Lerouge aux Lèvres

Lerouge aux Lèvres (La Rochelle)

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After popping open bottles for over 20 years, Stéphane Lerouge (ex-Louis XV in Monaco) became a bistro/natural wine shop owner in 2014. Located right near the market, seated in the sleek bric-a-brac space (vintage school posters, Formica tables) or on a lipstick red chair along the cobblestoned street, we happily dug into the well made plates by Guillaume Hilaire (ex-Guy Savoy). The night we went displayed some real first-rate cave à manger fare: creamy burrata with eggplant caviar; a delicious salad of haricots verts, chard, egg yolk preserved in soy and ham chips; tender veal rump with beautiful Provencal tomatoes; a giant cheese platter from L’Epicurium; before a deconstructed cherry cheesecake, for the no-less-thrilling dessert. FYI: the terrace is open from the first day of spring to the last day of fall. // V.B.

FEELING THIRSTY? Place your trust in Stéphane’s encyclopedic knowledge: Pet de Nonne, a sparkling Burgundy from Pierre Naigeon (€5.80 a glass); Pur C, a Pays-d’Hérault red from Guillaume Baron (€4.40); La Bohême, a Loire white from Marc Pesnot (€22 a bottle); along with other signature winemakers from along the banks of the Loire River (Chidaine, Villemade, Riffault, Puzelat) and elsewhere (Josmeyer, Pfifferling, Occhipinti…).

PRICE: Set menu €16-20 (lunch), à la carte €36.50 to €45.50 (dinner).

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