Au Gourmand: double take
I have just come back from a weekend trip to Paris. Thanks to this board for all the fantastic chow information!
I was researching bistrots on this board and found some tips to try Au Gourmand. I just want to inform readers that there are two restaurants by this name and both appear to have received some attention/respect. One is in the 6th, 22, rue de Vaugirard and the other is in the 1st, 17, Rue Molière. OK, so I think the chow tips are referring to the one in the 6th (closed in August) rather than the one in the 1st, although that one is a Michelin Bib Gourmand. I realized my confusion in advance, but I learned the one in the 6th was closed in August. So we went for dinner to Au Gourmand in the 1st anyway. It was nice but I'm not sure it was magic. The highlight was the quality ingredients and the remarkably "affinaged" cheese that was served. The rest of the meal was good quality and creative, but not always a success. The fixed price menu was made up of dishes not offered on the a la carte menu. Therefore, instead of looking like a great deal, it looked like a compromise so we didn't consider it.
Successful wherever they are.
7.0 Au Gourmand, 17, rue Moliere in the 1st, 01.42.96.22.19, closed Sundays and Mondays, menu-carte 2 dishes = 28, 3 dishes 32, all veggies = 30 € is the successfully transplanted resto of the same name from across town and across from the Luxembourg Gardens. The maitre d’ (Herve de Libouton) welcomed us warmly, later saying he recalled us from the old place, which is a safe bet since there are probably not a lot of foursomes of gangly, demi-ghastly dressed, tall American geezers stumbling around town; in any case Christophe Courgeau’s cooking has improved with the move and we had a great meal. The products are all good, fresh and traceable – vegetables by Thiebault, butter by Bordier, bread by Poujauran, etc. We started with two firsts; a “thick” pair of lamb kidneys on 10 strips of chard with a great sauce and a strange “tartare” of langoustines with seaweed and potatoes - strange because searching for the bits of langoustines was futile. Then two of us had the bar while the other two had a pigeon and confited lamb; all four served atop a mélange of al dente seasonal vegetables. At that point we broke for cheese (perfectly affinated Reblochon and Camembert); terminating with a carrot and nut cake with ginger ice cream, effusively praised by Colette. With coffee and wine the bill for four was 203.50 € but we had three supplemental charges totaling 21 €.
Should you go? Wow!, three hearts hardly does it justice.
Au Gourmand used to be on rue Vaugirard in the 6th but moved to its current location on rue Moliere a few years ago. I am fond of the restaurant. This time around we ordered from the set menu which seems to me reasonably priced for the quality and the service (33 euros, I believe). The owner, Herve, is especially warm and welcoming and, for me, elevates the experience substantially. In fact, we paid the same amount at Au Gourmand as we did at Les Cocoettes de Christian Constant -- for what I considered an all around far better meal at Au Gourmand. (As an aside, we also loved Frenchie on rue Nil in the 2nd -- which was fabulous and even cheaper!)