Chef Sylvain Sendra, formerly at Le Temps au Temps, has moved to very pretty new digs in the Latin Quarter (5th arrondissement), and with a real kitchen to spread his wings in--he formerly cooked brilliantly in one that was the size of a broom-closet--his delicious market-driven menus have never been more appealing. Occupying a pretty, spacious corner space with lots of natural light and well-dessed tables, ITINERAIRES offers a great snap shot of the best of contemporary French bistro cooking. I dined there the other night with the charming writer Monique Truong (her brilliant novel "The Dish of Salt" has me anxiously awaiting her next one), her charming husband Damian, and the indefatigible Bruno, who was thrilled to meet Monique (he loved her book, which has been translated into French, too).
Sendra's lovely wife Sarah runs the dining room with style and warm hospitality, so we settled right into to a comfortable banquette table, and began the challenging business of narrowing down our options from the chalkboard menu, which really wasn't easy. In the end, we loved our starters of green asparagus in a foie gras vinaigrette with borage flowers and a delicate salad of finely chopped marinated salmon and baby vegetables (peas, fava beans, fennel bulb, white asparagus, zucchini) with an arugula-and-pickled-lemon vinaigrette. Main courses were also terrific: roast baby lamb from the Pyrenees served with a puree of baby peas and fresh mint, an excellent squid’s ink risotto with razon-shell clams, and salmon slowed cooked in a vacuum pouch with the off-beat seasoning of some Lapsong Souchong tea. A wonderful peach tart and an imaginative fruit salad with lemongrass ended this fine meal, which also worked out to be a good buy due to the prix-fixe price of 34 Euros.
Word of mouth means that this place has become very popular, so advance reservations are advised.
5 rue de Pontoise, 5th, 01.46.33.60.11