30 day challenge finale: Degustation
A lot can be said for proximity and free parking right in front. So on day 30 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge Petit Maison Robert is the French connection and finish line for a stylish degustation. It coincides with the Tour de France menu specials and plenty of French standards. A dismissive waitress wants to seat us near small children. (No merci). Her scowl is very Gallic but our server Peter is attentive and informed. Bus boys hover.
Pastis, a glass of ice and a carafe of water are all the chemistry set required for “just an apertif”. Mineral water is de rigueur and in this case Little Bob’s House pours Perrier. The bread is warm but alas not from Clear Flour. It goes well with the three pâtés, mustard and cornichon mini pickles. The very fresh charcuterie crafted by someones with lots of practice, is a variety of mousse and Pâté de Campagne with alternating smooth and coarse natures.
Soupe à l’Onion Gratinée sails out of the kitchen in the traditional crock with bread, gooey cheese and beefy onion broth. Escargot à la Bourguignonne showed up pretty quick for snails, coated with plenty of buttery garlic and bright parsley. The remaining bread is the tool to soak up each cell of the sauce from the snail pan’s depressions. Now for an innocuous glass of Bordeaux which is brick red, fruity and subtle enough. Coq au vin with buttered noodles is comforting and filling with a deep wine sauce. Tripes à la Mode, Provençale with a colorful tomato and vegetable sauce comes with a half roasted potato that compliments the ribbons of tender tripe.
One grand Profiterole with ice cream and chocolate sauce is pretty and Crème Brulee was an eggy attempt that came with a palmier. Decaf espresso got us home to a great giant nap and that is why this post had to wait a day. Prehaps French cuisine is best for the late fall and winter...et en France aussi. Look for my wrap up and greatest hits of the 30 day food challenge and thanks for all the suggestions, comments and encouragement.
Petit Robert Needham
45 Chapel Street, Needham, MA 02492