Went to L'Intial last night -- it is located in a little street near Notre Dame. It was pouring rain and afterwards when it was only raining a drizzle we went over and took pictures and walked around Notre Dame at night; this may be the most beautiful sight in the world -- Notre Dame from the back lit up at night in the rain. Heavenly.
They have two menus -- one 4 course for 36 and for 48 you can have 7 courses. The added courses are an amuse that was not very good, a heavenly to die for grilled foie gras, and an amazing grapefruit sorbet. The entree other than the foie gras and the one you get with the 36 menu is a langostine (sort of crayfish/shrimp thing out of shell) infused with citrus and with fennel. Very good. There is a fish course of amazing lovely well sauced pollock -- a delicate white flakey fish. The meat course is a selection of rack of lamb. sweetbreads or pigeon. My husband had the sweetbreads -- excellent and I had the lamb, also excellent. The dessert on the 4 course menu and the second dessert on the 7 course is a rhubarb tart with a bit of strawberry gelato. And as always mignardises -- little cakes afterwards when most people order coffee which we don't do. We had a glass of champagne as aperitif which was 13 a coupe and generously poured at the table. There is wine by the glass, a bubbly sake, as well as the usual array of bottled wines.
with the 36 menu you get a little plate of nibbles (a couple of bready things and a small ravioli with goat cheese when you sit down. Then you get the Langostine entree, a fish course, a choice of meat course, and the rhubarb pastry/gelato dessert and after that the mignardises (petit fours). Coffee water and wine extra. You can ask for a carafe of water and that is free. We usually do that and most of the French diners were doing that, but we like bubbly water for a nice meal like this and bought a large bottle of Badoit for 6 Euro. This is absolutely not necessary though. This meal is a real bargain for elegant French cooking at this price. As noted for the 48 menu you get all those things plus the amuse, the foie gras and the heavenly sorbet.
If you go with your group I would order the 4 course menu but maybe get two of the 7 course so everyone could taste the foie gras and the sorbet -- the foie gras especially is amazing and a must as a French experience for the birthday girl. My husband wore a jacket and I dressed up a bit, but there were a couple of men in shirtsleeves and a dressy casual look would not be out of place. This is a very good place; some people think it is in line for a Micheline star in the future and quite reasonably priced for this type experience. The cook is Japanese and brings a hint of Japanese fusion to the French cuisine.
We haven't had a meal this lovely since our old favorite Cottage Marcadet in Montmartre closed down.
The Bofinger and Train Bleu recommendations made earlier here are good choices if you want a beautiful room to be remembered, but of these three, L'Initial has the best food. They also FWIW honor dietary issues. I can't eat onions and the chef modified the fish dish to make sure I didn't have onion; that dish apparently has some onion in the sauce so he prepared mine differently. They ask about such things when you reserve on line.
I would recommend this place because it is both elegant and has accessible dishes that are tasty and not likely to be too weird for young people experiencing an elaborate cuisine for the first time.