Le Cafe du Commerce
51, Rue du Commerce, 75015, Paris.
Visit Le Cafe du Commerce website here
If you go to Cafe Bastille on San Francisco's Belden Lane, you might notice, above the stairs, a framed poster for Le Cafe du Commerce. This is no coincidence as Bastille's owner, O, also has interests in this classic French eaterie in the 15th Arrondissement. A long mirrored passageway leads you to the atrium-style restaurant on 3 levels with a glass sliding roof, balconied eating areas and a whole jungle of leafy plants.
F introduced himself to Etienne, the owner, who had met once in San Francisco. He suggest we sit upstairs on one of the balconies.
This Cafe is famous for serving strictly traditional French food. O tells me it's not the best food but that the French themselves love it. You won't find tourists in this place, it is strictly a locals hangout.
F had been longing for oeufs mayonnaise so that is what he requested for a starter. Five halves of boiled egg, arranged flat side down around a piece of tomato were each decorated with a swirl of fresh made mayonnaise with a piquant taste of mustard that transported it to world's away from something you would find in a jar on the supermarket shelf. My poireaux vinaigrette, a pile of soft dressed leeks with a strong taste of shalottes was clean and fresh tasting.
For our entrees (which refers to the appetizer course in France, not the main as it is confusingly means in the USA), F ordered a bavette steak and I decided to try lamb chops. Both meats were served with fries and the tarragon-flavoured sauce bearnaise. All ingredients were freshly cooked and piping hot but I found the meal to be incredibly fatty. F thought his steak was a little bit on the tough side. I certainly wouldn't be able to eat that kind of rich meal every day.
With our meal we drank very reasonable red Gamay de Tourenne, served cold in 50cl carafes.
Le Cafe du Commerce