Report: 8 Days in the Cote d’Or (w/ lunches in Ronchamp & Lyon) in January.
After several snowy visits that severely limited our explorations we were given surprisingly warm and clear days, which made our getting about all that more pleasant. All prices are for 2 people, with wine and usually cafes.
BEAUNE, place Carnot GRAND CAFÉ DE LYON. Hmmm. Grand might be overstating it, but we weren’t quite as speedy on the A6 as we thought we would be and we arrive in Beaune close to the end of traditional country-side lunchtime. (1:15-1:30…) We were chased out of one place that ironically had a sign out front that boasted “Service Nonstop” so we trotted across the Place to a place we’ve often ducked into in the early morn for a café and tartine. Vinyl banquettes, florescent lights, coffees and beers dispensed in equal numbers at the bar. Had the plat de jour, which was Poulet au Pot with salad on the side. I think I’d stick to breakfast. Though it was inexpensive, better to have waited 30 minutes til Alain Hess opened back up after the lunch break and picnicked in the car…32,60€, pichet de Pinot Noir, 13€
BEAUNE, LA CIBOULETTE This is likely our third or fourth time here, and we always enjoy it. Always reserve and it is always full, often, as is the case in these parts, with some men dinning solo (wine merchants on the road?). Started with a salad that had a warm liver mousse on top that was quite good, and Bman had Œufs en Meurette. We both had Filet de Bœuf en sauce Epoisses and washed it all down with a lovely Faively Mercurey, La Framboisière which indeed had nice raspberry notes. 99,50€, of which 33€ was for the wine
GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN, CHEZ GUY Also a return visit for us. This time we score the table next to the fireplace, which was quite nice. Nearby a table is laid out for 20 which looks like it might be a post-Christmas company celebration. Amuses were a small glass of delicious veloute de navet (turnip) and a small toast with a quenelle of trout mousse. I started with Œufs Brouiller au Truffe and Bman went for Meurette encore (when in Rome…) My plat was a Quasi de veau et pomme purée and Bman had the house specialty of Joue de Bœuf cuite 12 heures au vin rouge. We sprang for a Gevrey-Chambertin, 1er Cru “Les Champeaux” from Olivier Guyot. 160€, the wine was 88€ (never drink wine this expensive at home, but so easy to do in the environs of the vines…)
POMMARD, LE POMMARD. Spent the early part of the day exploring the Cote de Beaune and found ourselves (once again!) close to the end of lunch time (how can we be such novices at this point… but we kept finding one more interesting narrow road to drive up into the vine-covered hills and the sky was so clear…). To our good fortune, when we inquire at this spot they agree to feed us if we have the menu du jour, which was a copious Salade Landaise, Faux Filet in a wine sauce, and a platter (each) of desserts including sorbet, tuiles, chocolate moelleux and (ha!) fruit… At this pace we may need to start walking up some of those hills… 99€ with a demi of (natch !) Pommard 29€.
RONCHAMP, Le RHEIN (Hotel-Restaurant CARRER) it has been a dream since art history class in college, decades ago, to one day visit Ronchamp and see Le Corbusier’s masterpiece. There is not much to recommend around these parts but we follow signs to this place just outside of town which claims to have a few stars for its hotel and that sets it above the other places we spot in town. Started with some nibbles of cheese and Rosette de Lyon on a toothpick, and then had a veloute de potiron with some chestnuts thrown in, and the Escalope pane, followed by some forgettable dessert. Was inexpensive, reasonably crowded for lunch and not an English voice to heard, for sure… 40€ including a pichet Cote du Rhône 8€.
NUITS SAINT-GEORGES, LA COTE D’OR. This being January, our favorite spot in town, La Cabotte is closed so we opt for this spot right on the Route des Grand Cru in the centre of town. There a reasonable number of cars parked out front and plenty of folks going in so we take that as a potentially good sign. In our experiuece this usually means at least decent grub at a good price, if not revelatory. Bman started with mysterious and slightly indiscernible salad of potatoes, corn, haricots vert and brochet. I had Œuf mollet en sauce époisses, which was pretty good. Plats were a very average Bœuf Bourguignon with, um… frites (it was that or rice…) and Bman had pork chops with ratatouille and spaghetti…. (?). We shared un upside-down pineapple/banana cake. 48,50€ including a pichet of the house red.
BEAUNE, LE COMPTOIR DES TONTONS. Had read about this place in Le Fooding and decided to try it. We both started with the Terrine de Pain Perdu au verts de blette, et vieux parmesan Reggiano, Lomo Iberico puro de Belotta. My plat was Bœuf de la ferme Guerin cuit longuement en sauce vin rouge, et olives Taggiaches avec Ecrasé de Désirée. I followed with a nice cheese plate with Bleu d'Auvergne, Epoisses, Brillat-Savarin avec les truffes et chèvres. Bman had a plat of Colin de petit bateau de nos cotes Bretagne grille avec purée de radis longs. This was washed down with a delicious Ladoix Prieure Roch (59€) Others on CH speak of lesser experiences and a chilly welcome but we were treated well (perhaps because it was January and we nearly had the place to ourselves…) and the food was actually memorable. 138€
LYON, RESTO HALLE, in Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. Giddy with the good weather and our ability to zip about we decided to nip down to Lyon for lunch and a visit to Les Halles to score some Mere Richard Saint Marcellin. If we were closer to the beginning of our trip I would have loaded up on all the fine items to be found here, but we limited ourselves to the Mere and some Lomo from Belotta Belotta which made an excellent apero the next day. We decided to déjeune in the Halles and after a stroll around to review the numerous attractive options we snagged the last little table at Resto Halle. Bouchon touches here and there, and a very busy bar with seeming business men having a quick drink before or instead of lunch. Started with salad Lyonnaise which was enormous (we shared) and good. I had Quenelles de Brochet en sauce Nantua which was served with rice on the side and Bman had Rabelais de Lapin accompanied by a macaroni gratin. I loved my Brochet. Washed down with a bottle of St Joseph, Revol, 26€. 64,60€.
BEAUNE, LE GORET. Behind the Basilique Notre Dame. This is the number one restaurant recommendation on Trip Advisor which both fascinated and horrified, but with so many favorite spots closed for conge annual we decided to give it a try. Once we were seated in the timbered dining room the chef explained that there are no starts as the meals are so copious. I remember wondering why the bread basket was so skimpy, usually a pet peeve of mine. Now I know why: copious was an understatement. Selections are on small, pig-shaped ardoise lining one wall. We both had what was called la Trilogie, which was ½ a Morteau, ½ a saucisson, and a paleron de Veau. The saucisson was grilled on the plancha with a bit of truffle dust on it. The whole feast was brought out on a cutting board which also had salad, roasted and sautéed potato halves, and a small compote of peas. The veau melted in your mouth, and the sausages were delicious. Somehow, we both cleared our boards. I don’t think we ate for the next 24 hours… 60,40€ with pichet of the house rouge 8€.
FLEUREY-SUR-OUCHE, P’TIT REPARE DE GOUT. Sometimes we are punished and other times rewarded: we like to amble, drive down roads we’ve never been before, follow our noses, and seek out long views. We were meandering around Châteauneuf-en-Auxois and its environs taking in the hilltop views and the warm temperatures. Noon creeps up quickly in these meanderings, and 12:30 and 12:45 even quicker. I start studying the google map on phone to try and guess the size of nearby towns to hope one will have a spot we can stop for lunch. Driving down the D104 we find ourselves crossing over the Canal de Bourgogne and spot a line of cars outside a restaurant along the canal. We quickly park as we see others doing the same, and are relieved when they agree to seat us without a reservation at the one remaining table. The interior is stone, brightly lit, with modern touches and large windows overlooking the canal where a number of ducks and geese are swimming about. Without studying the menu too closely we opt for the menu du jour, which started with a puff pastry of leek and emmentaler with a small salad on the side. The plats were Bœuf Bourguignon (again, pretty average) and what looked and tasted like Rice-A-Roni (soy sauce? Something that tinted white rice brown and made it quite salty…) Dessert was a Spéculoos parfait that was better than I thought it would be. We shared a bottle of Haut Cote de Nuit, Andre Goichot (25€) and were the last ones out at the end of service. Don’t think I’d make a special trip, but clearly the pickings were thin and the place quite lively for a mid-week lunch in January. 56,60€.
BEAUNE, LE BACCHUS, rue du Fauberg Madeline. Can’t remember where we had read about this place, CH, or elsewhere but it seemed to have good reviews and we were game. This is a small husband-and-wife place and there was a large group taking up half the restaurant for some celebration, the third time this week we encountered this. And again it sort of seemed like a bunch of co-workers. Is there some January tradition we were observing?? I started with a Puff pastry with escargots and followed with Sourie d’Agneau. Bman had a Dos de Cabillaud. The cheese plate had époisses, a cheese washed in Pommard and coated with mustard seeds, and a Brillât Savarin. We liked everything we had, and enjoyed a nice Fixin Vielle Vignes from Humbert Freres. Lost the recipt but I think the total was around 80€ with the wine.
A la prochaine, Bourgogne…. Merci houndies for all your guidance.