May 20, 2010

Restaurant gastronomique - May 19 (continued)

We had heard and read a great deal about Le Logis de Pompois, a classy restaurant on the edge of town.  In anticipation, we refrained from eating too much during the day, recalling the gastronomic marathon we experienced in Niort.

This restaurant was once an écurie (horse stable) that's been renovated.  Beautiful interior with alternating red and yellow high backed suede chairs, tucked behind tables with draping white linen.  Open candles on every table along with either a white or mauve orchid.  Very chic.  Given the number of people to serve each table, we couldn't move without coming to someone's attention.  There were two servers for the two of us, plus a wine stewart, and the Maître d' who was hovering in the background.

We looked over the menu and made our choices:
langoustine et homard - prawns and lobster
veau - veal
fraises - strawberries

The appetizer was excellent!  The lobster was served inside a feuilletée and the langoustines were in another section of the plate, surrounded with peas, asparagus spears, and a lemon and balsamic vinaigrette.

Worried look on my face?  Perhaps because the main course had just arrived and I couldn't recognize the veal.

We confirmed with the Maître d' that we had indeed been given the veal, and he assured us we had.  So I asked him what "ris de veau" meant and he seemed completely abashed as to how to respond.  Finally, he said it was part of "les abats".  This does not bode well since abats is the root word for abattoir, so we now know that we are not dealing with the carcass of the veal, but something from the innards.  So I probed him some more but he seemed very uncomfortable.  After all, this is a place where a woman's sensitivities must be protected at all cost, not even deeming it fit for her to see the price on the menu and reserving that solely for the man's purview.  Finally, he came up with the word "gorge", which literally means throat, but I can assure you we were not eating tonsils. 

The texture was glandular and the taste quite powerful.  Even the thick gravy made with rich red wine could not mask this unfamiliar taste.  When I got home, I looked up the word in the dictionary and we had ordered "sweetbread", better known as testicles.  Ok, this brings me back to some 45 years ago when I spent a day at my friend Lorraine Bérubé's farm, watching the men inoculate, cut the horns and then castrate the young bulls.  The "sweetbreads" that were being gathered in a pail for the fine Edmonton restaurants were pale, tender and rather fragile looking.  But I suppose things change in the cooking process.  Needless to say, neither Karl nor I could finish our dish.

After indulging in a wonderful plate of cheese with numerous dinner rolls that kept mysteriously appearing on the bread plate, Karl was all smiles (albeit still a bit pale from the shock of the main course) to receive his dessert.  It was, as expected, strawberries sandwiched between two candied wafers, and some sorbet on the side.  Delicious!

I can vouch that if you don't have a veal misadventure, this restaurant is all it's hyped up to be, including the price.  Just the half bottle of wine was over 20 euros, which is an unheard of price in this area, but it was full-bodied and went down the "gorge" very well indeed!

~ AM

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