Sunday, November 21, 2010

Steak frites and gésiers.

   Not together I should add. Beef and duck gizzards really don't seem happy partners. The steak I ate at a little bistro in hte Marais called Robert et Louise (which mon mari insists on referring to as "Thelma and Louise"). We reserved, as you should, because this place is hugely popular. I think they do two sittings, one at 7 p.m. and the one we were given at 9 p.m.

    The welcome and the room are both cosy, thanks to the owner who "tutoyer"s everyone in sight, and who seated us at a communal table with a couple of Australians, three gorgeous-looking French guys and three Sicilians,. As well as a strong sense of bonhomie, the room also glows from the blazing log fire at the end of the restaurant. I had steak--saignant, Peter had lamb chops, served on round, much-used wooden boards (like bread boards. Both came with a huge bowl of roasted potatoes, crunchy outside, soft inside, and a big bowl of glistening salad. A bottle of red, bread, conversation, what more do you need? is where to go for a look at the menu and wine list. By the way, if you're wondering why some prices are crossed out and reduced, that's because, some time ago, the French government reduced the TVA from 19.6 to 5.5 percent for restaurants. That way, restaurateurs could either afford to hire more staff, or to reduce menu prices, and thereby attract customers. Good idea or what?


    A couple of days later, we went back to Le Reminet, the restaurant we'd had such good meals at back in the summer. Again, we reserved. Oddly, because this place is literally a hop, skip and a jump from Notre Dame (but hidden on a side street), it's not overrun by out-of-towners but seems to be a favourite spot for Parisiens who know a deal when they see it (the weekday three-course lunchtime menu is 14 euros).
   I liked my starter a lot. A whole tomato, hollowed out, cooked till warm and soft but not squashy, stuffed with confited gésiers, magret (duck breast) and mushrooms. Peter had a sardine terrine, which I tasted and liked because it wasn't too "fishy" and had a definite peppery backnote. Both came with salads of small, perfectly formed greens. Mains were salmon for me, and a beef daube for 'im. Dessert was a standout: financiers (little, very obviously freshly-baked cakes) topped with a chocolate mousse so rich it was like eating a chocolate truffle.

   No food pix but a couple of shots to show you where Le Reminet is in relation to Notre Dame (the chalkboards are the common element).

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