose L'Antre as the destination for my 40-year, give or take a decade or two, reunion with Long-Lost Cousin, particularly given its proximity to her temporary abode as well as the disappointment I experienced when I tried to reserve this past August during their vacation period.  My mind-set was more reunion than review, so my details here will have to remain sketchy.  One of the last unseasonably balmy weeks of September had us briefly ruminating over indoor/outdoor seating, especially once I arrived and saw LLC sitting comfortably outside sipping a glass of wine.  Inside we went, however, more a nod to the rapidly approaching autumn than the fleeting summer breeze.  Once seated, our amiable server proceeded to direct our attention to a small posted tapas list until I told her of our desire to partake in the famous 34€ menu offerings.  Without further ado, the ardoise was brought to the table, boasting a couple of choices for each course.  Both LLC and I opted for the chiperons entree, nicely presented, but a bit underwhelming on the taste front.  Nonetheless, by the last bite, I had come to appreciate the delicate and subtle orange cauliflower sauce.

Our main plate choices were where the action was.  I thoroughly enjoyed my caille/quail dish and LLC ripped through her bar.  I was underwhelmed by my Brie de Meaux cheese finale, but LLC happily proclaimed that her dessert was the best she's ever had in her life (one that has taken her from the plains of Oklahoma to the bustle of Manhattan).  Wow, zowie, pow, now that's an endorsement.  LLC apparently was also quite impressed by our Chantemerle medoc (28€) because each time she tried to take a photo of the food, she made sure the wine was prominently in view, alas to the chagrin of her memorable dessert.  But the fish photo came out loud and clear, and for that I thank LLC, given my total camera malfunction for the festivities.

So there you have it.  If not the gastronomical stratosphere, L'Antre Amis definitely ranks as a spot to check out in its tucked away corner of the 15th.  Not exactly around the corner from my home depot, but a lair worthy of the detour.

9, rue Bouchut
75015 Paris
tel: 01 45 67 15 65

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