Lyon Trip Report - Part 2 - Léon de Lyon and Daniel et Denise
Day 3 (Monday) – After wandering around a bit looking for a place to eat for lunch, we ended up at Brasserie Léon de Lyon. We were very glad to have settled on it, as it was among the best lunches of our trip. We both ordered off of the menu of entrée and plat. My husbanded started with the chilled tomato soup (velouté), served with a crostini on the side topped with dried, cured ham. I selected the "paté de jambon en gelée" with salad. The paté was plated atop a puree of fresh peas, accompanied with a few whole peas, as well. Both entrees were fresh, seasonal renderings. For our main course, we both selected the “pavé de lieu jaune roti,” – haddock? Whatever it was, it was a firm, sweet white fish, served on a bed of julienned carrots and leeks, in a rich, flavorful “bouillabaisse” sauce. No dessert; just coffee, which was accompanied by a piece of dark chocolate.
Dinner on Day 3 was at Daniel et Denise. This was the best food of the trip, although the meal got off to a bad start, when they seated us by the kitchen despite plenty of other open tables and then claimed that they needed to keep the other tables free for parties of 4 – an obvious untruth since all the tables were 2-tops, any 2 of which could have been joined or separated, including our own, which was immediately adjacent to a vacant 2-top. They obviously wanted to save the better tables for their regular guests, or at least locals who had more potential to become regulars than we – and from their perspective that makes perfect economic sense -- but it was an awkward and unpleasant start to the meal.
Once the food started, however, we began to enjoy ourselves. For starters we both had the “Salade Gourmande,” consisting of greens, haricots verts, lima beans, foie gras, and “queue d’écrivisse” (baby shrimp in a mayonnaise sauce). I don’t much care for lima beans and DH doesn’t really “get” foie gras, but this salad was such a perfect marriage of absolutely top-notch ingredients that we both enjoyed it immensely. I even ate all the lima beans, which under ordinary circumstances I would have pushed to the side. And my husband commented on how good the foie gras was. For the main course, my husband selected a beef filet served in a cognac/peppercorn/cream sauce, and I went for the stuffed saddle of rabbit. His beef was cooked perfectly to his request of medium rare, unlike a number of other restaurants where our beef came overdone (I think it’s because the Brits tend to like their beef served medium but about ½ the restos where we ordered beef on the trip served it to us medium despite our requests at various times for “medium rare,” “saignant” or “à point.”) In addition, during the main course, we were presented with a dish of macaroni in béchamel sauce as well as a dish of thinly sliced potatoes that I believe had been baked, but perhaps were fried (sorry but I’m probably being a dunce in describing a common food preparation that I’d never before encountered). Both were very good, especially the potatoes. For dessert, we shared the dessert of the day – a decadently rich pot au chocolat, accompanied by two honeyed madeleines. Only off-note of the food was that the “sweets” accompanying the coffee consisted of honeyed peanuts; don’t care for them under any circumstances and was a bit too reminiscent of airline snack-food.
I also should note that, notwithstanding the frosty start with the maître d’ at D&D, the attitude of the staff after that was perfectly correct and even friendly, especially our waitress, who was invariably smiling and gracious.
Thanks. I'm familiar with the terminology, as is my husband. At one restaurant, the waiter asked if I wanted "saignant" or "bleu," and I said "saignant, but it still came on the medium side of medium rare. My husband regularly specifed "a point" or sometimes, in English, "medium rare"; at D&D it was a perfect medium rare. The same request by him at Le Sud resulted in medium.