A meal at the charming Café Moderne is the perfect answer to those hand-wringers who regularly moan about the downfall of French cooking. In any other city, a chef like Jean-Luc Lefrançois (ex-Astor, ex-Prunier) would be a major star. In Paris, he’s just one of scores of first-rate chefs who quietly knock themselves out daily by cooking truly innovative and delicious dishes. On the menu recently: scallops with parsnip puree and grilled bacon; a succulent filet of sea bass with a spice-bread crumb crust; and a mixture of lentils, baby onions and deboned pig’s feet that will convince even the most reticent of how delicious trotters can be when properly prepared. It’s truly excellent food, especially for such modest prices. The place manages to be both cozy and chic, with a pretty chocolate-and-white decor, red banquettes and soft lighting. Delightful service and an excellent wine list, too.
40 rue Notre Dame des Victoires, 2nd, 01.53.40.84.10. Prix-fixe dinner €39 per person without wine