Push back beyond the crêpe window up front and and you’ll find a convivial and crowded counter packed with elbows, charcuterie boards, communal pickle jars, and wine glasses. It’s standing room only at Yves Camdeborde’s small plates wine bar, a hit since it opened in fall of 2009. Delicious and hearty bites like duck hearts, ham croquettes and boudin noir macarons are washed down with an impressive selection of wines sold by the bottle or the glass. The opening of seafood spinoff L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer next door and, more recently, L’Avant Comptoir de la Marché just a few blocks away has dispersed the devotees throughout the neighborhood. The original remains packed, however, so go during the off hours or be prepared to be get to know the person next to you very, very well.
L’Avant Comptoir in photos
What people are saying
Le Fooding (2015) “Even for those disoriented diners who come for an afternoon snack, the ritual is still the same at Camdeborde’s pintxos bar: walk through the door past the plastic curtain, wait at the bar surrounded by artists, tourists or wandering souls (often all three at once…) and find a spot at this tapas bar, with a basket of Thierry Breton bread and a jar of salt from Salies-de-Béarn. You’ll be rewarded with the following: an extremely comforting croque monsieur with marinated oxtail, flash-seared piquillo peppers and a horseradish cream in buttery triangular-shaped bread.”
Not Drinking Poison in Paris (2011) “I should say that I actually liked the place well enough. The deal is it’s a quality-conscious, natural-wine, Bordier butter establishment that nevertheless is standing-room only, with self-service bread and condiments, and no plates.”
Dorie Greenspan (2009) “Not to be missed: Iberian ham croquettes (once fried, the ham dissolves inside its crispy shell — too bad I just used the word voluptuous, it would be perfect here, too)…”
Le Figaro (2009) “Quelques mètres carrés de néogouaille orchestrés par un Camdeborde toujours aussi fameux à faire trinquer mémoire et moderne…”
The New York Times (2009) “…This short, narrow, standing-room-only space with white tile walls, a broad pewter counter and an open kitchen is what Camdeborde calls an “hors d’oeuvres bar,” and it serves up an array of delicious small-plate Basque- and Béarnais-inspired nibbles…”
John Talbott (2009) “The entire Bayonne rugby team was celebrating; they were very drunk, very into jumping in unison on the fragile floor-boards, chanting/singing Basque fight songs, smoking and drinking much more…”
The Paris Notebook (2009) “Claustrophobics might want to abstain as it’s standing room only at the zinc bar laden with a communal bread basket, a tub of Bordier butter, white jars of pickles and peppers meant to be shared amongst your neighbors…”
L’Avant Comptoir in video
Anthony Bourdain’s Paris episode for “The Layover.” The segment on L’Avant Comptoir begins around the 12:20 mark.