Restaurants & Bars

Excellent lunch at Beffroy in Rouen, France

Limster | Nov 22, 200104:00 PM

This was one of my favorite 1 Michelin star places in my month long trip to France.

Beffroy is a small charming place, lit warmly with gentle lighting and friendly hospitality. There are dark wooden beams that contrast with the lighter walls and ceilings and pretty plates displayed on the walls and in a glass cabinet. The feel is homey and comfortable.

I had lunch there, ordering from a fixed price menu. I had:

juicy baked scallops in a cream sauce warmly rounded by a a golden caramel flavor that brought out an echo of sweetness from the scallops. There was probably some alcohol (calvados? wine?) in the sauce as well for an added complexity, but I'm far from able to determine what it was.

duck a la rouennaise, possibly the best rendition of duck I tasted on this trip to France. On the menu it was stated as only for two, but when I inquired, the owner/maitre'd cheerfully took my order and saidthat he would convince the chef (or at least that's what I guess, since I spoke no French, and he spoke no English). The duck (mostly breast meat I think), was very lightly seared, and the resulting meat was drippingly juicy and slightly bloody. The dark grey colored sauce, an emulsion of some sort, complemented the duck very well, providing a richer mouthfeel from its oils and a lovely livery flavor. On the side, a slightly chunky and very creamy vegetable puree of some sort, I'm thinking it's mostly celery. Just right for a crisp clean contrast to the heavy meat and sauce.

dessert was an excellent creme brulee - thick and creamy, neither stiff nor firm, but with lots of body.

The owner was super-hospitable. It was obvious that I was a tourist, and even though we spoke no languages in common, throughout lunch, he entertained me while the chef was at work. He showed me pieces of his china from the walls and cabinet, and indicating that the designs were typically Rouennaise. Between appetizer and main dish, he brought out a large coffee table book (in English) about Normandy, and opened to a page describing the chef (I'm guessing his wife) and her cooking. As I left, he rushed to the door and bid me bon voyage. I've never experienced this sort of hospitality in any other restaurant.

If I ever go back to Rouen, I'm making a beeline for this place.

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