by Zoe Messinger
L’Avant Comptoir is right off from the Odeon stop on the subway in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in the 6th arrondissement. It translates to “before the counter,” the place you go to have a glass while you wait for your table at Relais du Comptoir—the prix-fixe fine dining spot nextdoor. I’ve made it beyond the counter, but L’Avant Comptoir is the real destination. It has allure, sex appeal, legs. Pictures of the dishes to come hang from the ceiling, each on their own little carte with the prices underneath: croquettes, escargot, foie gras macarons, boudin noir with truffle, waffles au jambon, Comté crème brulée. These one-off dishes tempt you in mid-air, cracking your restraint, sending you into a crazed hunger.