I’m not usually one to run out to try the latest Costes establishment; spending a small fortune on so-so food, served by glamorous young things who know nothing about cuisine, no matter how beautiful the setting, is not really my thing.
If your ever spent time in Paris, chances are you’ve been to one of establishments of Jean-Louis and Gilbert Costes, the two brothers who have managed to build a small culinary empire in Paris. They started some 25 years ago with the Café Costes, designed by the then up and coming designer Philippe Stark, and now can count a long list of establishments owned by the brothers themselves or one of their kin. Places like Café Marly in the Louvre, le Georges with its stunning view from the Centre Pompidou, le café Beaubourg, L’Avenue on rue Montaigne and the Hotel Costes and Costes K, are all owned and operated by the Costes brothers or a member of their family.
I broke my anti-Costes stance when their latest establishment (or one of the latest, as they seem to open left and right) opened in my neck of the woods, on the place Franz-Liszt in an up and coming part of the 10th. The large terrace, which overlooks the Place and Saint Vincent de Paul, was just thing for a hot Sunday night in August, when many decent restaurants have packed it up until the rentrée in September.
The food—and prices—were surprisingly not bad with neo-italian dishes that included an artichoke salad, smoked breaded mozzarella, several pasta dishes like penne alla boscaiola, rigatoni all’ arrabbiata, jumbo shrimp risotto, and a puttanesca which strangely included eggplant, zucchini, olives, tomatoes and ricotta in the list of ingredients. Main courses include a whole grilled sea bass, grilled calamari, veal Marsala, and the entrecote Montana. We opted for what turned out to be delicious fried smelts with tartar sauce, a perfectly acceptable, although a bit bland, artichoke and arugula salad, a so-so linguine with baby clams and an impressive grilled entrecote served with delicious looking fried potatoes that my companion devoured before I could steal a bite. They also serve “Lo Snack” for those just wanting something simple like carpaccio or an assortment of charcuterie. Unfortunately, we didn’t save room for dessert and lingered over an Illy café instead.
Service was—unlike my memory of Georges and Hotel Costes—welcoming and professional and definitely an addition to the experience. Our friendly server forgot to fire our main courses and apologized before we even noticed and comped our second bottle of Pellegrino to compensate. The fact that he noticed and apologised is definitely a first for me in Paris.
All in all, I found this newest Costes, a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.
Open daily from 8am-Midnight, continuous service.
Prices: entrées 7-12 €, plats 12.5-19.5 €; desserts 3-7.5 €; les snacks 6-12.5; petit déjuner 7.5€, sunday brunch 23 €