Right next to Daphne’s classroom is a small restaurant. Daphne has been excited by looking in the windows with the neatly folded, cone-shaped napkins and imagining eating dinner there. More than once she has snatched a business card from those made available outside the restaurant and brought them home. The restaurant is called Le Refuge du Passé (no website) and we had the occasion to try it on Thanksgiving night (we had our celebration on Friday), when Grammy-O and Papa John were visiting. It’s a small restaurant consisting of two rooms, each decorated with a wide variety of items relating to movies, music and theatre especially. We were especially gratified to see an old poster for “Le Dindon,” which means turkey in French, coincidentally also advertising a production of the Feydeau play that will be directed by Chris Herold in Shannon’s theatre department in Berkeley this spring (in translation).
The menu is tradition south-western French, which means lots of braised meats in rich sauces and things like cassoulet. Everything was very good–traditional cooking very well executed. Nothing innovative here, but if you’re lookin for a small, friendly bistro in the 5th I can definitely recommend it. I had Le Jambonneaux, which is shank of pork prepared in a brasier with a rich sauce and potatoes surrounding it. It was absolutely delicious and I certainly didn’t leave hungry. The wine list, as far as I remember, was unremarkable but fine. It’s France, after all, how bad can the wine list really be?
The service was a typically relaxed, which meant the kids melted down before we could try dessert. We’ll certainly go back, though, given the location and the agreeable price.
Le Refuge du Passé
32, Rue Fer à Moulin