12 Impasse Berthaud, 75003 Paris
I live on the border of Beaubourg and le Marais, but more often than not I find myself heading east into le Marais when it is time to go out to dinner. Why? Because the whole area around the Centre Pompidou is glutted with overpriced tourist traps. So I was skeptical when I heard rave reviews of Le Hangar, which is tucked just off of rue Beaubourg on the dead-end Impasse Berthaud. Getting there is a rather strange experience. You turn immediately from the hoards around Beaubourg onto the deserted Impasse Berthaud, a street that houses little besides Le Hangar and a mildly terrifying-looking doll museum. But despite my reservations about the location, I did hear enough good things about Le Hangar that I decided to take my best friend there during her visit to Paris for the New Year. It ended up being a perfect night, probably the best one we had during her visit. Some places don’t even warrant being dressed up in all my fancy adjectives. I just really, genuinely love Le Hangar.
The décor is neither faddish nor overdone, just clean and simple. The place is family-run and everyone is extremely friendly. They bring a small crock of a olive tapenade and toasts while you look over the menu, which is probably not fussy enough to actually qualify as an “amuse bouche,” but it’s nice. The menu is handwritten and filled with pasted-in additions and subtractions that reflect the season. When my best friend M visited, we shared an entrée of tender escargot in a black truffle cream sauce. I had the evening’s special for my main course: a sweet and creamy langoustine risotto. M had the exquisite escalopes de fois gras, which are essentially fried slices of foie gras served on a bed of olive-oil whipped potatoes and drizzled with duck fat. When it arrived, she declared that there would be no way she could possibly finish all that liver. After she took a bite, however, I could barely get in there for a taste. For dessert, we split the chocolate soufflé, which is served with a spicy cinnamon gelato. Everything was perfectly executed, right down to the lovely assortment of petits fours that accompanied our coffee.
When A and I returned to Le Hangar last Friday, we shared an entrée of salmon tartare with olive oil and fresh basil. I thought it was light and subtle. He said it was “fishy.” I objected and said that I thought it was delicious. He agreed. Apparently A doesn’t think that “fishy” is a bad thing. I guess adjectives are subjective. His main course of filet de boeuf aux morilles, however, was objectively amazing. Though I suspect Charlie Chaplin’s shoe would be delicious if you covered it in a morel mushroom cream sauce, Le Hangar expertly handled A’s saignant steak. For me, the parmentier de confit de canard. Duck confit is leg meat that has been cured in salt and then poached in its own fat. Parmentiers are a kind of pseudo-Shepard’s pie made with a variety of meats. Le Hangar’s potatoes were luscious and smooth, with a nice flavor of nutmeg and cinnamon that offset the fattiness of the duck. It was my first parmentier in France and I’m glad I saved myself for Le Hangar.
Details: So delightful I’m reticent to tell the internets about it for fear that it will get too popular. Fortunately only six people read this blog and I’d take them to dinner here if they were ever in Paris. Le Hangar takes reservations, but I haven’t needed them so far (it helps to arrive before nine on the weekends as the place will fill up). The whole shebang for two (entrée and plat, shared dessert, and a sick bottle of wine) will probably set you back about 100 euro. Be prepared to be wished a genuine “bonne soirée” by the entire restaurant two or three times when you depart. Totally charming. Can’t imagine why you’d eat anywhere else in Beaubourg.
Photo via google.fr