We had lunch recently at Christophe, a tiny speck of a place on Rue Descartes, just off the end of Rue Moufftard. Rue Mouffetard is a charming market street that has a number of desultory restaurants. If you find yourself ready for a meal as you’re walking up Rue Mouffetard please just keep going as Mouffetard becomes Rue Descartes and you’ll find Christophe where Rue Descartes forms a small plaza as it runs into Rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève.
Despite its small size (maybe 8 tables seating 25?), Christophe is elegant, with dramatic, vase-themed paintings on the walls and simple, contemporary place settings. I complained that it was a bit too quiet and they needed some music. Just then the bells from a nearby church started a long (15+minutes) and beautiful recital, solving the slight problem.
In any case, the food. To start (l’entrée) I had the “nems de cochon basque.” It was a a small sausage wrapped in a light and crunchy crust–as sort of elegant pig in the blanket, I guess, although I hate to conjure up that image (I guess “nems” must mean a “roll” as in a spring roll, but I can’t find a good definition for that term). The plum compote that accompanied it was a perfect foil. It was delicious and I could have had another one. Shannon started with small fish cakes, served with a sun-dried tomato compote. Yum.
I then had the boudin basque, which was mostly a blood sausage (I didn’t really know what “nem de cochon basque” was so I didn’t purposefully order two sausage courses, oh well). It was less aggressive than most “boudin noir”, so I think it was mixed with other parts to give its milder flavor. Again, very good, as were the pureed potatoes and sauce that accompanied it. Shannon had the brandade (salt cod) which was mixed with whipped potato. Very rich, very good. Both the entrées and plats had a small mache salad on the side.
One glass of wine each, an excellent Coteaux de Languedoc for me and a petit Chablis for Shannon. No desserts, just coffee. Total bill was 48 euros ($39). Definitely recommended if you’re in the area. I wouldn’t say that it is a destination restaurant though.