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Drinking & Dining Reviews

Le Cinq-Mars

Cinq Mars facade

Petite Brigitte told me to go check this out, singing the praises of the mojitos (okay, and the babe behind the bar who made the mojito…). I was nursing a bad cough, so I was wisely sticking to the Perrier, but I discovered something altogether more exciting for this little chocolate addict: mousse au chocolat à volonté!

For those of you who are confused by this French phrase, it means “help yourself”. I’m still on a chocolate high so let’s start with the dessert. My friend and I are both quite trim, so maybe they were unsuspecting, or just very kind (or perhaps that waitress didn’t know any better and got fired afterwards), but when we asked if we could SPLIT our dessert, they actually brought us one bowl with two spoons. Then they bring out a HUGE serving bowl of chocolate mousse, with perhaps enough for eight normal helpings inside, and leave it on our table. And it was goooooooooood.

Mousse au chocolat
“Our” mousse au chocolat. Sorry for the low-res pic…trying to be discreet!

I think we ate at least 75% between us. I could have eaten more, but was a bit worried that it would be rude to finish the whole thing — omigod I’ve been in France too long! “Did we eat more than everyone else?” my companion asked when the waitress came to retrieve the bowl. “Non, some people finish it,” she says with a smirk. I should mention that the two of us polished off at least six helpings of chocolate mousse for €8.

Let’s backup a bit. The bistro is on the same street as (but quite far down from) the residence of the late legendary French rocker Serge Gainesbourg (his house is the one covered in adoring graffiti). Otherwise, the street is mostly interior décor shops and antique galleries. The bistro is (already) non-smoking, with a neo-retro loft style inside: polished concrete floors, exposed stone walls, zinc bar, etc. It’s not very large, so you should reserve. No one was there at 8pm except a table of Japanese tourists, but by 9pm it was packed with a 30-something, hip clientele (and, only complaint at all) a bit loud since there’s nothing upholstered to absorb the sound.

We split a foie gras starter, then ordered two healthy fish dishes (bass for me, cod for my friend) so that we’d have room for the mousse. Both of us liked our fish, well-cooked, great sauces. Service was attentive, friendly, if a bit disorganized (they forgot to bring my friend’s wine). We still had a great time and have already planned on going back as soon as our sugar-levels drop back down.

51 rue de Verneuil, 7th
Tel 01 45 44 69 13
M° Rue du Bac

PS: Cinq-Mars does mean March 5th, but here it actually refers to the Marquis de Cinq-Mars, a French aristocrat who tried plotting against Louis XIVs powerful minister Richelieu (he ended up losing his head). Alfred de Vigny write a novel about the young man’s life.

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  • I am a well traveled American that loves to find a dinner spot "off the beaten path" and I came here on friend recommendations. I did not have a reservation but they sat me right away and my food was out quickly, I also ate quickly. After only 50 minutes of being there, they told me I needed to leave as my table was ready for another group. I have never been so uncomfortable in all the countries i have traveled and places that I have frequented. Will tell anyone and everyone that I know…