Restaurant CRU (Auch)


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Who would have guessed? After the opening of the Merle Moqueur wine shop, the Gers department commune of Auch and its 22,000 inhabitants (quite dear to André Daguin – a lover of duck breast), is now home to yet another haven for good wines! Chef Isabelle Williams (ex-Des Roses et des Orties in Colomiers) and wine expert Bartholomé Airoldi (who used to work at the Domaine Chiroulet) have decanted this former bookshop and turned it into a community-friendly wine bar (a wall covered in wine corks, bottles displayed on individual shelves, metal mesh doors). A perfect spot for pairing their thirst-quenching bottles with lovely terroir-ist combos made using carefully-chosen ingredients: Aqui’Chò meats, vegetables from La Petite Ferme de l’Isle, herbs from Mongauzy… Proof came the day we went for lunch: ultra-fresh leek maki glazed in sesame oil and lemon, paired with a yogurt cream, soy mayonnaise and grilled leek roots; a hearty veal steak (from a calf raised on its mother’s milk) cooked to medium-rare perfection, with a jus de viande reduction, sweet potato mash, mizuna and fried sage leaves; before a winning dessert, a pavlova with fresh citrus and a simple whipped cream. // Gérard Roubeix 

FEELING THIRSTY? More than 300 bottles, from both conventional and clean winemakers: Le Petit Derna, an Aude red from Guillaume Boussens (€5 a glass), Vain de Rû, a local Colombard wine produced by Dominique Andiran (€23.50), Les 3 Petits Cochons, a Madiranais rosé from the Laplace family (€21)… 
PRICE: Set menus and combos €16-19 (lunch), plates €6-25 (dinner). 

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