Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paris Eats Part II: Le Gavroche

Before we left on our trip to Paris, we choose a list of restaurants where we wanted dinner resevations for the whole trip. I didn't want us to get there and be scrambling for a place. I wanted a nice selection of establishments, both fancy and simple, located all across Paris, so that we'd be able to experience different neighborhoods and types of restaurnts. Truly in Paris there is a difference between a cafe, bistro, brasserie and restaurant (although don't quiz me on the brasserie vs. bistro one!).

Le Gavroche had a favorable review in the Pudlo restaurant guide and was described as an inexpensive bistro serving fabulous French classic dishes.

The place is very tiny with a small bar as you enter which holds maybe five people. There are tables pressed against one another in typical Parisian fashion which hold an additional 20 or so people in the main room. There is a second room which holds perhaps another 10. Similar to Hier et Aujourd'hui, there were only two people running the place two men, one in the kitchen and one in the front of the house.

We definately got to know your neighbors as we were seated eight inches away from them in either direction. The English men to my left talked loudly as if wanting us to chime in with our opinion. The single guy to my right was content eating and drinking in silence. I did notice that he had the same copy of the Pudlo book as we did, nice choice!

The local feel made me nervous at first, would we fit in? The menu made me relax because as promised it held all the French basics I wanted to see... escargot, fresh anchovies, charcuterie plates, pomme frites, steak with peppercorn sauce, etc.

We patiently waited for the waiter's attention and then blasted our order at him... big plate of escargot, marinated white anchovies, carrot salad, tomato salad, and a charcuterie plate. I loved the old fashioned way the waiter kept track of our order by writing directly on the butcher paper covering our table. We loved the wine choices. There were several wines from Beaujolais that had a proprietary label on them. We chose a Fleurie and Julienas over the course of our meal.

The escargot were good, everything was good. Not fabulous, but delicious, simply prepared classics. It all really hit the spot, we had been craving good French food and this delivered the food and the very Parisian experience I wanted.

Our entree's were equally basic, filling and well prepared. I had a grilled sausage salad, which was a bit gamey but, after borrowing the mustard from the English men's table, really perked up. The pork with Dijon sauce was deemed a hit by my husband and the veal with peppercorn sauce was perfectly cooked and disappeared quickly.

I ordered the Baba Rhum for dessert which Pudlo recommended and it was wonderfully moist and delicious.

While waiting for l'addition, the solo waiter stopped by to pour my husband and I one more glass of red wine, which we gladly accepted. At this point I knew that we had managed to fit in with the locals. We found that if you enjoy food, wine and a true French meal, which we certainly did that night, well then the Parisians are going to respect you and your joie de vivre.

We stumbled out of our tiny table and took a picture of the chef in his tiny kitchen and he was happy to ham it up for the photo. They were certainly proud of the ambiance, food and experience they had shared with us that night. We were happy to have been there and I'd go back anytime!

Le Gavroche
2nd Arronidssement
19, Rue St Marc 75002 Paris, France
ph. +33 1 42 96 89 70‎

No comments: