Local chefs, grape geeks, and artists congregate late at night around the wooden counter of this snug bar à vin in the hilly, out-of-the-way 20th Arrondissement. A dedicated champion of natural wines, owner Philippe Pinoteau has amassed one of the city’s greenest cellars, offering a chalkboard menu of about 20 cuvées naturelles by the glass. In the kitchen, his glamorous Argentinean wife, Raquel Carena, takes slow-cooked bistro standards on a bit of a global adventure: lamb shank has a hint of Indian spices; juicy monkfish swims in a galangal-perfumed broth. Pinoteau (a lovable despot) will be sure to growl if you make a “wrong” wine pairing, so just ask him to make a recommendation.
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From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
This out-of-the-way storefront bistro with mismatched chairs has a following among the young natural-wine guys in Paris who worship the cranky owner, Philippe Pinoteau: He pours what he thinks you deserve. In addition to the strong cellar, Pinoteau’s wife, Raquel Carena, cooks stunning modern bistro dishes.
We loved: Salmon with olive oil and lemongrass; duck sautéed with citrus fruit.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.