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Second thoughts on La Regalade?

d
Danna Brown Mar 19, 2002 03:02 PM

I researched and pondered diligently before I selected La Regalade as my "more casual" night in Paris, sandwiched between Pierre Gagnaire and Guy Savoy. But several posts have made me waffle again. Any more reviews? Gourmet loved it.

I am looking for warm, casual atmosphere, tradional French food, but very high quality. I don't mind a little snooty-ness but don't want to be mis-treated either.

Thanks for the help.

  1. s
    Steve Plotnicki Mar 22, 2002 07:54 AM

    Danna-I was at Regalade last May. I have reprinted my notes of the meal here. But I have to disclose to you that I have recently seen a number of negative posts about the place on the Internet. I can't tell you if it is because it's the type of place that isn't appealing to a certain palate, or it's because the place has gone somewhat downhill. My instinct is the former because my main Regalade barometer is one of the top wine dealers in Paris and I know he eats there all of time. And as recently as January I spent an afternoon with him amd he was raving about the place to his customers. Here goes,

    "We were having dinner on the latish side, 10:30, a function of the popularity of La Regalade which is a miniscule bistro on the outer edges of the 14th arr. As instructed by Marc at Auge, I walked in and asked the woman behind the bar if she was Madame Camemborde. After an affirmative response I said “I have been instructed to tell you Mazieres en carafe before I say hello” and then I handed her the card Marc wrote out for us. She laughed, got the Mazieres (we had no idea what it was at the time) and immediately had it decanted. La Regalade is the most nondescript place imaginable. It is so small, it barely can be called a bistro. But the food! The food is worthy of a one star+ restaurant.

    I started with the Cochonailles which was assorted pork products. An entire terrine along with some fresh and dried sausages, a nice plate of Bayonne style ham, crocks of cornichons and pickled espilettes (a Basque pepper), along with some grainy mustard. Another appetizer of note was an entire large bowl of Petoncles, baby bay scallops that were superbe. With this we drank,

    1999 Domaine Gramenon Viognier- Something they were selling at Auge. Never seen this in the states and according to Marc, they only made 1000 bottles of this unfined and unfiltered wine. Well all you needed to do was to pour it in your glass to see the evidence of non-filtering as it was full of little specks of junk. But despite the buildup, it was too herbal and extremely acidic, to the point where it was nipping at your tongue. Not to my taste but if one were to go hunting and drink viognier, this is the one to drink.
    85 points.

    My main dish of Haschis Parmentier avec Boudin Noir (Shepherd’s Pie made with blood sausage) was so rich and creamy that it was sinful. Each forkful of those creamy mashed potatoes found a lovely layer of juicy blood sausage that primed each bite. Oh it was so homey and warming. My dessert of Riz au Lait Ancienne (old fashioned rice pudding) was an entire bowl that could have fed at least 6 people and was served with home made confitures. But the most interesting dessert was two thin slices of perfectly aged Brebis cheese served with jam made from espilettes. Outstanding.

    Mazieres Vin de Table-This was so odd. A non-vintage wine. The nose kept fooling us. At first we thought syrah but then cabernet. Ultimatly we thought it either syrah or Grenache but if anyone knows what its composed of please jump in. A minty, herbal wine but not to the extent that it was offputting. Awfully nice and ripe fruit. Hmm, this could be a good house wine and sure enough the Auge catalog offers it for 78FF or $11. 89 points"

    Also, I noticed you're eating at Gagnaire and Guy Savoy. I had dinner at Savoy last month and while it was very good, it isn't on the same level as Gagnaire.
    Not to mess with your plans too much but, if you are really hardcore about your haute cuisine dining exeriences, Arpege is the bookend experience to Gagniare. They are the two most cerebral dining experiences in Paris, except in totally opposite ways. At Gagniare, if you order the pork for your main dish, you will get between 8-12 preparations ranging from smoked, salted, grilled, roasted etc. It's like a pork symphony. Arpege is minimalist and like a string quartet. They will serve you three simple items on a plate, a scallop, a carrot and a turnip, all perfectly cooked (I mean perfectly) and adorned with nothing else but artisinally made salted butter from Brittany. If you have a tasting menu there, they will build on the meal from course to course based on texture and strength of flavor. Also, the meal is almost vegetarian and if veggies turn you on, it is the best expression of veggies you have ever seen. Food for thought.

    Back to Regalade, if you like garlicky, a bit greasy country style SW cuisine, you will probably like Regalade (book the late sitting as it is less rushed then.) But if you are after a place that does more "cooking," there are better choices for that type of palate.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Steve Plotnicki
      j
      John Whiting Mar 22, 2002 09:51 AM

      Amazing! How does one get one of those cards from Marc at Auge?

      1. re: John Whiting
        s
        Steve Plotnicki Mar 22, 2002 04:10 PM

        John-Do you know Marc? His is a store you might like. He tries to cut through lots of the bull and hype you get in other stores. He has some unusual stuff in his shop. Like bottles from winemakers who made just 1 or 2 barrels of something that they don't normally make. and if he sees you know what you're doing, he will sell you a bottle or two.

        1. re: Steve Plotnicki
          j
          John Whiting Mar 22, 2002 05:51 PM

          Sounds wonderful. What country/city are we talking about?

          1. re: John Whiting
            s
            Steve Plotnicki Mar 22, 2002 08:02 PM

            Paris, France

            1. re: Steve Plotnicki
              j
              John Whiting Mar 23, 2002 01:57 AM

              A spot of research tells me that this must be Les Caves Augé, the oldest wine shop in Paris, presided over by Marc Sibard and formerly patronized by one Marcel Proust. Thank you for pointing me in this direction.

              1. re: John Whiting
                s
                Steve Plotnicki Mar 23, 2002 09:48 AM

                The place itself is like a little jewel box. You couldn't replicate the ambiance for a million bucks. Marc is a really good guy, but he can abrassive in a way that you will quickly identify as French. Many people I know go in there and get chased away because they are only interested in buying the cherries.

                It's best to go at a quiet time of day (not the late afternoon but right after lunch is good.)Tell him you're a friend of mine and that you are interested in natural, elegant and unhyped wines. Let him pick out between a few bottles and a case for you. Most will cost between 7 and 15 GBP. You will make a good and very useful friend.

    2. j
      John Whiting Mar 19, 2002 05:42 PM

      Don't worry, snootiness won't be a problem. But wear your running shoes -- it's like experiencing a meal in time-lapse photography.

      1. m
        mc michael Mar 19, 2002 03:19 PM

        Have you gotten reservtions? If not, the discussion could be academic--not that there's anything wrong with that. Seriously, I've heard stories about 2 months not being enough lead time to get in.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mc michael
          k
          kirk wallace Mar 20, 2002 06:11 PM

          if you haven't secured your regalade reservations (and the one time we were able to get in (now 5 years ago), we made them 3 months ahead --every time since we've tried wiht only 1 month's notice and have failed, you might consider Trou Gascon as your intermezzo between the excesses of PG and GS (and you won't need those running shoes, except maybe after to work off the best cassoulet and duck confit in Paris).

          1. re: mc michael
            d
            Danna Brown Mar 21, 2002 08:32 AM

            Actually, I still have almost two months to reserve, but of course the longer I debate, the less time I have.
            So you guys are saying, what? its worth it if I don't mind being rushed? or don't bother?

            1. re: Danna Brown
              j
              John Whiting Mar 21, 2002 10:08 AM

              Don't expect this forum to arrive at a concensus! If you just go for it, however it turns out, you can dine out on the saga. :-)

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