Christian Etchebest is one of Paris’ most beloved bistrotiers (is that a word? Like a restaurateur, but for a bistro?). His original Troquet is much-loved, though rumor has it he’s sold the mothership in order to focus on a new project. In the meantime, though, he’s still running the convivial, no-reservations offshoot, La Cantine du Troquet.
Nick and I met some food-loving friends there a couple of Thursdays ago. We had misread their opening hours (they open at 7pm, not 8 as we had thought) and as a result, had to wait out on the sidewalk for a table to open up. It was a balmy evening, though, and was not at all an unpleasant wait, with a platter of Basque chorizo balanced on the wine barrel out front for all to share, and ordering bottles or carafes of wine to drink while standing on the corner is not only sanctioned, but encouraged.
Over our wine (poured from a liter carafe of totally drinkable – and totally affordable at 18 euros – Bandol red), we studied the chalkboard menu posted outside, our mouths watering over the beef cheeks and the lomo dish. Of course, by the time we got seated, both had been stricken from the real-time-updated indoor chalkboard. Not to be deterred that easily, I asked the waitress about the beef cheeks. She said they were out, but they had a pork cheek dish to replace it. I, and two of my three companions, said “yes, please.”