I can’t get this childhood French lesson out of my head; a little song we learned with hand actions to remember what each meant:
“On, under, in, in front of, behind,
In front of, behind, in front of, behind,
On, under in, in front of, behind, beside”
We’ve been searching all over Europe for that one little food experience that truly felt local. That little place off the beaten path that has great food a great atmosphere and is where the locals go. We asked the concierge in 4 cities and winemakers in 3 towns but all we seemed to get were the places that were easy for tourists to find and enjoy. However, our last night in Paris we stumbled upon a super great find. A half open door leading to a courtyard deep within, easy to pass right by, lulled by the glowing signage of 2 of Paris’ more popular restaurants. If you do manage to catch sight of well-dressed diners in the courtyard and make the journey through the darkened alley, you’ll be met by servers bustling about with beautiful plates of delicious and very pretty cocktails, as well as the Maître D’ who will inevitably ask you about your reservation.
We didn’t know that a rezzo was needed, but the dashing beard liked our cowboy hats (I think) and sat us anyways. As we walked to our table I couldn’t help but notice the plethora of cool lamps, great plates, and a bar very far from typical. We were seated on a sofa and couple of chairs, each of us having our own small round table of its own height. All were brightly coloured to go with our seating. Our seating arrangement was cool, but our view of the bar over the ping pong table was glorious. The bar was made to look like an old kitchen area in your home, with glass fronted cabinets to contain the booze and glassware and a countertop with a few speed bottles and prep area for drinks. The bartender would walk up to the counter as if he were hosting a cocktail party in his house and mix drinks before walking them over to various patrons. I had committed to drinking wine and so I just watched the magic happen, but thankfully Andrew ordered the cocktail named for the bar so we at least got to try that; a very like take on the dark stormy, refreshing and delicious.
We had ordered a bottle of Chinon to share and enjoyed our first sips with 2 great appies: a burrata with great buffalo mozza plated with fresh chives, 1 medium sized full flavoured sun dried tomato, and a delicate, light, olive tapenade; and a thick slice of the best foie gras of the trip with a (…) jelly and a small amount of salt on the side. Both the foie and burrata had a few slices of top French quality bread.
The big pours of the bottle went with dinner, and each of us had a dinner that paired wonderfully with the Loire’s native cabernet franc. The girls both ordered the same thing so it came out together in one big cast iron pot. As they fished their beef cheek and baby potatoes out of the pot the tenderness of the meat was immediately apparent. Thankfully, Shanelle let me have a bite of hers and it as it melted away in my mouth like the foie of earlier I could only get lost in the beauty of meat. I truly didn’t have any words to describe the feeling, the flavour was somewhat akin to the delicious beouf bourgougnon of Beaune with a hint of Asian 5 spice, but the texture was something I have never felt before. It was like a host of heavenly baby angels dancing Balanchine on a stage wet with Yquem if your tongue was the stage and sans sugar, incredible.
Andrew and I both had the same thought, the girls could keep their money and keep their mojo. Just give us the baby. We each had something very different from each other. Andrew had baby brain smothered in a ginger sauce. It was delicious. This whole meal was a very textural experience and the sweetbreads didn’t disappoint in that regard. Brainz, it’s no wonder zombies only eat those.
My veal wasn’t the sweet breads, but instead, veal chop cut into round medallions topped with olives and finely chopped chive (I really love chives so any dish with them scores big points). And those medallions were laid on olive oil and a soya heavy teriyaki-ish sauce. The Italian French Asian combo exploded flavours my mouth, and each bite was a surreal experience. The olive in each bite lubed up my mouth perfectly for the hunk of meat I slid in with it, making sure there was never a bad time masticating. The dish was rounded out with split mini & sweet potatoes and a few wonderfully cooked veggies that were yum with the olivie Asian sauce umami goodness.
I highly recommend anyone going to Paris seek out this place we found, and if you’re lucky like we were maybe you’ll find yourself sur the sofa, sous the lamps, dans la resto, devant a plate of delicious, all at Derriere.
And as always check out Vanessa's blog for more about our trip!