La Poule au Pot
As the best soups are made in the oldest pots, or so the French saying goes, Madame and Monsieur Piège were on the lookout for a beautiful old restaurant where they could stew up the best bourgeois cuisine has to offer. They dusted off the sleepy “La Poule au Pot,” just a stone’s throw from La Canopée, the skeletal ghost of the belly of Paris. This venerable and luxurious spot has barely been updated (vintage pink tablecloths, a copper bar, mirrored columns, old-fashioned wallpaper), but the €48 menu is awfully alluring. The night we went, served with frilly silverware: a princely duck galantine, paired with foie gras, pistachios, incredible black trumpet mushrooms, and a powerful turnip, radish and mushroom jelly that was delicious sauced up with bread from Frédéric Lalos; fried Colbert whiting, split open like The Origin of the World, with a bed of mashed potatoes and a mound of matchstick fries; and three tarts – chocolate, apple-blackberry and raw cream – playing the role of the proverbial Piège-esque madeleine, with a divine chilled rhubarb ice cream as a bonus treat. We also tested a few slightly reinvigorated and nostalgic dishes served à la carte at fiery prices: classic frog legs (€34); tender asparagus à la mousseline (€28); old-fashioned blanquette de veau (€30)… The wine collection explores both space and time: a Loire red from the Domaine de Bellevue (€6 a glass), a Côtes-du-Rhône white from the Domaine Jamet (€58 a bottle), etc. Menu €48. À la carte €56-88. // M.J.-D.