Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

A traditional Parisian lunch at Le Comptoir

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Le Comptoir Bar

Le Comptoir Bar

Outside seating at Le Comptoir

Outside seating at Le Comptoir

Californians eat lunch early, what with getting up early in the morning for the 5 mile jog or an hour of hot yoga or both. A Californian tourist in Paris arrives early at restaurants during the lunchtime and gets a seat. An hour later would typically mean an hour long wait. Except for one or two of the trendiest restaurants, a reservation thankfully is not needed. Most places in Paris, one gets by with a few words in English, a few in French and lots of energetic hand gestures and facial expressions. Try doing that on the phone. So yes, I am grateful for the no reservation needed situation.

Lamb and couscous

Lamb and couscous

Pigeon with seasonal mushrooms

Pigeon with seasonal mushrooms

Le Comptoir is on a busy intersection in the hip part of Left Bank. Sitting outside on a sunny day in summer would be fantastic except for the smoking. So, we decided to sit inside. Navigating to your table is never too easy in Parisian restaurants but everyone is helpful and several “excusez-mois” later you plop down on your chair.

What I wouldn’t do to lunch like a Parisian male,  a big block of foie gras, three salad leaves, a loaf of white bread and a full bottle of wine. But even on holidays, some things are off limits. So I ordered a plate of lamb and couscous. The lamb was fatty and fall off the bones tender. The sauce was deliciously meaty and savory. I understood why dogs like to gnaw on bones. With that lamb bone, I wanted to do much the same. The couscous had unfortunately drowned in the sauce so I couldn’t tell if it was light as cloud as it is wont to be.

My husband ordered the Pigeon with mushrooms and ham sauce. The mushrooms were in season so the plate had a few different varieties. The French and New Orleans cooking have this concept of bacon jus sauce which is absolutely fabulous – it makes you deeply appreciate the close relationship between man and pig. The pigeon came with a crisp skin. Perhaps not a whole lot of protein or carbohydrates but the dish wasn’t found to be calorically lacking.

We started early and and we finished late. Service is never hurried in French restaurants which makes you appreciate the good life – your vacation, your partner, your neighboring tables, etc. A good thing about being in crowded restaurants where you barely understand a few snatches of words here and there is that the atmosphere feels private and intimate. French wait staff is very surprised if you turn down the dessert. But we had to consider the rest of the afternoon and other patisseries that will lie along our way.

Navigating out is perhaps even more complex than navigating in, all that good animal fat slows you down and, you and your neighbors are perhaps a little clumsy after a bottle or two of wine. We eventually do and head out to Montmartre (click for photo slideshow).

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Written by Som

January 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Posted in Europe, France, Paris

Tagged with , ,

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