Restaurants & Bars

Finds in Paris, Strasbourg & Lyon

Tam | Dec 23, 200506:01 PM

After all of the information I've gleaned from this website, I think it is almost mandatory to report back. We recently took a two week vacation to France and following are the food highlights.

In Paris, after a long mornings' walk, went to L'As du Falafel in the Marais. We had lamb falafels with all the fixin's - it was delicious. Our favorite dinner was at Au Close du Gourmet. They have a $31 pre-fixe menu offering several choices for each course. The chestnut soup with crispy bacon was sublime. If this is on the menu, order it - you will thank me. They asked how we wanted our salmon prepared, pink or medium and it was served with braised vegetables which had an Asian bent to them. The chocolate gateau was delectable as was the
roquefort cheese with warm pears on toast. The restaurant is tightly packed, but luckily we were seated at a table by itself. The night before we had gone to L'Epi Dupin and were seated between people who were so loud, it really colored the experience. The food at Epi was very good, but I don't know if I would go back. The waiter made us feel rushed and neglected at the same time!

We took the train to Strasbourg to visit the Christmas markets. The food in the actual outdoor markets is a mixture of traditional sweets, cookies etc and delicious savories such as baguettes flambe and to drink - vin chaud. At first I was a little sceptical about drinking hot wine at noon, but after tasting it, I was converted. It was delicious on those cold afternoons. We followed Moshulu's advice and went to Le Panier du Marche for dinner, twice! What a lovely restaurant. It's small, quiet and they have great food. The waiter was charming. Both nights we ordered the tuna served three ways, for mains over the course of the two days we enjoyed sea bass, scallops and a delicious tiny roasted pigeon. Desserts were equally delicious and the wine list was a delight. In early December, the pre fixe was $27 euros. A great value for the quality of food served.

We finished our vacation in Lyon during the Fete de Lumiere. That is something to be seen. We ate dinner at LeCaro de Lyon and at Le Bistrot de Lyon. Both were good, but a mere shadow compared to our very favorite meal in France. I had read favorable things about Le Gourmet de Seze, and from the heartfelt reviews I knew we should go. What a find! This restaurant is small, pristine, warm, and not at all snooty. The staff are young and charming. I was most impressed on how they are able to keep their finger on the pulse of each table. The restaurant offers a la carte as well as a pre fixe. We ordered the pre fixe et vins en accord avec les plats for $57 euros.

We were served an amuse bouche of thin little warm toasts with different toppings - homecured salmon, cheese, pate, and tiny cream puffs filled with cheese. Next came another amuse - a tiny jar (like the canning jars with the lids that snap down) of chicken soup with vegetables. It was by far the best chicken soup I have ever tasted.

This was followed by our first course of sea bass served on a bed of grated celery root with a vinaigrette. It was delicious - this was served with a Chateau de Perchade Tursan Blanc.

Our main was simply amazing - Coquilles Saint Jacques with Foie gras served atop of bed of creamed winter vegetables and a balsamique reduction. Every bite was a sensorial experience. The scallops were so tender and cooked perfectly, the foie gras was crispy on the outside, and velvety on the inside so the marriage between the ingredients was celestial. This course was served with Domaine Gineste Caillac Blanc Cuvee Aurore.

The cheese course was next and this was the only decision we had to make that evening, dry or white. The dry presented a wedge of about 5 cheeses which included goat, sheep and cow milk selections. The white was an interesting bowl of soft creamy snow white cheese which tasted something between sour cream and cheese - also served was another soft white cheese that came molded and served on a plate to be eaten with sugar sprinkled on top. This course was served with Chateau Prieure Borde Rouge Corbiere - Le Jardin de Frederic.

After 2 1/2 hours our last course, Le Grand Dessert du Gourmet was served. It consisted of four small plates to be eaten in a specific order. On the first was a small molded tart with roasted apples on the bottom topped with a delicious inch or so of cream brulee. This was followed by a refreshing, visually pleasing fruit salad. The fresh fruit was pristine and was enhanced with bits of dried fruit as well. Following this was a small lemon tart with a delicious lemon curd topping. All of these were served with Asti Riflessi. Lastly, was a delectable warm chocolate gateau which was served with a small glass of Banyuls. WOW - what an experience.

What sets this restaurant apart were the small things. Each time they served us wine, very generous pours by the way, the waiter brought over his atlas of France and showed us exactly where each wine came from. When we were leaving, chef Bernard Mariller came out and asked about our dinner. He was so charming and humble. When I asked to take home a menu to remember the night with, the waiter brought it to me in a sealed envelope. The food was tops, and yet this little restaurant with all their attention to detail, knows how to make it even better. C'est parfait.

Gourmet de Seze
129 Rue de Seze
closed Sunday and Monday

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