Under the same ownership as La Chaumiere, L'Escargot is as much known for its agreeable selection of inexpensive wines as for its food, which is not only moderately priced, but seems to offer the same moderate prices as last year. It has a kind of ski lodge look, nothing fancy but warm and welcoming, unless you hit at the restaurant's rush hour. The service specializes in speed and efficiency rather than flourishes. And the bread is particularly good. The food has its own personality and is sufficiently temperamental that one day it is up, another day down. You can depend on the pate - rough and soundly spiced - and the onion soup - one of the rare good ones in this city. Daily specials run to cassoulet and bouillabaisse,which may be the safest dishes to order. Beware of the floury tasteless chicken basquaise and similarly pasty, bland veal scallops; fish is probably a better bet. As for the vegetables, a complaint to a waitress brought the answer, "You know the French." The meal will be saved, if it needs saving, by the crisp, mustardy salad, and dessert, either a rum-and-custard house cake or a wonderful trembling creme caramel. Finally, the coffee is very good.