As posted over on eGullet we went to our favorite restaurant for lunch this week. It was delicious and a terrific bargain. I didn't go into detail in my post, but can here.
As an aside, ever notice how some bloggers make a point of linking virtually every post they do on eGullet to their blog. Not content with mentioning in their signature they stick in links. Some of these are pretty contrived. The self promotion sort of makes me uncomfortable.
Anyway, the favorite restaurant (Le Vieux Pont in Belcastel) has a 27 Euro three course set menu for lunch on weekdays. (The main menu is 51 or 43 Euros depending upon whether you have just a fish or meat course or whether you have both.) But what they do is to include all the little extras that come with the more expensive menus. In effect we ended up with 7 courses as follows:
Amuse One. A board with two miniture pancakes on sticks (one was with fois gras & the other smoked ham) plus a little pot containing a veretable puree with herbs over minced shallots & a touch of horseradish.
Amuse Two. Mashed avacodo (almost a guacamole) over tabulla.
Our Entree. A flaky pastry disc covered with flaked steamed cod topped by roasted tomato with basil & chives. Very delicate & very good.
Our Plat. Traverse de porc (meaty pork spare ribs) that had been confited with soya & sweet herbs. In a seperate bowl were rice noodles with julliened vegatables; these mixed well with the porc. Strong flavours, but very good.
Cheese. A generous wedge of local goat's cheese cut to your wish at table with a sprinkling of fresh walnuts.
Pre - dessert. Macaroons with chocolate & orange and a chewy toffee loaded with pistachio nuts.
Dessert. Fruit salad with finely minced fruits & in the center a crisp sugar biscuit roll filled with passion fruit. Light & wonderful. By far the best "fruit salad" I've ever had.
Post - dessert. Lemon granita with basil & cream.
All beautifully presented and served with charm. (in this restaurant everyone works to satisfy their guests. Each member of staff does whatever is necessary to make thing run smoothly. Even the co-owner/ Maitre d'hotel is not above clearing courses if needed.)
For wine we had a delicious Cotes de Roulission at 21 Euros. Well, actually we had 2 bottles.
What a deal is all I can say. The ambiance is every bit as good as the food & the prices.
So for those who spurn Michelin starred places, I say just keep trying. There are other places that equal Le Vieux Pont. The trick is in finding them.