|Le Bon Saint-Pourçain, Paris, France
|A tiny restaurant tucked behind the church of Saint-Sulpice, Le Bon Saint-Pourçain offers traditional food in a cozy setting.
We discovered the restaurant Le Bon Saint-Pourçain while walking around the neighborhood near our apartment in the Saint-Germain area of Paris. Small and traditional in appearance, it appealed to us and we went back for a lovely dinner one evening.
Saint-Pourçain is a wine region in the Auvergne, or central part of France. Indeed, the red wine we drank with dinner was called simply, Saint-Pourçain.
The menu was listed on a blackboard and included a number of traditional dishes. Some, like cassoulet, are familiar to foreigners, but others, like fromage de tête, (headcheese) or compote de lapereau (stewed young rabbit) are not. By the way, headcheese is not cheese at all, but rather bits of meat from the head (or other odd parts) of a pig or cow, pressed in aspic.
Since it was asparagus season, Tom started with asperges vinaigrette, while I had the similarly prepared poireaux vinaigrette (poached leeks in a vinaigrette dressing). Both were simply prepared and tasty.
For the main course, Tom had the out-of-season-but-still-delicious cassoulet, a white bean stew with sausages, lamb, pork, and duck. It's a rich combination of flavors that is typical of Southwestern France.
I opted for the special of the day, called Petits Farcis—literally "little stuffed things." It was a combination plate of stuffed tomato, peppers, and zucchini, served with a tomato sauce and accompanied by rice. The farce or stuffing was meat based, with nice seasonings and a small topping of melted cheese. The meal was both delicious and fun, as I explored the different vegetables.
Pricing at Le Bon Saint-Pourçain is simple, with appetizers for either 8 or 12 euros, and main dishes mostly 20 euros. Our bill for dinner for two, including a full bottle of wine (but no dessert), was 75€ (including all taxes and service, of course).
The restaurant is very small and offers a few outdoor tables in season. There were obviously some "regulars" there, who knew the menu, the wine, and the waitress and were back to enjoy a favorite place. It's not elegant cooking, as you can see from the pictures, and some of the dishes will not appeal to timid eaters or those unaccustomed to the French habit of eating all parts of the animal. But we enjoyed it and loved the traditional ambience and feel of the place.
Le Bon Saint-Pourçain