Le Stella, on Avenue Victor Hugo in the 16th Arondissment, was my choice for our first meal in Paris because it is a traditional brasserie, and there can be no better example of a quintessential French eatery to make you feel like you've truly landed in Paris.
The absence, from the menu, of a classic French onion soup was a disappointment to at least one person in our party, but unperturbed, I went with the old favourite, Gros escargots sauvages de Bourgogne to start. The snails were plump, so big in fact that dislodging them from the shells they came in proved to be quite the task, and the garlic sauce was tasty - an above average rendition; nothing to fault, if nothing exactly to wax lyrical about either. Another starter, Terrine de foies de volaille was just as good - the terrine smooth as silk.
Onto the mains, and a daily special of Sauté d'Agneau et Haricots Tarbais came so highly recommended by the gentleman who took our order that I felt almost obliged to order it, despite not knowing much more about it than that it was a lamb dish. It turned out to be a casserole with herb crusted pieces of tender lamb, and beans - it was a reasonable enough dish, but not one I would remember, or necessarily order again. The Saucisson chaud du Beaujolais, pommes à l'huile main, on the other hand, was absolutely delicious.
We skipped dessert because a.) it was a late lunch and b.) we had a much anticipated dinner at Le Jules Verne in a few hours that we absolutely did not want to be too full for.
In a nutshell...
A decent meal. Nothing really to fault, but nothing to write home about either. I can't help but suspect that there are better traditional Parisian brasseries out there.
133 Avenue Victor Hugo, 75116, Paris, France
Average Price: €30