The restaurant doesn't take reservations so we showed up about 6:45 to line up for the 7:00 opening - early by Parisian standards, but I'd gladly eat dinner at Café Constant at any time of day. Once again, we were seated in the pleasantly crowded dining room on the second floor. The windows were open allowing the light breeze to blow in. We settled in and ordered a bottle of wine while we perused the menu.
As before, Trevor and I shared the foie gras & toast as an appetizer. It was sooo good. The texture is smooth and buttery and the taste is complex but light. The pinch of sea salt on top finishes it off perfectly. There was a table of Americans seated next to us, and I recommended it to them. They let us know that they had enjoyed it immensely too and might not have tried it if I hadn't suggested it.
Choosing a main course was very difficult - Do you go with the dish that you know you loved, or do you try something else that may be just as delicious? Usually I'm the type to always try something different, but this time I decided to go with the duck again. It was as I remembered it - perfectly cooked leg of duck with nice crispy skin, a cake of duck & mushroom topped with rich buttery mashed potato, accompanied by slices of crunchy fried potato and apple. French cuisine perfection.
Now for dessert - the desserts at Café Constant are outstanding and you should order one even if you're stuffed. In fact, I told Trevor that he had to order his own because I wasn't sharing. I picked the Quenelles au Chocolat (not knowing what it was when I ordered) and was delighted to receive mounds of rich, delicious chocolate, somewhere between ganache & mousse in consistency (okay, closer to ganache), swimming in a puddle of creme anglais. It was very decadent, and I had to enlist help to finish it. Trev went for the Ile Flottante, and it was just as delicious as we remembered.
Now don't get me wrong here, everything was absolutely delicious, but I didn't have quite the same reaction to my main course as I had the first time I ordered the dish. It just wasn't 'first love' the way it had been on our prior visit. Because I didn't feel the same way about the dish the second time does that mean that it wasn't actually one of my best meals ever? No, I still think it was, but it made me think of our first visit to Café Constant as a whole other experience that contributed to my feelings - it was my first trip to Paris and I was infatuated with everything - the meal at Café Constant was the cherry on top. So maybe it was a mistake to order the same dish - how could it possibly live up to my memories? But on the other hand, if I had ordered something else maybe I would have missed the decadent mushroom, duck and potato...it's hard to know.
What about you? Do you order 'favourite dishes' over and over again? Do they always live up to your memories?
Anyhow, I would recommend Café Constant to anyone in a heartbeat. I'm not sure if it would be possible to find better 'French bistro' cuisine at such an affordable price. The lineup outside the door each night is evidence that this place is worth a visit.