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Best cassoulet

I have a wager with some Boston friends (a wager I have a decent chance of losing, btw) that will result in my buying them dinner at a french restaurant in nyc. As long as I'm buying I want to have the best cassoulet I can, any suggestions?

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  1. Gascogne, the charming French bistro, on 8th Av., b/t 17th & 18th Sts., specializes in the cuisine of the eponymous regions where cassoulet is a staple. I'm not a big cassoulet fan, but my husband is a cassoulet addict, and he says Gascogne's version is excellent.

    http://www.gascognenyc.com

    7 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      I would concur but I see Gascogne and raise you La Luncheonette's cassoulet which reigns supreme now that LCB is RIP.

      1. re: guttergourmet

        The one time we had dinner at La Lunchonette, Mr. R. did not have cassoulet, and neither of us cared much for the food. But if you say the cassoulet is killer, then maybe we should re-visit so that he can check it out. He did manage to have the cassoulet at LCB before its untimely demise. :-(

        1. re: RGR

          yes indeed, the cassoulet is better at LA LUNCHEONETTE.

          i know what you mean about the place tho. the apps and the other mains are very good, but the main sides are not. the wine is poor too. this is consistent. we go pretty often, i admit its one of those "but i like the place anyway" kind of restaurants. reminds me of CAFE LOUP like that -- similar older crowd as well.

        2. re: guttergourmet

          How are these prepared? Traditional with a crusty top? Anything out of the ordinary by chance? I find the variations are what leads to my greatest disappointment when ordering. A perfect herb baked crust can make or break the dish, for me. I'm never happy without the crust! Maybe that's a regional difference as well? I know a stew in the proper pot qualifies but....

          1. re: sugartoof

            Not much crust at LL but I would defend the other dishes-the escargots are great, the lamb sauasage with apples. But whatever you do-save room for the best tarte tatin in the known universe.

            1. re: sugartoof

              sugartoof,

              I think you run into trouble when you use the word "traditional" with regard to cassoulet because there are many variations depending on where in France it is being served. They vary with regard to which meats are included, as well as whether it is more like a casserole or a stew, and, of course, the crust vs.no crust. But in all cases, it is the beans that remain a constant.

              I can certainly understand that for you, the crust is all-important. But for others, not so much.

              Edited to add: I'll have to ask my husband if he remembers whether or not the cassoulet at Gascogne has a crust. Stay tuned....

              1. re: RGR

                I wasn't implying that "traditional" = a crusty top, I inquired if it was "traditional WITH a crusty top?". I think I also made it clear the crust was a preference of mine, not a standard to judge the dish. My favorite cassoulet ever did not have beans. Sadly the chef went back to France, and it's been a crapshoot ordering the dish ever since.

        3. I'm not a cassoulet fan myself but my partner had the one at Jarnac and liked it very much. I had a taste of it and thought it was quite good.

          1. Gascogne or La Luncheonette? What a terrible decision to have to make... Living in the neighborhood and visiting both often I find LL to be a tad too salty at times. Gascogne lacks some of the authentic texture but I'd go for taste.

            1. I don't know if it is authentic, but the cassoulet at The EU is pretty damn good, and not too big either.

              1. Hi vandiemen8,

                I am no expert in cassooulet, but there was an article a few weeks back in NYT about the cassoulet at Savoy (with picture)

                http://nymag.com/daily/food/2008/01/i...

                Other articles talked about a few places that offered cassoulet:
                http://nymag.com/nymetro/food/feature...
                http://nymag.com/urban/guides/bestofn...

                1 Reply
                1. re: kobetobiko

                  Where you first ate Cassoulet (in France) will probably color what you think is "Authentic." That said, both Savoy and Gascogne serve excellent food across the board, so I can't imagine NOT being pleased with a version served in either venue.

                2. Try L'Absinthe - I think maybe they do it once a week? I love the place.

                  1. Gascogne's version is very decent, robust, garlicky, not too wet, and with a light crust. Much better at least, compared to the midtown west versions in my neighborhood.

                    http://orderinny.wordpress.com/2007/1...

                    1. I had cassoulet at Lucien a few weeks ago. It was nice and garlicky with a very thin crust. Also not enormous. Just about the right size for one normal person to eat.