Just like every year, we hear the insane rumor that the godmother of bistros, the queen of offal, Raquel Carena, is going to retire. And just like every other year, we breathe a sigh of relief when we push open the door to her bistro, where nothing has changed since 1987 – not the beautiful mahogany bar, not her husband Philippe’s fedora hanging on the coat rang, not the banquettes filled with devoted fans, great chefs on a pilgrimage or well-informed tourists. Not Rachel either, luckily, who is as lively as ever and not ready to hand over her apron just yet, as she proved the last time we went for lunch: a beautiful garden salad with crispy pig’s ears; tender oxtail with carrots and turnips in broth topped with a wild herb vinaigrette; before a farm-fresh fromage blanc with pineapple for dessert. Raquel recites her classics à la carte at night: Challans pigeon with sherry vinegar, calf’s ruffle with capers, salt cod and cod tripe ragù, kidneys in a coffee sauce….
FEELING THIRSTY? Philippe, alias “Pinoteau,” has you covered: Les Canilles, a Languedoc from the Domaine Ribiera (€6.50 a glass), a Savoyard Mondeuse from Gilles Berlioz (€48 a bottle), an Ardèche white from Hervé Souhaut (€39), Morgon Côte du Py from Jean Foillard (€48)…
PRICE: Menu €20 (lunch), à la carte €38-56 (dinner).