Go Where You Are Welcome
By Mina Yamashita
P’tit Louis Bistro
So what is a bistro? A bistro is where van Gogh could take his paintings and trade them for lunch. A bistro is where Toulouse-Lautrec could drink absinthe until he was blotto, or where Hemingway and other expats scribbled on napkins into the wee hours. My friend Marjorie Zakian recently completed a painting she titled “Go Where You Are Welcome.” That, in a nutshell, describes a bistro.
My new home-away-from-home is P’tit Louis Bistro on the corner of Gold and Third Street. What had been Ooh! Aah! Jewelry’s Downtown location a few months ago is now a bright blue, turn-of-the-century Parisian bistro.
When I enter, it’s a holodeck experience. It’s 3 p.m. and I order tea and a tarte Tatin. A man joins a friend at the end of the banquette. Their table is full of napkins. Clearly, they are here to hang out, maybe have a snack.
The small restaurant has 10 tables including the banquettes along one wall. The hand-carved art nouveau bar, tile floors and tin ceiling have been lovingly crafted by Decarpentries together with partner John Phinizy, who runs the front of the operation. Steve Paternoster of Brasserie La Provence and Scalo is a silent partner who applauds Descarpentries’ vision in the creation of this new venue. Marissa Evans, waitstaff, also wielded a paintbrush in preparation for the opening. The group feels more like a family than a business.
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
It’s a good idea to make reservations, especially around lunchtime. You can reserve the restaurant for private parties on evenings and weekends.
Read about bistros:
• The Authentic Bistros of Paris , François Thomazeau (Little Bookroom)
• The Bistros, Brasseries, and Wine Bars of Paris: Everyday Recipes from the Real Paris , Daniel Young (William Morrow Cookbooks)
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