L'Avant Comptoir: A Hidden Gem in the Heart of Paris
Like most metropolitan areas, Paris is nearly filled to the brim with excellent food and drink options, with many of them in St. Germain-Des-Près. Should you find yourself meandering through the 6th, a welcome respite for a stand-up snack awaits you—L’Avant Comptoir, bistronomic wizard Yves Camdeborde’s tiny sibling restaurant adjacent to his Comptoir de la St. Germain.
The only thing different than the sit down bistros is that it’s standing room only—and likely three deep at the bar—at L’Avant Comptoir, which Camdeborde calls, “a French cousin of the Japanese sushi bars and Spanish tapas bars.” All other details are true to its next door neighbor; the petite wine bar offers deliciously skillful food and is wildly successful. Step beyond the unassuming crêperie in the front and head to the marble bar offering the aforementioned various hors d'oeuvres.
And you’ll need to look up for the menu—all items can be found on boards hanging from the ceiling, detailed with photos and price. Traditional croquettes and artichaut vinaigrette, as well as sardines nestled in a tin can and drenched in butter are all up for grabs, while all the necessary accoutrements like fleur de sel, hot mustard and cornichons are readily available along the bar. Meat lovers, you’re in serious luck; gorgeous charcuterie boards feature spicy saucisson, pork belly and other meats provided by his brother, Philippe Camdeborde.
Wine lovers should note that this is a safe haven in the heart of Paris, and this is evident by the generous pours. The wine list features some 200 labels, including Domaine Ribiera and Domaine Le Briseau. Look for some bottles hanging above your head or spilling out of the ice bucket on the counter.
And should L’Avant Comptoir be packed to the rafters, Camdeborde offers more hefty pork dishes at his third—and latest—installment, L’Avant Comptoir du Marché, just a stone’s throw away. Decadent menu items include slow-cooked pork shoulder with an oyster emulsion and pork hamburgers with piquillo pepper-raspberry sauce. But if you’re really in a hurry, the shots of Béarnaise pig’s blood are sure to satisfy, and maybe curb your appetite until dinner.
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