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Gourmet de Sèze


bleudauvergne
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Last night upon returning from work, my husband said that as a surprise for me, due to yesterday being an obscure professional milestone for me, he had made a reservation to have dinner out. He would not tell me where we were going, and it was not until after we had gotten on the metro and ridden two stops to the 6ème, gotten off near Chocolatier Bernachon, and taken stroll around the corner onto a residential street one block south of cours Vitton that I realized.

I thought he was taking me to another place altogether, I had in mind that maybe he’d be taking me to “Le Splendid”, a bistro across from the old gare de Brotteaux, and that he wanted to take a stroll. But no, we stopped in front of a rather unremarkable looking place, which had the look of a local restaurant with a yellow and orange wallpapered color scheme but simple, clean tables dressed in white linen. It was Gourmet de Sèze. I have heard this restaurant mentioned by friends, who have remarked on the comfortable and informal dining room, and the fabulous menu that changes every 10 days, based on market and season, a living, breathing kitchen.

How happy I was to be entering this restaurant! Warm and friendly atmosphere, I was perfectly at ease in my clothes from the office. My husband was wearing one of his newer professor sweaters and matching pants, and he had brushed a little polish on his shoes, a step up from his usual. We were greeted warmly, the guest list was checked, they took our coats, and we were shown to our table. The gastronomic event began as soon as we sat down and ordered the aperitif from the sommelier who suggested 3 wines, all white. Such a relief to be here at the end of the day and enjoy a cool glass of Macon with my husband, who ordered the Muscat.

With the wine, he brought out a plate of nibbles with two of each: small toasts with slices of a mini terrine de foie gras, smooth and buttery, each with a dusting of spices, just a touch of fleur de sel, and minced fine chives. Toasts graced with a thin slice of an ashed bouche de chevre, drizzled with fruity olive oil and fresh leaves of thyme. Toasts with a subtle caviar d’aubergine backdrop upon which were arranged minced green and red bell pepper, and a hint of something spicy. A small porcelain pot containing cubes of comté and florets of cauliflower speared on toothpicks, to dip in a mayonnaise sauce seasoned with fresh fines herbes. Another pot of the same shape and size with still warm from the oven whole grain artisan matchstick crackers, to dip in a classic lyonnaise cervelle de canuts, which is a fromage blanc with a mixture of herbs, garlic, and shallots.

I felt that there was a play on scale going on here, with the carefully prepared pots of dipping sauces cradling intimately in our fingers, the toasts, small perfect mouthfuls that we nibbled slowly to appreciate their varied details, almost like miniature paintings, in contrast with the bountiful wine that pulled us up, taking us back and forth from landscape to portrait, each experience with similar intensity. It was at that moment that we fell into a state of complicity with and complete trust of the sommelier.

The menu découvert for €40, with the €15 supplemental option “Marions-Les”, a different wine for each course chosen by the sommelier, was the natural choice for the both of us.

The meal began, first with presentation and serving of with the next wine, a 2003 Coteaux Varois, Domaine de Loou. Having spent my last three summers sipping on wines from the Var, I was at once struck by the way this wine was not even close to those that we find on the table on the terrace at my in-laws, nor was it pink. It was a white wine, special, elegant and proud like the wines from the Var I know, but more refined, mature, developed. Questionned about the grapes that went into this wine, the sommelier responded that it was a 70/30 mix of Semillon and Rollie (sp?).

The amuse bouche to accompany it was a mound of braised market vegetables, fresh green peas, diced haricots verts, carrots, which bloomed on the palate, having been cradled a langoustine gelée, with one morsel of chilled langoustine tail on top of the mound. It was served in a small glass bowl with a spoon. A silent wave of some obscure spice washed over me with every bite, I immediately got the impression that the dish was steeped with a subtle asian influence, and could not place it. Just at the last spoonful, an image came to mind, which had to have been it – a cheesecloth sack filled with Sichuan peppercorns and sewn shut, left to infuse in the cooling bouillon des langoutines that eventually made the gelée. I could be completely wrong. Sometimes these images come to me, though. I am going to try it, anyway.

At some point during the amuse bouche, the bread was served, which I completely ignored until I came back to the surface from my little glass bowl. My husband pointed out that all of their breads are made on site. The small pain au levain loaves contained a mixture of flours, with a hint of rye and texture coming from farine integral.

Our wine glasses were topped off and we were presented with the appetizer, 5 generous langoustine raviolis, served on a bed of wilted spinach and cream, with a dollop of rustic mashed potatoes and a spoon of caviar in the center. This was napped with a reduced crustacean sauce. The potatoes had a great texture and were the perfect backdrop to the caviar, and the meat in the raviolis was cooked to perfection.

The sommelier brought out an exquisite 2001 Domain de Tours vin de pays de Vaucluse and poured us each a generous glass. The nose on this wine was spectacular. Flowers bloomed just before we fell into a vast open space and we were buoyantly caught in a lingering net which evolved slowly, starting in a reverie of caramel de beurre salé that eventually ended in emotions I hadn’t felt in ages, a certain adolescent shame, even. (really.)

There was absolutely no need whatsoever to fret about the ability for the main dish to stand up to the personality of this wine. This was described as a “Lotte de Petit Pecheur” by the waiter, who explained that it had been fished that day and delivered straight to the restaurant. Lotte by nature is a fish that has the texture and flavor to stand up to strong seasoning and long cooking times, and it is normally braised for long periods. A classic dish features chunks of this fish wrapped in bacon and stewed for ½ hour or more and served in a thick ragout.

What we were served last night was completely new, a wonderfully harmonious dish, incorporating the tradition of braised vegetables strongly recalling the terroir tradition that a ragout represents, but much more refined, for a complete absence of “stew” in any sense of the word. Slices of the lotte tail, poached in a complex boullion which must have featured among other things an subtle infusion with coriander seeds, the poached fish composed around the plate under a meltingly delicious fricassee of braised artichoke hearts, white and green asparagus, fennel, celery, and young carrots, which was topped with a little onion and anchovy tart the size of an old silver dollar. The dish was surrounded with a drizzle of a reduction with incorporated mustard à l’ancienne (with the grains). It was clear to me that each of the vegetables had been braised separately and they sang in perfect harmony. The lotte was tender, flavourful, and not overly seasoned – the fresh flavor of the fish was a pure delight.

At this point I began to think about value, and what we’d been discussing here on eGullet with regards to what we consider a valuable experience in a meal. I began playing with numbers in my head about what this was eventually going to cost us. No prices were on the menu for the aperitifs, nor the bottle of water we ordered to go with the meal, nor the coffee that we would eventually order. The number 160 sprang to mind, I guess it was an estimate of what I would be happy to pay over the €110 already committed to the rest of the meal would progess in a similar fashion, with no bad suprises. My thought was, this menu is so completely inexpensive for what we are getting right now, I would still pay lots more and be happy.

Again more of that great wine for my husband, (the sommelier never missed a beat and asked if we wanted more each time the glass was empty) to accompany the cheese plate, which featured a chevre frais drizzled with olive oil, St. Marcellin, Selles sur Cher, Picodin, and a meltingly delicious brebis des Dombes. The cheese plate also featured in a major award winning supporting role – a hot raisin nut levain roll straight from the oven. I had trouble making it last to the end of the cheeses because I found myself putting an itty bitty bit of cheese on and taking a huge bite of the roll. I almost asked for another roll, they were so incredibly delicious, but I am glad I did not.

Because - then the desserts came, along with TWO other wines, a Muscat de Rivesaltes, from les pyranées orientale, which was not the same Muscat that my husband had enjoyed during the aperitif, but still on the dry side which married well with the first three desserts, and a dark as port cordial glass of 1998 Banyuls – to go with the last chocolate dessert, which was a house specialty and called for it’s own wine. 4 separate plates were placed before us, which we were instructed to eat in the following order: Sablée with lemon cream, fresh fruit salad with mint sauce, a white chocolate ring filled with chantilly and topped with vanilla ice cream, and last but not least, this wonderful incredible thing they called a “chocolat mousse à la chickory”. I did not taste the chickory in it, and it resembled a cake that you dig into, and a slick rich ooze of chocolate comes running out onto your plate. Better than pocket coffee.

Speaking of coffee, at that point I was tempted to forgo it because I was afraid I was just going to die from overindulgence. But we ordered it anyway. So the coffee came, with FOUR other little things to have with it, which I was unable to finish – a warm Madeline, the size of the end of my thumb, which I was able to take a nibble of, a little pot of crème au chocolate, high on cocoa content and very creamy, which I took only one small bite of, a mini crème brulée, which I also tasted and passed to my husband, and a small artisan made pyramid shaped chocolate filled with orange marmalade which I was able to eat. You could skip dessert and still be completely satisfied.

When it was time for us to move, the waiter instantly arrived and the transaction was painless – a grand total of 135,50. We were then helped with our coats, and as we reached the door, there stood the chef, M. Mariller, at the door, to ask us how the meal was. I took his hand in both of mine and replied: “Parfait”.

Sigh. :smile:

edited to add : Le Gourmet de Sèze, 129, rue de Sèze, 69006 Lyon. Tél. : 04 78 24 23 42. (reserve at least one week in advance)

Edited by bleudauvergne (log)
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You're making me hungry - and yearning for another trip to Lyon, a city whose surface I only just scratched on a trip to Beaujolais last October - and will probably not have a chance to visit again until next trip to Beaujolais - next October.

Here's a question that has been irking me for months, and I can't seem to find an answer. At a little cafe in the covered food market, for dessert, I had a bowl of very creamy cheese with garlic and maybe chives - I can't remember - it was a savoury dessert and it was out of this world. It's meant to be a Lyon specialty (at least that's what the waiter told me) Does this ring a bell, and if so, what's it called? I'd love to try to recreate it for myself.

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Here's a question that has been irking me for months, and I can't seem to find an answer. At a little cafe in the covered food market, for dessert, I had a bowl of very creamy cheese with garlic and maybe chives - I can't remember - it was a savoury dessert and it was out of this world. It's meant to be a Lyon specialty (at least that's what the waiter told me) Does this ring a bell, and if so, what's it called?  I'd love to try to recreate it for myself.

My guess is that was cervelle de canuts.

Another pot of the same shape and size with still warm from the oven whole grain artisan matchstick crackers, to dip in a classic lyonnaise cervelle de canuts, which is a fromage blanc with a mixture of herbs, garlic, and shallots. 

Cervelle de canuts, a recipe

Edited to add recipe URL.

Edited by Bux (log)

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I have eaten there twice in the past 2 years and had fine meals both times. Lyon is one of the few places with a reliable restaurant guide of its own and one can find reasonable, well-rated restaurants run by young chefs who've trained with the giants of yesteryear (I'm thinking of the thread on Bocuse).

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Lyon is one of the few places with a reliable restaurant guide of its own and one can find reasonable, well-rated restaurants run by young chefs who've trained with the giants of yesteryear (I'm thinking of the thread on Bocuse).

What is the name of this guide and wher can I find it? I could of used it this past summer. I was clueless when it came to Lyon.

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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Is the P'tit Paume a diniing guide

Je le recherche dans l'internet c'est

www.petitpaume.com

Edited by raisab (log)

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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  • 6 months later...

Oh man...that sounds so good I could cry.

K

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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  • 2 years later...

Enjoyed a splendid lunch at Le Gourmet de Seze last week. Decor is now plain shades of coffee and although the room is smart and quite formal in appearance the staff are warm and relaxed.

Interestingly there is no carte, just menus. From the "basic" menu gourmande (two dishes, cheese and dessert) Pied de Cochon with mustard and fried with breadcrumbs came with a small stew that included swiss chard and various wild mushrooms. All put together with care and great attention to detail. A tarte fine with mushroom duxelle topped with a paper thin escalope of chicken breast and wild mushrooms was original, delicate and delicious.

Cod topped with celeriac and skin side down in a light cream sauce was clean and simple. Quail spatchcoked and roasted had a simple reduced stock glaze sauce. Cheese comes pre-plated so you get a selection of four in good condition. Desserts come as tasters on four plates culminating in chocolate fondant.

Plenty of interesting wines and knowledgeable waiter. Given the attention to detail in the dishes an excellent value menu at 37 euros.

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Enjoyed a splendid lunch at Le Gourmet de Seze last week.

I just realized it's been 2 years since I've been. Gotta go back. And I also realized that Raisab asked
What is the name of this guide
and I never replied. It was not the P'tit Paume but something called something like the Lions de Lyon, but I lent my copy to a dear friend and..... When I Amazon.fr it, I get only Lyon restaurants (Broché) by Jean-Franco Mesplede (2001) which could be it, and Bouchons : Brasseries & restaurants Lyonnais (Relié) (2205) by Matthieu Flory, Clémentine Forissier, Benjamin Carniaux and Frédéric Evesque. Oh well.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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