One of my goals while living in Paris is to become a regular. Whether it be a bar, a restaurant, or a patisserie, I want to find some place where I can go and chat it up like I’m a local and be on a first name basis with the owners. While I’m still trying to find my favorite bar, and of course my favorite bakery is the one 1/2 a block from my apartment (easy access), Au Bon Saint Pourcain is going to be my regular neighborhood restaurant.
For Christmas my Dad gave me and my mom a book called “Hungry For Paris: The Ultimate Guide to the City’s 102 Best Restaurants” by Alexander Lobrano. So while my mom was here we tried to only go to restaurants which were recommended in this book. Every restaurant we tried was amazing – they were all reasonably priced “neighborhoody” restaurants filled with Parisians and delicious food. Our favorite one, Au Bon Saint Pourcain, we liked so much we went again because we needed to take Sally there.
The restaurant is very simple. It seats about 30 people and besides the owner, Francois, there is one waitress, his daughter who’s name I can’t remember, and one cook. Francois appeared to know everyone who was eating at the restaurant both times I was there – a sign of a true neighborhood joint – and after dinner number two I was right in the mix. (During our first dinner he didn’t utter one word to us because he only speaks french, fortunately his daughter filled him in on my expert french skills, and the fact that I moved in just down the street) So much in the mix that an hour after everyone left Francois was still spitting rapid-fire french at me telling me all about the restaurant, life in Paris, and best of all – inviting me to come cook with him in the morning when he preps for dinner! Look how cute my new French family is:
The first night we had dinner there my mom and I showed up at 7PM because I had 8:30 class in the morning and wanted to eat on the earlier side. Francois opened the door with a perplexed look on his face – they don’t open until at least 7:30. Naturally we show up right at 7:30 and I started chatting (en francais) with his daughter as we were the only people in the restaurant until about 8:15. She filled us in on the French dining schedule – no-one in France eats before 8:30 or 9, anything before that is for old people. A.k.a. a 7:30 dinner in France = 5 PM dinner in Boston. My mom and I tried to explain to her that this early dinner was out of the ordinary for us, too, but I’m not sure she believed us.
Now let’s get down to the details, love the ambiance and of course my new French family, but the food is also something to write home about! First, the vin, 15 euros for the house wine – what up! It might not be the best wine, but for 15 Euros, it will be the wine I have every time I am there. Plus, everyone at the restaurants drinks it, so as a regular, I will too.
I think my favorite part of the meal though are the appetizers – the first night my mom and I shared foie gras, which is definitely the best foie gras I’ve had so far in Paris, and trust me, I’ve been eating a lot of it and Les Poireaux (leeks). The leeks are marinated for two hours in a balsamic vinaigrette and served with egg, it might sound weird but it is absolutely AMAZING.Plus, the appetizers come with a salad, that’s right, a SALAD! You can’t find these anywhere! My mom was also happy because she finally got her escargot when we went here for the second time with Sally:
The mains were just as good as the starters we had veal, beef aux olives, a famous french cod dish with mashed potatoes – all great. And not to mention the creme brulee dessert. I know, you can get creme brulee anywhere, but not this creme brulee, it was literally the most delicious creme brulee I’ve ever eaten. I can’t wait to go back! Fortunately I have a lovely little visitor coming this weekend so I’m sure we will be making it over there. (I made reservations for Friday) See you soon, Nat!