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Cassoulet in Paris

Heading to Paris this winter and hope to find good traditional cassoulet. Any suggestions?

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  1. La Fontaine du Mars in the 7th.

    Although, this is not the restaurant that I would recommend for those seeking a good bistro fare in Paris, their cassoulet is one of the better ones that I have had - complete with sausage form Toulouse and a nice, tasty confit of duck leg. The beans, which is usually my least favorite part of this wonderful dish, is perfectly cooked - tender, yet not mashed nor broken up all over.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RCC

      La Fontaine du Mars in the 7th.

      I hope that this post is not too late since winter only began last week! my family and I ate there one rainy evening in february 2005 and were sadly disappointed. we were rudely treated being moved during the middle of our meal so that a larger party could be squeezed in next to us. snooty would be a reasonable description of the overall attitude. if you go for the cassoulet, beware, I received one that was past peak. stews being made in advance can be held too long. mine was. sausage had an off color taste. sauce had acquired that "refrigerator taste". certain aspects of the other dishes ordered were also lacking the quality that was expected for a not untidy sum tendered. without a doubt our worst experience at any paris dining establishment in 5 trips. we arrived a little too soon before opening and we were ushered back out into unexpected pouring rain rather than being allowed to wait in a perfectly acceptable front vestibule and out of the way. being umbrella-less, we returned a short time later as drowned rats. we have found numerous, wonderful eateries via chowhound and have been kindly treated in every other place from a great bistro such as Astier to the highly efficient, regimented Le Relais de l'entrecote and felt like family in many others. every dog has its bad day. perhaps mars was not in alignment on our visit. understandably, this was almost two years past and things might be better now. but if you go and it is a bust, please let other hounds know so they won't be howling with disappointment! our recent february 2006 visit to Paris acquainted us with places like A La Biche au Bois which was superb and friendly.

    2. I've heard that La Fontaine du Mars is closed now. Any news on the situation?

      1 Reply
      1. re: LMGM

        I passed by last week and even though there is scaffolding over the building the restaurant was open.

      2. Great cassoulet at D'Chez Eux in the 6th. We made an expensive mistake last time and went to Au Trou Gascon, where it was truly inferior.

        1. We have not tried the cassoulet at Brasserie Balzar, as we usually have the Poulet Roti and frites, but the person next to us (French), on our last visit, raved about the Cassoulet. I remember thinking I must try it next time!

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          1. re: sandypaws3

            Yes, I was in Brasserie Balzar in early Sep and was convinced by the waiter to try the cassoulet. I thought it was fantastic, although the person I was with said that it still didn't compare to La Fontaine du Mars. I obviously have to make the trip sometime soon!

          2. I'm glad to know that the one at La Fontaine du Mars is even better, as I ordered the confit de canard last time we were there, and it was okay, but not the best I've had. Still, I've heard so many good comments on La Fontaine du Mars, and overall we liked it, so thought we might try it again and try something else :-) Not to mention, it's very well located for us, as we're staying in the 7th next trip.

            1. We went to Le Sarladais (8th) a few years ago and had an extraordinary cassoulet. It's a hole-in-the-wall place that serves perigourdin specialties. While it didnt compare to our experience at ducasse, it was definitely our second most enjoyable meal there. The menu at 29E is a great value.

              www.lesarladais.com

              1. Aux Fins Gourmets serves good cassoulet. It's on Blvd St. Germain, near the Rue du Bac metro stop.

                9 Replies
                1. re: rjkaneda

                  I have not eaten the cassoulet at Brasserie Balzar, but on a recent visit, we sat next to a French couple who seemed to be enjoying the cassoulet a lot. It did look very good!

                  Sandy

                  1. re: sandypaws3

                    I have had cassoulet at 5-6 places in Paris and always thought it was a pale imitation of the dish in Toulouse, where I've had it twice.
                    I think it is prepared with much more preserved goose fat in Toulouse, which bubbles to the top and forms a hard shell (like a much thicker creme brulee shell) when it cools. Has anyone encountered this version in Paris?

                    1. re: Jerrysfriend

                      Your cassoulet would have to cool *a lot* to get a hard shell of fat on top! I guess the places you ate in Toulouse left it in the oven or under the broiler for longer. I like it that way, too.

                      1. re: DeppityDawg

                        I understood the traditional method that achieves a crust is to sprinkle fresh bread crumbs over the top. These absorb some of the fat and cooking juices and result in a hard crunchy topping.

                        I have used this method when making my own and it works a treat. But that said I believe there are as many authentic methods of cooking Cassoulet in France as there are of cooking authentic chilli in Texas. The recipe varies from town to town and region to region - I even have an Algerian recipe for "Mutumma" which is very similar.

                        1. re: DeppityDawg

                          Actually, it is left under the broiler several times -- that 's the trick.

                          1. re: souphie

                            .....but it is still the bread crumb layer that forms the crust not simply goose fat....or at least that is what my Auguste Colombié recipe describes.

                            1. re: PhilD

                              When l make it, never use bread crumbs, the smoosh of top beans abd the fat seem to make a wonderful crust.

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                I have done it with and without - I was slightly sceptical about adding the bread crumbs but tried it and I thought it was a massive improvement.

                                According to many traditional recipes you should stir in the bread crumb crust as as soon as the crust forms; then add more bread crumbs and repeat the process; again add more and this time let the crust really develop - it is now ready. I haven't gone is far yet, but maybe next time.

                                When I was researching various recipes it was interesting to see the variations, with different meats, methods etc. It is clearly one of those dishes that has infinite variations with each town across the Languedoc having their own style and recipe.

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  l do always cut in the crust and let it redevelop, using haricot de tarbais, the top breaks some beans and it comes back stronger, again without bread crumbs