Le Comptoir is so conveniently located for tourists and shoppers and has such a good food reputation that magazines, guidebooks and blogs trip over themselves to say nice things. It’s an understatement to say dinner reservations at the tiny bistro are hard to come by, so it’s pretty excellent that the bistro doesn’t take reservations for lunch.
I hadn’t planned to re-visit Le Comptoir this trip (can it really be, already, a year and a half since I was last at Le Comptoir?), but Jon and I found ourselves seized with hunger at around 3 pm on Easter Sunday, and every shop and cafe we sought out was closed for the holiday. So, knowing that the very-French-looking Le Comptoir is open a very un-French-like 24-7 (even holidays!), I walked us over Le Petit Pont and down to Le Comptoir.
Oeufs mayonnaise (the name is the recipe: hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise) may be simple and not much to look at, but I love them. It’s the homemade mayonnaise that makes Le Comptoir’s version a standout – extra yolky with a vinegar tang and black pepper kick.
Jon’s tranche du lard de cochon (“slice of pig fat”) had the goodness you can get only from braising pork belly for a gazillion hours until it’s so soft it’s almost translucent.
Sadly, Jon was not a fan of his creme lentilles soup, and the vegetables piled onto my onglet (hanger steak) were soggy and flavorless. Limp, tasteless veg was the same problem I had the last time I was at Le Comptoir, so maybe it’s a chronic problem and not a one-off.
Still, we were so glad Le Comptoir was open for lunch; service was fast and friendly; and our tab came to 60 euros for two starters, two mains and a carafe of house red, so I understand Le Comptoir’s enduring popularity.
Le Comptoir du Relais, 9, Carrefour de l’Odeon, +33 (0)1 44 27 07 97. Closest Metro: Odeon