Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lunch at the Marché Victor Hugo (Le Magret)

On Sunday, we went to the market, Marché Victor Hugo, went upstairs, and asked politely for a reservation for four people at one of the restaurants. They are all good, but we picked Le Magret (which means “The Duck”). We then went around and explored the market, checking out the wine booths, pâtisseries, and little cheese shops. Once lunch time arrived, we headed up. Normally, reservations are not taken at market-place restaurants, but because we were nice and spoke pleasant French, they allowed us. It was a good thing too, for the place was quickly packed. In fact, all of the upstairs restaurants were booming with business.

We ordered an appéro aux violettes (4€) which was an exceptionally fragrant liquor (violet-scented), nice to sip on, without too strong of an alcohol overtone (as digestifs, the after-meal drink, can be). We decided against appetizers and just went straight to the main course. We ordered four.

First, a parillade de poisson (17€), which included everything from salmon to shrimp to mussles. While it was a nice variety, it wasn’t stunning, just an average, filling meal, with very nice plating.

The cassoulet maison (14€), which is recommended, was very good, and this is coming from a family that doesn’t really eat beans. The white beans were soft and flavorful, and mixed with a variety of proteins and sausages, from cuisse de canard confit (duck leg), saucisse de quenelle (our favorite sausage), and jambon (ham). I would definitely have this again. Though it was a bit heavy for a summer dish, it was too delightful to put down. A very large portion though. We could not finish it, though we tried.

The emincés de magret de canard, sauce aux cepes (14€) was lovely. The meat was cooked rosé (medium rare), and was tender and flavorful. The mushroom sauce that bathed the meat was a nice accompanist, and the fries were crispy, while the legumes were soft. An 8 out of 10.

This foie gras de canard maison (12€) was exactly what I had been hoping for. It was smooth and melted on your mouth like butter. The grey salt and coarsely ground black pepper worked very well with it, and the seasoning of the foie gras itself was spot on. The only thing that could have possibly improved this lovely dish would have been a confit d’oignon, confit de figue, or something sweet like that (as is traditionally served with foie gras).

The café gourmand (5€) was a discovery. Despite our many trips to France, we had never seen (or perhaps had seen but never ordered) this before. The idea is that it is a small espresso with a variety of miniature desserts. In this case, the desserts included were a chocolate mousse, strawberries in their own juices with lightly sweetened whipped cream, a slice of an apple tarte tatin. It was excellent. Eveything was both beautiful and delicious, and we really liked that we got to try several of the kitchen’s dessert offerings. Definitely a 9 out of 10.

The Île Flottant (4€) was excellent. The mixture was sweet and light and indescribably perfect. My family gave it a 9.5 out of 10.

Our overall experience at Le Magret was a fantastic one. The service was quick and friendly and the atmosphere was warm and cozy. We loved that the owner was also our server, and that even when things go hectic, she was willing to stop and take a picture with us. The place never had an empty seat for long, and we can see why. If you go to Toulouse, I would declare it a loss if you did not eat at Le Magret.

Le Magret
é Victor Hugo
Place Victor Hugo
31000 Toulouse, France
Tel: 05 61 62 45 45

Overall rating for the price: 9 out of 10

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