A French-educated resident of Los Angeles, I have not been to Paris for over 11 years and was taken to this neighborhood restaurant within an hour of disembarking from a 12 hour trip. My first impression of Paris was that it was very gray (obviously, it has seasons, not like Southern California w/ its perennial sunshine)!
As I always shy away from tourist traps, Le Vercanaille was a welcome change, right from its name which probably won't resonate with foreign visitors. It is located on a well-traveled street, with lots of natural light and simple but elegant white table dressing. Unfussy decor, with a library, and bursts of vividly colored walls, it was like if I had come to a friend's for lunch. The cordial owner and his staff were very pleasant and it seemed that they had many "regulars". We were allowed to pick our own table.
Although I often lunch with clients, French restaurants in L.A. never hit the right note: either too expensive and stuffy or not authentic and inedible. In Paris, at Le Vercanaille, I had to plunge right into the "exotic" dishes rarely served in Southern California, in this case a "langoustine salad" and "ris de veau" (sweetbreads). The langoustine salad was petite but attractively presented with avocado and small bites. The bread and gourmet coffee was very good. The ris de veau with rice was a tad too buttery and cold for me and I regretted not to have selected a more traditional meat dish.
This restaurant wins for social warmth, relaxed atmosphere and should provide a good respite from the stressful business world nearby. I would come back with my own clients if I could but I live more than 6,000 miles away!
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