Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lunch at Le Vieil Alby

We left Toulouse in the morning and drove to Cordes sur Ciel. Unfortunately, I was feeling a little sick, so I didn't enjoy this meal as much as I wish I could have, and my notes on the dishes are also a little lacking, so this review will not be as detailed as my other one have been.

On the drive to Cordes, we stopped by Albi, to see the famous cathedral, and to stop for lunch. We ended up eating at a hotel/restaurant not too far away called Le Vieil Alby.

There is no picture of our first dish, an appetizer, because the plating was average, and I wasn't feeling well. My apologies.

The appetizer: a tête de veau, sauce ravigote – headcheese, surprisingly very good… I say surprisingly because everyone in my family has had tête de veau before and the smell was rather strong, and it also tasted very different, so we weren’t sure what to expect of this dish, but it was rather pleasing. Probably not a dish to order if you’re not an adventurous eater, though.

Pictured above: Tripes à l’Albigeoise - a little vinegary or acidic, but good, not too chewy (as tripe can be), very different from the tripe you would get at dim sum (as you can see)

Pictured above: Filet de Truites aux amandes - trout, cooked well, nice flavors; I really enjoyed the potato (they cook it somehow so that it is very velvety and flavorful… completely different from any potato I’ve ever had before, and I am not ignorant when it comes to potato dishes) and the fava beans

Pictured above: tournedos de magret de canard et son escalope de foie gras poêlé, sauce orange – good, very nice flavor, the sauce worked well with the duck (which had a great flavor all on its own), and as a perfect slightly acidic balance to the foie gras.

Pictured above: Duo de foie gras mi-cuit et poêlé aux pommes (15€). You can probably guess that this was my dish, since I have a very serious relationship with foie gras. It was fantastic. The foie gras mi-cuit (cold, on the left), was delicate, slightly sweet, perfectly savory, and smooth. It went well with the reduced basalmic vinegar sauce that was used to write on my plate. The foie gras poêlé (on the right) was served with half of a baked apple, the sweetness of which worked as a perfect foil to the warm, fattiness of the liver. I also really enjoyed the sautéed mushrooms and the smooth, succulent potato. That potato astonished me. I made everyone at the table try it because the texture and flavor was so great. I have no idea how they cooked it, but I suspect it may have been boiled, and then poached in duck fat. It was delicious. My dish was a solid 9 out of 10. Maybe even a 9.5

Finally, dessert! Above is the poumpet au coing et la fleur d’orange, crème anglaise. It was excellent. Definitely a 9 out of 10. Not too sweet, perfect melding of flavors, beautiful presentation. Best of all, the pastry was light, the fruit (quince, I believe is the translation?) was slightly warm, slightly acidic, slightly sweet, and the crème anglaise was cold, sweet, and light, with that beautiful vanilla scent and flavor to it.

Of course one dessert isn't enough, so above is our second dessert: profiterole au chocolat. Good. The chocolate sauce wasn't too sweet (as can be a problem), and the vanilla ice cream and choux pastry didn't disappoint.

Nice, friendly atmosphere in the restaurant. More dressy than your average tourist place. In fact, I would say that they seemed to cater to the business or business casual crowd.

25 rue Toulouse Lautre
Albi, France
Tel: 05 63 38 28 23

Overall rating for the price: 8 out of 10
**if you're noticing that I am generous with my scores, that's not true. I just don't eat at bad restaurants. I check reviews before I go.

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