Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lunch at Ô Bistro Gascon

I'm continuing here with my postings of the restaurants my family and I visited on our trip to France. I'm writing the names of all the dishes as they were on the menu, so that means that they will be in French, but I will do my best to remember to translate the terms when they're not obvious from the pictures.

So, back to the restaurant. In Toulouse, our first lunch was thanks to a recommendation by the man who ran the hotel we were staying at (he was a very friendly man). The place, Ô Bistro Gascon was a small family-owned type of restaurant, with two floors (though we did not go upstairs), with four or five tables on the first floor. It was a casual, intimate setting.

We ordered three prix fixe menus at 16€, which included une entrée (appetizer) and un plat (main course) OR un plat et un dessert. A three course meal with une entrée, un plat, et un dessert cost 20€.

We had three appetizers. First a carpaccio de boeuf avec parmesan, which I think requires no translating. The slices of meat were very thin and tasted lovely with the cheese, salad, and bread. Quite a crowd pleaser. (If a family of four can be considered a crowd)

Then there was an
ardoise de tartines which was a "slate" with chèvre (goat cheese), jambon de serrano (ham), mesclun (the salade mix), and walnuts. First, before I get into the dish, I must explain that to the French, the word tartines, does not mean tartlette, but rather other refers to some topping on a slice of toasted bread/baguette. So, if you are confused by the picture below, don't be.
So, back to the
ardoise. As my friends and family know, I am not a cheese person, but I was pleasantly surprised by the mild flavor of the cheese, with was slightly melty on the toasted baguette. I absolutely loved the serrano ham. I thought it was a perfect little appetizer.
We also ordered a soupe froide, which was essentially a gaspacho, with red bell pepper in, and I don't know what else, but the flavor was great. Very refreshing on a summer day. (Sorry, my lack of notes here makes for a description that is somewhat lacking, but it wasn't my appetizer!)

For our main course we ordered two filets de canette (cooked rosé, or medium rare), a filet de boeuf, and an entrecôte de boeuf. The pieces of meat were so large! All the cuts were absolutely delicious, and perfectly cooked. The seasoning was light, not at all bland, but delicate, allowing the meats and all their natural flavors to stand on their own. My favorite was the duck (canette), but both cuts of beef were also very good.

The filet de boeuf

The filet de canette

The main courses also came with a large bowl of mashed potatoes for us to share as well as a large bowl of frites, or fries. I’m sorry I didn’t get to take a picture of the latter, because they were the most amazing fries ever (thinly cut, fried very crisp, not greasy). My sister and I oohed and aahed over the them, they were that good.

After all that food, we only ordered two desserts. First, a crème brûlé with a wonderfully thick layer of caramelized sugar on top. Good.

Then there was a café gourmand. A little espresso with a sampling of the chef's desserts. It was incredible. After our trip, we all agreed that this café gourmand was the best of them all. First of all, the coffee itself was very fragrant, and strong without being bitter. Then the desserts! The panna cotta was delicate and lightly flavored with vanilla. The crème anglais went very well with the tiny little molten chocolate cake. And we didn't leave the slices of banana or orange behind either! Those were enjoyed with the swirls on caramel that had been artfully drawn on the plate. A solid 9.5 out of 10.

A happy food coma followed this meal. We were more than pleased.

Ô Bistro Gascon
2 rue Dalayrac
31000 Toulouse, France
Tel: 06 98 240 200

Overall rating for the price: 8 out of 10

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