lundi 8 novembre 2010

Lunchtime in Paris @ Desvouges

During a lunch I had with my friend Jérôme in September 2009, he told me about his plan to start a restaurant. I knew we’ll loose a good journalist, but will we find a good restaurateur ? Now, you understand I’m writing about a friend’s shop and that I’m not going to be objective, right ? I don’t pretend to, and you shouldn’t trust journalists who do. I’m not his associate, he didn’t serve the meal for free. I was invited by an other friend, but I won’t write her praises here. Jérôme named his restaurant after him, Desvouges, which could mean he’s not modest or shy. That’s the case, but I think he simply means here his cuisine is very personal. In an other post, I talked about a eatery in Mouffetard, where tourists are provided with tired and uninspired food, where the waiter could exchange the dishes while guests wouldn’t notice. Desvouges is a kind of an antithesis. “I don’t like much Bordeaux. So, you won’t find many on the wine list”. People who taste by themselves know that Bordeaux are often overrated and that great ones are ridiculously overpriced. Instead, you find at Desvouges a reasoned, rather narrow choice of Beaujolais (Morgon, Julienas), Bourgognes, Loire wines and wines from Languedoc. These ones have long had a bad reputation. But many small winemakers bet on quality in the last twenty years. In this sunny land with light soils, some wine artisans manage to grow full-bodied and though very subtle wines. Even the best ones are affordable. If it was for those who know little about wines but brands, such a personal wine list would be quite daring. Now you guess Desvouges is dedicated to habitue and curious people. The motto “Cuisine traditionnelle” should be understood as “inspired by traditional cuisine”. The Nem Toulousain I ordered that day couldn’t be less traditional, or maybe a mixture of south east Asia and south west France traditions ? This long delicacy is made of Toulouse sausage stuff defatted, kneaded with rosemary, sage, onion stewed in olive oil, wrapped in a rice sheet, like a Chinese roll, then lightly pan-fried, served with potatoes and a home-made ratatouille. The chef likes to tell about his recipes, it is part of his pleasure to host. I’m quite picky about food quality and meat in particular. I have to admit this Nem Toulousain was a treat. And the ratatouille was a rare delight. In restaurants, the greenery beside the meat of fish is too often overlooked if not despised. French fries or french beans, hastily defrosted, have not yet disappeared. At Desvouges, vegetables receives as much respect as the choice cut. My friend Gilda had raviolis stuffed with duck comfit she described almost as good as her mother’s cooking, a reference nothing can attain, I believe. My dessert, a creme brulee was a bit too sweet to my taste. Desserts are quite decent but don’t display the same spirit as the entrees or main courses. About the coffee, I had sort of an argument with Jérôme. Let’s say it’s unexciting. I’m intractable on coffee. A real bastard if you like. Menu changes quite often, so check on the site. The week after our visit, Jérôme proposed a pork and quince stew. The price, 20 € for a main course and dessert or entree, is worth the feast. Desvouges restaurant is not opened on week-ends.

6 rue des Fossés-saint-Marcel Paris

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