About

"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Au Bascou -- Restaurant Review


38 Rue Réaumur, 75003
Tél. : (+33) 1 42 72 69 25 
Metro: Arts et métiers. Lines 3, 11Check Website for operating hours
Website: http://www.au-bascou.fr/


Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

3.25 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell


I'm back. After a month long hiatus for most Parisians, looks like Paris is back to normal. How can most people tell? First of all, more people on the streets, stores and restaurants are reopening,  and it's almost impossible to find a seat on the metro, but that's city living.



So as soon as we returned, our friend J invited us out to lunch. Surprisingly, this restaurant was open on Monday, the first day of "La Rentrée".  As we got closer to the restaurant, I realized I had been there before. And, after entering, I immediately recognized it, since the interior had not changed, even though there has been a management change as well as a new chef de cuisine.



We perused the menu, they had a suggestion du jour as well as their regular menu on a chalk board. At first glance it looked well balanced and a nice selection.


ENTRÉE

Terrine de Campagne. (Country terrine). As a general rule, I really don't care for terrines, unless they're done really well. For the most part, for me anyway, it just tastes like compressed meat and/or fowl with some fat. But I have to say, I really enjoyed this terrine. It was well balanced with pieces of pistachios for texture. There were nice smooth and chunky elements, and the accompanying salad with the citrus cut some of the fat, so this was very good.




Pimentos del Piquillos Farci, Roquette (Stuffed red peppers with rocket). Simply and beautifully presented. The red peppers were skinned and very tender. It was stuffed with a sweet mash, and the accompanying salad, was a nice accompaniment, but honestly, I don't know why they called it a rocket salad, since I didn't see any arugula in the salad. Guess they must've run out and substituted it. A good, well composed starter.










PLATS

Caille Rôti, Mousseline. (Roasted quail and a mash).  Both Jack and I had this dish. Because I ordered a la carte, I had a larger portion whereas Jack had a smaller portion. I have to say I really liked this dish. I thought the meat was perfectly cooked and tender. The mash was a bit sweet for me, so I'm guessing he added sweet potatoes. Our friend J said he would've preferred the skin crispy versus a more braised version, I would agree that texturally it would've brought it to the next level. But overall, I thought it was a very tasty good dish. Reminded me of "Filipino chicken adobo" where the skin is not crispy.





Axoa de veau façon espelette Poterne vapeur. (Veal cooked in a clay pot). Axoa is a Basque dish which is typically mashed meat seasoned with espelette (Basque red pepper). I really enjoyed the sauce that it came in. However, I doubt it was veal, unless it was really old veal, because the meat seemed very stringy and rather than mashed meat, which is characteristic of "Aaxoa" the meat was in big chunks. The flavors were spot on, but the texture of the meat and chunks was questionable.


DESSERTS



Cheese. Ardi gasa, confiture a la cerise noire. (Basque sheep Cheese with black cherries confiture). One of my all time favorite cheese is sheep cheese. Probably because it's aged and has a nice salt component to it, and oftentimes crystallized. This was perfect cheese, full of flavor and the sweetness of the cherries added to it.












Sweet desserts: 

Tourtiere pomme et pruneau glace a la vanille. (Apple and prune tart with vanilla ice cream).  Jack ordered this dish and said it was a very good dessert, the crust was flaky and the filling had the right about of balance between the prunes and apples without being overly sweet.

Creme tendre au chocolat, espuma safran (Chocolate with foam of safran). At first I was trying to figure out what this dessert was. Was it a panna cotta, was it just whipped  cream. Then I discovered that "espuma" means foam in Spanish. So basically it was a foam of saffran, but it must've been a very mild application because I didn't really taste it, and chocolate pieces. I personally did not like the foam because I think of foam as an accompanied, but not as a main component of a dessert, but the chocolate pieces were fine.


WINES

We ordered a white and a red from the same vineyard.

WHITE. Ilori Les Jonquilles Irouleguy. Known for it's citrus notes, floral and fruitiness. I loved it.

RED. Brana Vigeron Ohitza 2016 Irougleguy. Known for its intense, small red fruits, spices. As for the palate, it has nice structure, creamy, chalky, and very balanced. The finish is aromatic and long.




SUMMARY

Not much has changed physically about the restaurant, from what I remembered the last time, granted from a different Chef, it still is a good restaurant. I thought the food was above average. The service was impeccable, but it also wasn't busy. It's in a great easy location in the "Le Marais".  With Basque food, I always think of the cuisine as being very hearty with influences from Spain and France. I personally enjoy it, since there's nothing pretentious about it. It's good wholesome food and depends a lot on the freshness of the products with a heavy emphasis on tomatoes and espelette.

The price ratio excellent, so overall I would go back. For 1-formule (included starter, plat, dessert), 1-entrée a la carte, 2-plats a la carte, 1-dessert a la carte, 2-bottles of wine and 1 coffee our bill came to 161€ or roughly 54€ per person, but also keep in mind 67€ of it was for the 2-bottles of wine, otherwise the price point would have been much, much lower.


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