After Thursday’s experience with entrails, Bill and I decided to be cautious on Friday. We spent a languid afternoon hanging out with the animals and taking in the views. I finished a book I’d been reading (and just reviewed on my main blog). When it got to be lunchtime, we decided to try a local restaurant I’d read about on Trip Advisor.
The outside of the restaurant. It’s very unassuming looking, but the food is outstanding.
L’Etape Charollaise is not even a five minute drive from where we were staying. It’s a small, family owned restaurant that puts out great food at reasonable prices. But we were still a little gun shy after Bill’s chitterling experience, so we approached the restaurant with caution. Our waitress did not speak English, but was good enough to speak French slowly. Bill went with the menu du jour, which was 13 euros and came with a Lyonnaise salad, a main course, cheese, and a dessert. I went with the savory menu, which was 18 euros without cheese and, I think, 23 euros with it. I don’t eat cold cheese, so I went with the sans fromage option.
We were a little sketchy on what Bill’s main course would consist of, as we didn’t have it written down for us (a sign was posted on the door). My menu offered a choice of beef or fish. I went with the fish, which was a good choice.
Bill checks out the menu.
While we were eating, a bunch of local folks came in. There was a couple who looked like they knew the restaurant well. They sat in the corner near us. A couple of guys, obviously working class blokes, sat at the table next to us and shared a nice bottle of wine. A couple of elderly men who appeared to be regulars were scattered around. All was going normally until the couple heard us speaking English. The male half turned and stared at us quizzically. It was as if they wondered what the hell we were doing in rural France! Again, it was probably not unlike the reaction people in my hometown would have if French people suddenly dropped in to have dinner at one of the local eateries.
Anyway, out came the food and it was all very good…
We enjoyed a bottle of vino and some still water, which the restaurant provided freely and without our having to ask for it.
I’m not totally sure what this was. It was my amuse and it tasted like sun dried tomatoes with olives and bacon on top of some type of cream. I am a little weird about creamy stuff, but I did taste it and it was interesting. Bill liked it better than I did.
On the other hand, I loved Bill’s Lyonnaise salad, which was greens, a perfectly poached egg, bacon, and croutons. That’s my kind of salad. Breakfast in a bowl!
I had a lovely filet of sole on top of pureed lentils and vegetables. I was delighted by how colorful this dish was and that, for once, it was pretty healthy.
And this was Bill’s mystery dish…
WTF is Bill eating? It’s rice, mushrooms, and some kind of meat…
Followed up with some very good local cheeses. I love watching Bill eat cheese, even if I never eat it myself.
The expression on his face is why I like watching him. He does the same when he drinks a very good wine or interesting beer.
Next came dessert. Bill’s was basically meringue in creme anglaise and topped with caramel. It was not too big and he liked it a lot for that reason.
My dessert was excellent! It was a poached pear on a cookie with little mounds of chocolate mousse, a scoop of pear sorbet, and an almond cookie. It was a great cap to a fine meal.
Bill eats his cheese course and tries to figure out what each of the cheeses were. He says, “This one might be Epoisses.” Epoisses is a locally produced cheese we discovered on our last trip to Burgundy. He later did some checking and identified the cheeses. When I see him later, I’ll get him to tell me what he thinks they were so I can update.
We got all of this fine food for about fifty euros. And, on the way out of the restaurant, I took note of the sign that listed the plate of the day. Bill was eating “dinge”. Looking up the word, I see that dinge in French is turkey. The more you know! If we go back to Saint Marcelin-de-Cray, we will for sure try to visit L’Etape Charollaise again.