The napkin.

I had lunch at a tiny little restaurant just steps from my hotel in Paris. It was called Le Timbre.

Only 11 tables. A lovely young woman and her husband own the restaurant — it has been open for about five years. He’s the Chef. From my observation, she managed the restaurant.

Husband and wife were both stylish, handsome, and in total synch in presenting their food. I was quite taken by them and their little restaurant.

It took me several days to get a seat because they were always booked. I finally scored a reservation for lunch on Saturday. The menu was transcendent. As was the food.

First though – there was this evocative moment. The napkin ring.

It immediately transported me to the VSOE. Oh, that it were one of those Harry Potter portkeys and could have literally transported me to the Orient Express. At dinner, the cameriere would play this game. He would hold the ring and have me pull out the napkin. Lovely evocative memory.

Anyway – back to my lunch at Le Timbre.

I picked the mini prix-fixe: starter and main.

White Tuna and Watermelon

Great starter. Cubes of white tuna lightly marinated with equal size cubes of watermelon. The dressing was green, had a slight kick to it: composed of parsley, chervil, coriander, lemon and some of its zest, and olive oil. The “kick” might have been a little touch of chile though it was not hot. It was fabulous.

Red Snapper with Braised Baby Leeks

The snapper was perfectly seared. Served on braised leeks. The golden rectangle of potato was crispy on top with layers and layers of deliciousness below. The purée on the plate was celery root.

Chef did something quite interesting with the dish. The spices were lightly sprinkled in discreet sections. A few sprigs of thyme about 3 o’clock. Some ground cumin with a couple of seeds at 10. Thin thin thin slices of pork belly laid on top of the leeks. There was one shallot in the dish that added another level of flavor. And a few nicoise olives were scattered about.

If in Paris and you get a chance – make a reservation at Le Timbre. It’s on the tiny little Rue Sainte-Beuve.