With just twenty seats (most wedged between the bar and a wall), Zucco: Le French Diner is one of the most lilliputian eateries in the city. Once we located the bathroom jammed in the back corner next to a prep table — and tapped on the cook’s shoulder so he could make room for us to open the door — we weren’t surprised to find that it’s also tres petite. Thankfully, what the loo lacks in size, it makes up for with Godardian flair.
Theme: Student apartment in the Marais district; walls are plastered with revolutionary-newspaper clippings, photos of Charles de Gaulle, and French porn fliers.
Privacy: There are cracks of light in the thin wooden door, and cooks sometimes bump it while tossing the niçoise.
Amenities: A shelf stocked with a gumball machine, a Jesus candle and icon, books by Poe and Baudelaire, and French comics and boxing magazines.
Drawbacks: If the WC is occupied, you can’t stand by the door without hovering over other diners or blocking the servers and cooks.
Strategy: Avoid having to wiggle around people who are paying bills, taking off coats, or using the facilities themselves. When nature calls, keep an eye on everyone (not hard in such a small room) and once you’re certain all are seated and accounted for, make your move.
Rating: — Daniel Maurer