I have previously reviewed this bistro, but feel the need to repeat it, after several friends came away disappointed. Here's what you should know before you go:
First, this is not a "tourist-oriented" establishment. It's a busy, local bistrot, where food is cooked to order - it's "authentic", but that might not be what you have in mind. You won't find a tender, thick steak or a fat-free cut of pork - meats are different in France, so don't order them, if that's what you want. You will find a very good quality boeuf tartare, escargots in garlic butter, and a traditional "chew-y" minute steak, though. Very often, chilled sea snails with mayonnaise, andouillette or boudin noir and soup made from radish leaves are on the menu. This is French food, prepared the way locals like it.
Second, do take the time to look at the menu, which is posted outside in both French and English. You may not find anything you like, especially if you are picky eaters, and should know this before you sit down. Each person is expected to order a reasonable amount of food - if you are not hungry, or planning on sharing portions, you should go elsewhere. No substitutions or special orders are available, and it is not possible to just order a side dish of potatoes au gratin for your meal. "Special orders" do upset the very busy staff - they are not possible, so don't ask.
Third, CDM has been "discovered", and is usually packed. This is both good and bad, for obvious reasons. What this means to you is that you really should reserve ahead - call or stop by, generally a day or so in advance, more in busy season. The staff is young, but professional - they are also over-worked. They do the best they can, but when this involves translating the entire menu a hundred times a night for various demanding foreigners, they can seem a bit less than charming. Don't take it personally.
If you are looking for "authentic French bistrot food and ambiance", and are open to eating interesting, quality, typically French ingredients - this is it.
If you are looking for "a romantic evening in a cosy Paris restaurant, where the waiter has time to cater to your every need" - this is most definitely not it.
If you are looking for outside dining, this is not recommended - the space is very limited, and located on a busy intersection.
Though we live here, and this is our favorite neighborhood spot, we don't recommend it anymore to most people.
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