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40 Rue Taine
75012 Paris, France
Tel. +33 1 43 44 34 26
BY IAN D'AGATA | JULY 12, 2019
Green Provence asparagus, morel mushrooms steamed in vin de voile, aged Comté cheese, and egg in asparagus shell (Asperges vertes de Provence, morilles étuvées au vin de voile, vieux Comté, oeuf en coque d’asperge)
Glazed plaice filet, herb vinaigrette, orzotto pilaf with morel mushrooms (Filet de plie laqueé, vinaigrette d’herbes, pilaf d’orzotto aux morilles)
Duck confit, pork, Couenne sausage, lamb and bean cassoulet (Le cassoulet d’haricots de maïs, cuisse de canard confite, côte d’agneau, couston de porc, et notre saucisse de Couenne)
Farm goat and sheep milk cheeses from the Oussau Valley (Fromages au lait de chèvre et de brebis, cabécous fermiers et tome de brebis de la vallée d’Oussau)
Fine, warm and crusty apple and Armagnac tart from the Landes (tourtière landaise) with salted caramel ice cream and prune (La fine tourtière landaise chaude et croustillante, glace caramel salé et pruneau bien roulé)
|2014 Uroulat-Charles Hours Jurançon Sec Cuvée Marie||89|
|2015 Château des Bachelards-Comtesse de Vazeilles Pouilly-Vinzelles Les Quarts||91|
|2008 Domaine François Raveneau Chablis Montée de Tonnerre Premier Cru||94|
|1969 Château Les Astous
Au Trou Gascon located in a quiet but pretty backwater of Paris
Au Trou Gascon is one my favorite everyday, go-to restaurants in Paris. The inviting jambon holding court in the middle of the room, an almost endless choice of great wines and old vintages, comfortable tables and chairs set spaciously apart from each other, and finely cooked food from southwestern France make this address tough to beat for a relaxing and flavorful dinner in the Ville Lumière. About the only thing that needs fine-tuning is the service, as my inexperienced waiter was neither especially pleasant nor helpful with explanations.
Green Provence asparagus, morel mushrooms steamed in vin de voile, aged Comté cheese, and egg in asparagus shell
Au Trou Gascon is a member of the Charming Hotels of the World “Charming Restaurants” and that’s fitting, given the quality of the food and wine. The restaurant is owned by Alain Dutournier, who is also at the helm of the much more famous and glitzier Au Carré des Feuillants in downtown Paris (one of the city’s top ten restaurants). Both of Dutournier’s very fine dining establishments specialize, to varying degrees, in the hearty fare of southwestern France, so beans, duck, pork and Armagnacs (dating back to 1929) are everywhere you turn.
Glazed plaice filet, herb vinaigrette, orzotto pilaf with morel mushrooms
At Au Trou Gascon, Dutournier offers a refined atmosphere in a quiet setting and very good food and wine at a much lower cost than its more famous stablemate; if in a different way, it supplies just as rewarding a dining experience. I’ll share a few short but sweet descriptions of the dishes I enjoyed during my latest dinner, for they were all simply exceptional and there really isn’t much more to say than that. The crisp, perfumed asparagus, the duck confit (made that much better thanks to the precious Tarbais beans, perhaps France’s best), the savory orzotto pilaf, and the delectable confit were all highly satisfactory, even memorable, in their own inimitable, very flavorful way (and in fact, I still think about them regularly). I especially liked the tarte (or tourtière) landaise, one of my favorite desserts in the world (it’s a heavenly concoction of oven-baked phyllo pastry, apples, Armagnac, brown sugar, butter and more ingredients still, depending on how authentic a version you are after).
Duck confit, pork, Couenne sausage, lamb and bean cassoulet
I always drink marvelously well at Au Trou Gascon, and it was no different this time around. The 2014 Uroulat-Charles Hours Jurançon Sec Cuvée Marie is a can’t-miss aperitif wine from a very talented producer (whose moelleux or sweet wines are absolutely memorable, by the way) in which Gros Manseng variety is helped out by a touch of Petit Corbu. Barrel-fermented and aged 10 months in mostly used barrels (only 10% of which are new), this is a lip-smackingly good white wine that has just enough body to appeal to anyone looking for something fleshier with which to start their meals but also boasts loads of harmonious acidity that will please those who enjoy their white wines on the lively side. The lovely 2015 Château des Bachelards-Comtesse de Vazeilles Pouilly-Vinzelles Les Quarts helps remind me of all that I love about this somewhat underrated appellation (among Pouillys, Pouilly-Fuissé is undoubtedly much more famous than Pouilly-Vinzelles, yet I often find the wines of the latter appellation to be far superior, fresher and more enjoyable to drink). A wine of sneaky concentration and enticing purity, this precise, lemony, floral and mineral 2015 was not just delightful, but a stunning value too. Well done. The 2008 Domaine François Raveneau Chablis Montée de Tonnerre Premier Cru is a work of art, and I downed glass after glass at an (almost) alarming rate. The wine is luxurious, deep, complex and unforgettable, displaying an archetypal Chablis note of crushed oyster shell. Last but not least, the 1969 Chateau Les Astous Jurançon Moelleux is a marvelously decadent sweet Petit Manseng redolent of peach, crystallized apricot, white flowers, honey, lemon oil and brown sugar that is magically well balanced and, at 50 years of age, still incredibly young. One of Jurançon’s historic estates, with vines situated in an ideal amphitheater for quality wine production characterized by “poudingue du Jurançon” soil that helps contribute complexity and flavor intensity, this really could not have been any better. One sip of this nectar and the words “they don’t make them like they used to” cannot help but sneak into your consciousness.
Fine, warm and crusty apple and Armagnac tart from the Landes
Tucked away in a Paris backwater, Au Trou Gascon exudes a comfortable, refined air and offers a lovely neighborhood dining destination that I personally can’t get enough of. In fact, I always find myself thinking that with an eatery like Au Trou Gascon available to the lucky denizens of this part of Paris, this is one neighborhood I’d actually like to move to. Well, one never knows…