Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Paris Journal: L'Ardoise
I'm afraid this is not true cooking for Margy, as the poor kid had to work so late (yep, she was in Paris for work, not just play) that I was forced to dine without her. Anyway, she had a so-so late-night café meal, not really worth writing about.
After spending the day and evening at the Louvre, I tried the Fodor's pick L'Ardoise, a homey storefront joint not far from the Rue de Rivoli. I believe the name means blackboard, and in a spiffy touch the waitress simply sets a big board in front of you that lists the day's prix fixe choices.
My main course was venison (steak de biche) au poivre. Eating steak au poivre was one of my goals for the trip, and I thought venison, which I like but rarely order, would be a nice twist on the theme. It was indeed, but the sauce wasn't peppery enough for my taste. The Australian couple next to me, with whom I chatted throughout the meal, said they too found the peppercorn presence to be generally muted when they'd ordered steak au poivre in Paris. The potato galette was beautifully crisp, but I have to admit that by now I was getting tired of the richness of traditional French food -- the smell of butter was starting to make me woozy, and I was homesick for vegetables. So I guess you could say I misordered, but I didn't want to miss out on the classics.
Yet after the steak, a warm apple tart, butter level be damned, served with vanilla ice cream, slapped me in the face and warned me to remember where I was. It was magnificent, with little blackened bits on top. At this moment I rue the fact that I was too full to finish it. Let me try again. I'll eat it all!
It was now time for Margy and me to take a little break from hearty French fare, but we'd be back. Would we ever be...