Another day, another neighborhood bistro. Midi Vins is located on a sunny corner of the rue Cherche-Midi and was recommended to us by the hotel's manager. We asked where we could go nearby for a simple lunch and he immediately suggested Midi Vins and told us to look for the owner Christelle. After a short walk to the nearby FNAC, we went around the block and cut through a quiet back street to get there.
The restaurant is cozy with lots of wooden tables (glass-topped wooden champagne bottle holders), lots of vases of multi-colored roses, a zinc bar with many interesting wines by the glass and a blackboard menu. There is the usual bartender/waiter and Christelle, the owner who was also running around serving tables.
For lunch, there is a two-course set menu - €21 entree et plat ou plat et dessert (starter and main or main and dessert), or just the plat du jour for €15.50. At night the dinner three-course set menu (starter, main and dessert) is a bargain at €25.00. Where nearby Les Garcons is more for a younger crowd, Midi Vins is where a more mature crowd eat. As soon as we sat down, we were given a plate of saucisson sec on buttered baguette rounds - the salty sausage and the sweet butter was a pleasure to munch on while we were deciding on what to order.
We had a glass of wine each to go with our lunch. My mom started off with the rillettes au poissons maison aux herbes (fish rillettes) and I had the melon du soleil au jambon Vendéen. My simple plate of sweet melon draped with raw cured ham from the Vendee region was again one of those perfect flavor combinations of savory and sweet. My mom's fish rillettes were delicious - flaked fish mixed with lots of fresh dill and onion and tangy with lemon juice. Again, the portions were big and as we finished off our appetizers, we were wondering how we were going to get through the larger main course - filet de daurade grille a l'aneth for me and the araignée de cochon a l'ail confite for my mom. My whole sea bream fillets were served with a spaghetti of zucchini, a fancy French way of calling thinly-sliced zucchini in spaghetti-like strips, and a dill-butter sauce. My mom's bread crumbed pork came with roasted garlic cloves and a mountain of crispy fries. Both were good but the fried pork and fries, although a cholesterol bomb, was the winning plat of the day - hot, crispy pork with sweet roasted garlic and crunchy homemade frites. This was unpretentious bistro food at it's best. Although we were full, we couldn't resist sharing a plate of tiny framboises (raspberries) simple sprinkled with icing sugar to end our meal.
A long walk around the area was called for after that large lunch and so we continued on towards the end of Cherche-Midi where there were lots more restaurants, the famous traditional restaurant Chez Dumonet and the newer Gerard Depardieu-owned Le Bien-Decide, a rotisserie and cave a vins. Also on the same street were several outlet boutiques of past season items from fancy children's wear (Bonpoint etc) to designer women's shoes and clothing (Marc Jacobs, YSL etc) and even home accessories and kitchenware. A fantastic lunch and bargain retail therapy afterwards - who can complain?
83, rue du Cherche-Midi
Telephone: +33 1 4548 3371
*Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Sundays and Mondays.