It’s Friday night at Le Servan and the couple next to me is involved in some serious negotiating. “Non,” says the man. “I really think we should get the sea snails.” He pulls his hair back into a perfectly crumpled man bun. “Oh, please,” the woman says with a note of disgust, “we always get the sea snails. Tonight, I’m in the mood for cockles!” They kiss, then agree to order both.
Meanwhile, a famous French restaurant critic, dressed in brown corduroy and tweed, is polishing off a slice of praline tart with an extremely crisp and buttery crust and spooning up half of a poached pear. Superstar Mexican chef Enrique Olvera, most recently of New York’s Cosme, leans on the bar, sharing a hot plate of sweetbreads with some fellow cooks. Camille Fourmont, who runs a stylish wine bar just down the street, walks in. “I’m hungry,” she announces to a skinny French waiter. Then, 10 times louder, toward the half-open kitchen: “Hey, I’m superhungry! What are you cooking back there?”