We settled on Au Pied de Fouet (which translates to, "foot of the whisk" but I imagine it must mean something else that gets lost in the translation) because it was labeled as inexpensive and traditional family fare. It sounded like exactly what we wanted, especially since it appealed to our budgeting side.
We walked for about fifteen minutes toward Au Pied de Fouet and by the time we arrived were ready to eat, but when I went to open the door I was unpleased to discover that it was locked. A man sitting at the bar tried to use some sort of sign language to communicate to me but my confusion was not relieved. After some time I finally understood that the restaurant wouldn't be open until 7pm. It was 6:45pm. Luckily there was a small bar around the corner where we could get a glass of wine and wait out the fifteen minutes until the restaurant opened it's doors for us.
We returned to the front door almost exactly at seven and were the first people in the place. It was a good thing that we got there when we did because the place quickly filled up. I had given Kirstie the advice that it's usually good idea to steer clear of restaurants overflowing with people reading tour guides, and of course it was only a few minutes later that we were in Au Pied de Fouet with our own tour guide book surrounded by fellow tourists reading their tour books. Obviously, they all recommended this spot.
In spite of that it was wonderful. The service was good in the way that french service is good. The waiter was a bit brisk and obviously lacked the muscles required for smiling, but he was fast and patient with our inability to order quickly or decisively. The food was good, simple, french family food. Poor Nance only wanted two appetizers (called entrees) but the menu, and our waiter, stated that each person had to order a main course. It seemed a bit odd considering that she would've spent more money on her two appetizers than on her single main dish, but Nance is so easy going that she was more than happy to follow the nonsensical rules. My duck confit was definitely the best out of all our dishes, and at only 12 euros it was a steal. Like most traditional french dishes it was only served with one side, the mashed potatoes, but they were deliciously buttery.
We all ordered desserts and I was happy to discover that they were delicious! We had the creme caramel, millefeuille, tarte tatin, and some incredibly rich chocolate "cake" drenched in creme anglais that was decadently tantalizing. Though the food wasn't mind blowing and the plating was basic and uninspired, it was inexpensive, tasty, and satisfying. I certainly enjoyed my duck, thoroughly, and everyone was more than happy with their desserts.
I was happy to see that they had three locations (45 rue Babylone, 96 rue Oberkampf and 3 rue St. Benoît) one of which is only a hop skip and a jump away from my apartment on rue Oberkampf. I will certainly be hitting it up whenever I'm in the mood for duck confit, which I must admit is practically every second of every day. I recommend it to anyone looking for something good, quick, and on a budget.