Thursday, April 19, 2007

A la Biche au Bois

This entry has been a looooooong time coming. Because I have already been three times and have so far not said a peep about the place. But my return custom says only one thing about it:

She likes it, she really likes it!

For a few reasons: good food, good value and good service.

The first time I went, it was late, the restaurant was crowded (we were only able to get into the 9pm sitting) and it was freezing rain outside. I was unwell and feeling horrendous midway through the meal. I went outside to get some fresh air. An incredibly busy server noticed me and asked if I was alright. I assured him the food did me no harm but I wished to get some air. A chair was unearthed as if by magic (the place was PACKED!) and wiped, put in a discreet corner with a bit of a cover to protect from the rain and offered to me. When I returned into the restaurant, every single server stopped by to ask if I was alright and if they could get me anything. I was in shock. I had made no fuss, was not running through the restaurant nor pushing to get outside but was rather discrete about it but they were very kind and thoughtful without being pushy. Despite a full house of guests. I was impressed.

Even more impressed was the boy. For, despite my malaise, had polished off his starter, main, a plate full of cheese, (goading his poor Chinese colleague into taking a huge bite of blue cheese with no warning), most of the bottle of Burgundy and was sitting back like a Cheshire cat sipping his Armagnac.

The second time we went, it was with my family of Mom, Dad, Brother and girlfriend as well as the boy. Before I could get my camera out of its case, forks were flying, arms were reaching and plates were compiles so that everyone got a taste of everyone else's starter. A bloggable picture was out of the question. The boy sat, terrified of being stabbed in the eye and wisely waited until the flurry stopped before attacking his plate.

So now, the third time, we were able to finally enjoy the meal with no one feeling ill nor forks a flying.

To begin, the dinner is an astonishing good value at 24.90 euros including a starter, a main, a selection of cheese and a dessert. Some starters and mains may include extra costs but were not unreasonable in the slightest.

I started with the parfait au foie nature, a choice my Mother made last time of which I was incredibly envious. It came in two generous slices with a small salad and a pot of pickles and bread for the table. It was delicious, smooth and luscious, a delicious start to the dinner. I shared it out between others as it was a little too much for one person. Even a greedy person like me. The boy's Mother had the Salade Périgourdine which came with a generous and fabulous piece of foie gras, with a salad of haricot vert and tomatoes. After a taste, ALL of us wanted to change our entrees.

My main, which was the classic coq au vin, came in a le creuset pot, a dark, fragrant scent wafting over it. It contained three large pieces of chicken, potatoes and mushrooms. The gravy or sauce was fabulous and everyone took turns dipping their chips (fries to me) in the sauce. The white meat was a bit too try to my taste but the dark meat falling off the bone, rich and delicious.

Then come one of my favorite bits. The cheese course. A huge round platter is brought around to the table and you are asked to choose what cheese you like. You are allowed to choose as much as you would like but be warned, the portions are generous. When my brother's girlfriend came, she turned to the boy to ask how much she could have and when he answered "as much as you want", the responding smile almost cracked her face in two. The blue is delicious, as well as the Pont Leveque. I'd go back just for the cheese.

Last but not least was the desserts. Before the Armagnac and the coffee, of course. And, in an effort to feel slightly better about my choice, I had l'Ile Flottant, a beautiful light meringue in a creme anglais drizzled with caramel. I had no problem finishing it. And the boy had no problem finishing the custardy creme anglais.

So, finally, my verdict is go. But if I can't get a booking next time, I'm pulling this post!

A la Biche au Bois
45 av Ledru Rollin, 12th
Metro: Gare de Lyon
Tel: 01 43 43 34 38


susan said...

Dear Jess,

Did you just do a "Mikey" imitation?
This place sounds like a gem! I hope you find more like this!


Sui Mai said...

Hi Susan,

Yes. I'm afraid I did.

Not to worry, I shall hang my head in suitable shame for regurgitating an old line...

Love this place and am sure you would too... visit already!!


susan said...

Hi Jess,

No, I LIKED the Mikey imitation - it made me laugh.