Pleasant Surprises in Eateries

I was reading a novel by Barry Eisler the other day. He is my favorite CIA agent-turned-novelist. In the sixth installment of his Japanese American assassin John Rain he moves him to Paris. And then he sends him to fairly obvious places to eat and drink.

That gave me the idea to write about unknown and off-the-beaten-path bistros and brasseries in Paris. After all, if I were to send my characters to some locations and eateries, I would stay away from the Marais district and Cafe de Flores in Saint Germain area.

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine and I were trying to find a decent place to have lunch in the 9th arrondissement. We stumbled upon Clarière, an unassuming little restaurant where the husband is the chef and the wife is the maitre d'hotel.

Many French couples dream of starting a small restaurant where one of them would cook and the other would serve. It is the French version of the Anglo Saxon bed and breakfast dream. Usually, the dream turns into a nightmare. Running a restaurant is a highly specialized task and most people find it arduous.

In this case, it was perfect harmony. Michel and Eve Hermet found the right balance. He looked after the kitchen and she took care of the service. The food was imaginative and whimsical. And the service was attentive yet unobtrusive.

The restaurant is called Clairière and it is in Rue Chaptal in the 9th arrondisement. 

It is a perfect place to have lunch and send your literary character to have a bite in between killing assignments.

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