Sunday night, Cravings’ Paris correspondent, Everett, wanted to take me to check out the newest Costes Brothers restaurant right on the Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés (directly across from the church). The discrete restaurant housed in a stately old Ministry of Industry building has no sign. We went at 8pm without a reservation and walked right in. They seated us in the center of the dining room, so I got to see all the guests entering and observed the scene in the entire room.
I wasn’t so much entertaining expectations as I was curiosity. So from the moment we entered, I was quite surprised by the professional and warm service on the part of the notably good-looking wait staff. When they served Everett a plate of scallops instead of the grilled shrimp he had actually ordered, the waitress and GM were both quick to rectify the mistake, and by “quick” I mean before we had even had time to react. They are on the ball.
The food was a bit hit or miss, which is unfortunate, as I think trendy establishments have no excuse to turn out less than fabulous food. My simple salad of mâche and endives was a huge bed of greens (much bigger than expected) but I’ve never had mâche this bitter before. I had to push it aside.
My grilled chicken came with a small pot of curry sauce and chutney. The flavors were great, but I had to ask for a second pot of curry. However, with the right proportion of sauce to meat and basmati rice, the dish really hit the spot. Be prepared for model-diet portions and model-salary prices.
Everett and I were both in the mood for a Bordeaux white, so we ordered the 2007 Château Carbonnieux Blanc from Pessac-Léognan. A solid and classic house, but another letdown. This incredibly minerally wine didn’t have the structure or weight that I associated with older vintages. I thought food might help, but either way, it was just very astringent and the composition too loose.
By the time our entrées arrived, around 9pm, in walked Catherine Deneuve, who was seated next to us. For a see-and-be-seen restaurant filled with BPs and who’s who’s, the ambiance was actually rather low key. There is an air of relaxation that I appreciated.
Just over two weeks old, La Société is presently keeping 8am to half past midnight hours with continuous service. Obviously catering to the active tourist traffic of the area, it’s actually a convenient option for a leisurely breakfast (I like that they have a breakfast martini!) or an off-hours snack if you happen to be in Saint Germain.
Go to La Société knowing that you’ll be paying more than you should for the location, décor (by Christian Liagre) and food, but in exchange, the place is gorgeous and spacious. You’ll be seen and you’ll never know who you might see sitting right next to you.