Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I lay the blame squarely on Spike Gjerde's shoulders for this debauchery. And while I should take responsibility for my own actions, I feel as though I'm being driven by a calling. A calling to sample as much as possible in the short time I have in this city of love. Unfortunately, I'm not talking about women, I'm talking about food. It's been several hours since my last meal and since Spike and I set the bar at three meals per night in New York City, I think two meals should be do-able.
Since last night, I've been walking past this little bistro here on rue Amelie. It's a cute and comfortable looking place that's run by a husband and wife team that must be what every chef dreams of - a small bistro where they can cook to their hearts' content. If I'm going to make a serious push for other restaurants later this week, then I'd better sample Chez Pierrot while I still can.
Like I said, I had been staring at their menu both last night and this morning. I decided to start off with Eggs "Meurette" for 7.80 euros, and then move onto the Celestine Chicken (a Lyonnaise specialty) for 15.30 euros.
Of course, I had no idea what a "Meurette" was all about, and since I knew what French Onion Soup and Smoked Salmon were all about, I decided to go with the unknown. The "Meurette" is basically a poached egg (with runny yolk), served in a beef and mushroom broth with toasted baguette rounds. Kinda like onion soup meets Fogghorn Legghorn. Bake that under a salamander until everything gets hot and serve.
It's tasty. The broth is rich of beef and red wine and just a tad salty. Mushrooms and beef chunks are floating in their and show up in spoonfuls. The egg white is well cooked and once you reach the yolk and it starts to "bleed" into the brown sauce, you can't help but to get excited and start digging in - hoping to spoon up the yolk and see how the flavors meld together (lovely).
Once finished, the chicken arrives. When I first sat down, the lady of the house recommended the beef - as that is their specialty. But I had beef earlier and wanted to try the chicken since it sounded so good, so I went for that instead. I should have gone for the beef.
Not that the chicken was bad. It was just, well, disappointing. I was expecting something revelatory. I got something that seemed more Italian. Deboned chicken breast and wing that was overcooked because it was pretty tough to cut into, layered over fettuccine noodles with a tomato, mushroom and bay leaf sauce. Nothing spectacular, and it was overcooked. Maybe it really is a Lyonnaise classic, but I was in the mood for something other than "Italian" tomato sauce based food.
Initially, I was going to hold off on dessert, but that resolve withered away and ordered the Coupe Chocolat Liegeois - Chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce with chantilly. In other words, a chocolate sundae without the cherry.
It was okay. Too much whipped cream and too much sauce, not enough ice cream. I mean, look at the size of that thing. There should be more ice cream in that sucker. A simple plate with the ice cream, a drizzle of sauce and a dollop of chantilly would have been enough. I think I left half the volume afterwards.
Overall, Chez Pierrot was okay. Decent food. Nice setting. Very nice people. You want to go back. Problem is, I didn't find the food that compelling. I mean, it was just myself and one other person and the chicken was overdone. I really want to like Chez Pierrot because I love to support small restaurants just like this, but I can't write that it was amazing and that's disappointing. Because I really wanted it to be amazing. I'm hoping it was just an off-night because the veal white sauce a la ancienne makes me want to try it one more time.
9 rue Amelie
0145 51 50 08